Melbourne Renegades shake down Sydney Thunder in BBL05 epic
While there’s life, there’s hope.
The Melbourne Renegades BBL05 semi-final hopes were flat lining after they lost to the Stars on Saturday night.
But a brilliant innings of 61 from 46 balls by stand-in captain Cameron White – that included four sixes – has revived those hopes after the Renegades claimed a crucial five-wicket victory over the Sydney Thunder at Spotless Stadium.
Set 174 to win, White was supported in their successful run chase by West Indian Dwayne Bravo (47 off 24 balls) as the Renegades got to their target with four balls to spare.
Both were dismissed by Andre Russell (2-42 off four overs) within a couple of balls of each other in the 17th over to give the Thunder a glimmer of hope.
But Peter Nevill hit the winning runs with a boundary off Shane Watson to jubilant scenes from the Renegades dug out.
It was the Thunder’s fourth straight defeat this campaign and, after winning their first three matches, they are now in danger of missing the semi finals.
The Thunder is locked in a enthralling battle with the Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes for the fourth and final spot with all three teams having one match left in the preliminary rounds.
Chris Gayle got the Renegades run chase away to the perfect start.
But he again threw away a potential big score after pulling a Clint McKay short ball to Fawad Ahmed at short third man and departed for 28 off 20 balls. In seven innings for the Renegades Gayle has failed to score a half-century.
Tom Cooper chipped in with 25 off 17 balls before he was bowled by Ahmed.
Earlier, half-centuries to Usman Khawaja (62 off 42 balls) on his return from the Australian Test side and Watson (62 off 43 balls) helped the Thunder post 5-173 from their 20 overs.
It was an explosive start by Khawaja, who scored the Thunder’s first 19 runs and had 31 on the board at the end of the third over.
Khawaja belted nine boundaries and a six while Watson smashed four sixes and three boundaries in his knock – a timely one as Aussie selectors sit down to consider the squad for the upcoming Twenty20 series against India.
The pair at one stage had the Thunder on track for a score of around 200. But the Renegades attack were able to pull their run rate back in the second half of their innings.
Russell scored a quick-fire 16 from nine balls before he was stunned by a Nathan Rimmington bouncer and fell back onto his stumps and was dismissed hit wicket.
Wickets on the final two balls of the innings – Watson and captain Mike Hussey (13) – saw Dwayne Bravo finish with 2-26 from his four overs.