The match in a tweet: Renegades break Heat hearts as Aaron Finch continues strong finish to #BBL09 to send Brisbane tumbling out of the finals
The score: Brisbane Heat 7-154 (Renshaw 65; Sutherland 3-30) lost to the Melbourne Renegades 3-155 (Finch 63*, Nabi 38*) by seven wickets
The hero: Fresh off a whirlwind century in vain against the Sydney Sixers, Aaron Finch played a more controlled, but match-winning hand, that put the dagger in the Heat’s stuttering BBL09 campaign.
His first 40 runs came at a sedate run-a-ball, only occasionally veering from conservativism – a glorious six off James Pattinson the most notable example – as the required run-rate gradually rose to nearly 10-an-over with three overs left.
But, profiting from some good fortune (more on that below), he timed his innings to perfection as he heaved Marnus Labuschagne for six after he was brought on to bowl the third-to-last over.
Mohammad Nabi was the perfect second fiddle, hitting an unbeaten 38 off 28 deliveries, as Finch, with seven required off the final over, hit Ben Cutting’s first ball for six before stroking the winning runs to break the Heat’s hearts.
The fumbles: Two moments the 23-year-old Jack Prestwidge in just his 10th BBL game will not want to re-live ended the Heat’s hopes of saving their season.
It’s been a golden summer for Marnus Labuschagne but it was a desperate ploy from the Heat to bring on the part time leg-spinner for the 18th over.
But he should have had the vital wicket of Finch that would have put the Heat right back into the contest. Running in from the mid-wicket boundary, Prestwidge dropped a simple catch.
His nightmare was compounded the following over when he misfielded another off Finch at deep square leg as what should have been a single turned into a four, eventually leaving the Renegades with just seven to win from the final over.
The consolation act: Matthew Renshaw has blossomed into a more-than-capable middle-order bat for Brisbane and the hit-and-miss Heat needed all of the left-hander’s ingenuity to find a way to a competitive total.
Much has been expected of the likes of Chris Lynn and AB de Villiers but with both dismissed by spin by the ninth over and the side languishing at 4-65, Renshaw had to shoulder the responsibility in the do-or-die clash.
The No.5 did not shirk the responsibility, at first forced to restock with Marnus Labuschagne (28 off 26 balls) in a 61-run stand. But the batter known as ‘Turtle’ during his 11-game Test stint did not go into his shell, hitting four crucial sixes over the leg-side.
He ensured 66 runs came off the final seven overs of the innings to give the visitors something to bowl at.
The support cast: The ninth edition of the BBL has been a learning curve for the talented Will Sutherland, who has been tried in a number of different roles with both bat and ball.
But looking ahead to next season, Sutherland put forward a case to take the new ball after dismissing both Heat openers either side of a Ben Cutting blitz.
Cutting smashed 22 off five balls off Sutherland including an enormous blow that landed on Marvel Stadium’s unoccupied third tier. But 20-year-old held his nerve to trap Cutting lbw having earlier had Sam Heazlett skying one to mid-off.
A third scalp followed from the penultimate over of the innings gave him his best ever BBL figures and the fact just eight runs came from the 13 balls he did not bowl to Cutting suggests Sutherland is capable of assuming a bigger role for the ‘Gades next season.
The catch: The Renegades were doing everything they could to get Renshaw but it was James Pattinson who took the only catch off him, casually clinging onto a slog-swept six in the dugout.
And with batting gloves on, no less.
The next stop: The Heat’s defeat consigns them to seventh spot and brings a premature end to a campaign that began with them pre-season title favourites after adding de Villiers to an already-powerful batting line-up, but fell desperately short of expectations.
A win would have seen them host a final at the Gabba, but instead the Hobart Hurricanes will now host the Sydney Thunder at Blundstone Arena on Thursday in the sudden-death ‘Eliminator’ final.
The Renegades’ victory is mere consolation for a miserable defence of their maiden title. The season has yielded just three victories from 14 games, leaving them to ponder some major decisions for BBL|10.
Renegades XI: Aaron Finch (c), Tom Cooper, Dan Christian, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi, Will Sutherland, Samit Patel, Jake Wildermuth, Brayden Stepien (wk), Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans
Heat XI: Ben Cutting, Sam Heazlett, Chris Lynn (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Matthew Renshaw, Marnus Labuschagne, Jack Prestwidge, James Pattinson, Mitchell Swepson, Ben Laughlin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman