The match in a tweet: Finally! After starting the season 0-9, the Renegades finally get their first win of #BBL09, downing the Thunder in Canberra.
The result: Melbourne Renegades 4-172 (Harper 52, Shaun Marsh 47, Liam Bowe 2-23) beat Sydney Thunder 7-122 (Ross 51, Christian 3-14) by 12 runs (DLS method)
The Rain: Nobody in Australia would be upset at the sight of rain and it started to fall early in the run chase. While it was nothing more than a drizzle, the players were forced off the field with one ball left in the powerplay. After a few false starts the players and officials resumed with the Thunder requiring 135 from 14 overs, or a further 104 runs from 49 balls. Ultimately it was a task that proved too difficult for the team in green.
The Hero: In a losing season, Sam Harper has been a standout performer for the Renegades and he proved his class again tonight with an impressive 52 from 38 balls. Batting at No.3, Harper was busy early, picking up his first boundary from his 13th delivery before hitting two more fours and two sixes as the overs counted down. While he’s adept at moving around the crease and hitting behind the wicket he looked best standing still and hitting straight down the ground. He was out in the 20th over having guided the Renegades to a match-winning score.
The Captain: Dan Christian had not won a game in his past 20 starts across three T20 competitions but tonight he ended that streak with a sterling performance. He chipped in with 21 off 12 balls to lift his side to 4-172 before taking 3-14 with a slippery ball. The men in red needed something special to get off their BBL|09 duck and the captain delivered.
The Consolation Effort: The game was over. The Thunder needed 57 from three overs. Then Alex Ross went 4 6 6 6 4 in the 12th over to breathe life back into the contest and leave Sydney needing 31 from the final two overs. But Renegades captain Dan Christian proved to have ice in his veins, bringing himself on and conceded just five runs and taking the wicket of Ross for a rapid 51 from 27 balls.
The Supporting Cast: Shaun Marsh is the Renegades’ leading run-scorer this summer and extended his lead at the top with 47 from 34 balls. While his strike rate has hovered around 120 this season, tonight it was a healthy 138.24 thanks in large to six fours and one six. The left-hander looked set for a third half-century of the season but picked out South African import Chris Morris stationed at cow corner looking to bring up the milestone.
The catch: After doing the business with the bat, Harper pulled in super grab to dismiss Usman Khawaja. A full ball from Andrew Fekete was edged behind where Harper dived to his left, stuck out his left hand and secured the catch. Khawaja stood his ground as the catch went upstairs to be confirmed by the third umpire, who gave the green light to send the batter on his way.
The Shot: Way back in the day, like at the start of Test cricket, to earn six runs from a single shot a batter had to hit the ball not only over the boundary but out of the ground. Renegades middle-order batter Beau Webster went old school on the Thunder’s Nathan McAndrew, launching the fast bowler out of Manuka Oval for one of the biggest sixes of BBL|09.
The Next Stops: The Thunder host crosstown rivals the Sydney Sixers in the Sydney Smash on Saturday at Spotless Stadium, while the Renegades head north to Brisbane to take on the Heat and their superstar import AB de Villiers
Thunder XI: Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Callum Ferguson (c), Alex Ross, Chris Morris, Daniel Sams, Jay Lenton (wk), Nathan McAndrew, Jono Cook, Brendan Doggett, Liam Bowe
Renegades XI: Shaun Marsh, Marcus Harris, Sam Harper (wk), Beau Webster, Will Sutherland, Dan Christian (c), Mohammad Nabi, Samit Patel, Jack Wildermuth, Cameron Boyce, Andrew Fekete