Josh Inglis (41-ball 72*) and Colin Munro (31-ball 52) starred with the bat before Perth Scorchers bowled out Melbourne Renegades in just 12.5 overs to emerge victorious by a massive margin of 96 runs in Match No. 25 of the Big Bash League 2020-21 on Sunday (January 3). Despite putting up a shambolic batting performance, Melbourne managed to run away with the Bash Boost point. The Scorchers are now placed at No. 6 on the points table, while the Renegades are at No. 8.
Asked to bat, the Perth openers struggled in the first 10 overs before Inglis and Munro added 117 runs off 61 deliveries for the third wicket to propel their team to a total of 185/3 in 20 overs. The home team scored 122 in the final 10 overs. In reply, the Renegades were bundled out for just 89. This was the third time Melbourne were dismissed for less than 100 in this season.
INNINGS OF TWO HALVES
The two dashing openers from England - Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone - tried to put pressure on the Renegades bowlers from the word go. The two openers tried to heave Josh Lalor out of the park in the very first over and made their intentions quite clear. Lalor and Kane Richardson however were smart with their approach and hardly offered any full-length deliveries. Roy and Livingstone couldn't get going in the first two overs, but the latter finally got one in his arc and whacked it over wide mid-wicket for the first maximum of the day. That six gave them a bit of momentum but the two could only manage to accumulate 29 runs from the first four overs.
The Renegades bowlers kept Roy and Livingstone in check but they still need a breakthrough. Melbourne skipper Aaron Finch straightaway introduced his two young wrist spinners after the powerplay and Peter Hatzoglou and Noor Ahmad kept the pressure on both batsmen. Livingstone tried to use his feet against both of them and it eventually led to his downfall. The right-hander scored 20 off 17 deliveries before getting stumped off Ahmad in the sixth over.
Meanwhile, Roy's struggle against spin bowling is well documented and Melbourne made the most of it. The two wrist spinners didn't allow Roy to break free and were outstanding with their variations. The World Cup-winning opener scored at a strike rate of less than 100, and it was Jack Prestwidge who brought an end to his misery when he had Roy caught at mid-off for a 31-ball 27.
Having lost only two wickets in the first 10 overs, Perth needed a rapid finish and for that, they needed their middle-order to fire. Inglis and Munro looked a bit more comfortable than Roy and Livingstone and the home team took the Power Surge (overs 13-14) to bring some momentum into the innings. Munro announced his arrival with a six before smashing Hatzoglou for 16 runs in the first over of the Power Surge. Inglis too joined the party as he crafted Kane Richardson for two consecutive fours, as the Scorchers racked up 26 runs off those two overs.
However, it was Munro who was more ruthless. The left-hander from New Zealand kept smoking boundaries at regular intervals and put the pressure back on the Renegades bowlers. Inglis was crafty, while Munro was brutal. The 33-year-old slammed Ahmad for two sixes in an over before Inglis hit Lalor for a four and a six to complete his fifty off 30 deliveries. The wicketkeeper-batsman was phenomenal square of the wicket and unsettled almost every Renegades bowler.
Munro then brought up his fifty off just 24 deliveries but Prestwidge managed to keep him in check with his variations. Munro (31-ball 52) was finally dismissed in the final over but only after he had smashed five maximums. Prestwidge (2/32), who was unlucky with a couple of misfields, and Kane Richardson were superb in the last three overs, giving away 27 runs.
RENEGADES BATSMEN CONTINUE TO DISAPPOINT
Finch demoted himself to No. 3 but the captain had to walk out to bat in the very first over as Jhye Richardson knocked over Sam Harper (4) very early in the innings. The Australian white-ball skipper started well but was run-out in an unfortunate fashion after scoring just 8 runs. Meanwhile, in-form Jhye Richardson bowled with great pace and control, while Jason Behrendorff dismissed Beau Webster in the last over of the powerplay to reduce Melbourne to 26/3.
The Renegades lost the plot very early in the innings and there was no coming back from it. The required run-rate was not out of reach and there was hardly anything on the surface but the Renegades batsmen looked in a hurry and kept throwing away their wickets. Roy caught a blinder at backward point to send Shaun Marsh (14) back to the hut before Andrew Tye got rid of Rilee Rossouw (6) to kill the game there and then. The wickets kept tumbling as Melbourne never looked in the game.
The game was over but Melbourne still had something to play for, the Bash Boost point. With five runs to get in two overs, and four wickets in hand, Fawad Ahmed bowled a double-wicket maiden but Prestwidge blasted Jhye Richardson for a six in the next over to secure one point for the Renegades.
After impressing with the ball, Prestwidge played a solid cameo of 33 off 24 deliveries and got his team closer to the 100-run mark. For Perth, Aaron Hardie and Fawad Ahmed picked up two wickets each, while Jhye Richardson, Behrendorff, Tye and Livingstone too managed a wicket apiece.