Mackenzie Harvey (21-ball 47*), Beau Webster (9-ball 22*) and Zak Evans (2/23) - The young guns of Melbourne Renegades brought their A-game against Melbourne Stars at the Marvel Stadium on Wednesday (January 20 2021) and gave them their third win of the Big Bash League 2020/21. The Men in Red are already out of the finals race but their team management would be delighted with the way these youngsters performed against their cross-town rivals.
After Nick Larkin (47-ball 61) propelled the Stars to a competitive total of 158/6 in their 20 overs, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Co. dominated the majority of the game in the second half and got the equation down to 63 off 30. That's when Harvey and Webster joined hands and put on a match-winning stand of 63* off just 25 deliveries. Harvey hit six fours and two maximums, while Webster hammered three fours and a six. The Stars however did claim the Bash Boost point and moved to No. 3 in the points table, only behind Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers respectively.
LARKIN PUTS ON A LATE SHOW
The Renegades lost the services of Kane Richardson (quad strain), Noor Ahmad (side strain) and Rilee Rossouw (hamstring) for the remainder of the season, but Josh Lalor marked his return with an outstanding maiden over. The left-arm seamer swung the ball both ways and didn't allow Andre Fletcher (14-ball 11) to get off to a flying start. The Spiceman released some pressure by slamming Lalor for two boundaries but the paceman knocked him over with a slower delivery in the same over.
Meanwhile, Marcus Stoinis looked in fine touch from the word go and announced his arrival by punching Imad Wasim through the covers. The big allrounder didn't allow Zak Evans to settle and did most of the scoring in the Powerplay. Imad Wasim however bowled with good control and was quite economical. With Larkin not scoring freely, Stoinis tried to up the ante but was dismissed by Evans for a 27-ball 37 in the ninth over. Coulter-Nile was promoted up the order but Evans knocked him over for a golden duck.
Peter Hatzoglou looked good in phases but the legspinner kept bowling at least one boundary ball every over. Larkin was still chewing up deliveries and the onus was on Glenn Maxwell to take the attack to the Renegades bowlers. The dashing right-hander however couldn't get the better of Imad who had him caught at deep mid-wicket for just 1. The Renegades skipper Aaron Finch rotated his bowlers well and kept the pressure on Larkin. The Stars were in desperate need of a move on and they finally got that from Nic Maddinson. The left-hander smoked the first six of the innings in the 14th over and then slammed Jack Prestwidge for another one to make his intentions very clear.
The Power Surge (overs 17-18) was going to be crucial for the Stars but Hatzoglou dismissed Maddinson (18-ball 21) who was looking dangerous. He then got rid of Hilton Cartwright (4) in the same over to keep the momentum in the Renegades' favour. The legspinner was inconsistent but finished with figures of 2/34. Larkin finally managed to break the shackles in the second over of the Power Surge as he smacked Imad for a six and a four to accumulate 13 runs from his final over. Larkin kept finding boundaries at regular intervals in the last few overs and completed his fifty. Larkin, who was on 28 off 34 deliveries at one stage, clobbered 33 runs in his next 12 deliveries.
HARVEY STEPS UP, BUT FINCH FAILS AGAIN
Shaun Marsh (1) and Finch (10) had a point to prove but the former was undone by Coulter-Nile in the very first over. The right-arm seamer knocked over Marsh with an outstanding off-cutter. Finch too didn't look in great touch and was troubled early by Coulter-Nile and Adam Zampa. He finally got a half-volley on his pads and flicked it towards deep mid-wicket to get the ball rolling. The Australian white-ball captain then crafted a solid cover drive and it felt like tonight could be his night, but it wasn't. Finch, who is having his worst BBL season, tried to sweep Zahir Khan but the ball flicked his thigh pad and ricocheted onto the stumps.
The Stars bowlers kept the pressure on Sam Harper and Jake Fraser-McGurk but the two kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos. The required run-rate soon went over 10 and Fraser-McGurk tried to bring some momentum into the innings by smashing Coulter-Nile for a six over deep mid-wicket. The right-arm seamer however had his revenge in the same over, dismissing Fraser-McGurk for a 19-ball 20. The Stars claimed the Bash Boost point, and kept Harper and Prestwidge in check. The two struggled to keep up with the scoring rate and allowed the Stars bowlers to dictate terms in the middle-overs. Harper (34-ball 39) finally started to open his shoulders in the 14th over when he slammed Stoinis for a four and a six but the allrounder sent him back in the hut in the same over.
With 63 needed off 30, the Renegades took the Power Surge (overs 16-17). Prestwidge was sent up the order to wreak havoc but all he could manage was 14 off 18 before becoming Coulter-Nile's third victim. Coming in at No. 6, Harvey took the attack to Coulter-Nile and Zampa and kept his team alive. The young left-hander hit three fours and a six in the Power Surge and helped his team score 22 runs in those two overs. Harvey was joined by Webster and the two clobbered Liam Hatcher for 16 runs in the 18th over to bring the equation down to 25 off 12. Coulter-Nile, who was superb in his first spell, kept bowling full-tosses and short stuff in the penultimate over and paid the price for it.
After Harvey blasted Coulter-Nile for a six, Webster smoked the paceman for a four and a six in the same over to turn the game in Renegades' favour. The Men in Red needed six runs in the final over and Webster sealed the deal by whacking Hatcher through deep mid-wicket.