Melbourne Renegades Knocked Out Of Big Bash League As Brisbane Heat Keep Finals Dream Alive
The Melbourne Renegades were knocked out of the Big Bash League, defeated by the Brisbane Heat in Sunday night’s Knockout at Marvel Stadium despite a vintage Shaun Marsh masterclass.
Chasing the target of 163 runs in front of 10,699 spectators with seven balls to spare and seven wickets in hand, the Heat booked their place in Thursday’s Challenger against the Sydney Sixers.
Marsh smashed an unbeaten 82 (53) in the first innings, which featured nine boundaries and two sixes, but the veteran batsman did not get enough support from the middle order.
It is a bittersweet victory for the Heat, who will continue their finals campaign without Test batsmen Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Renshaw.
After the Heat won the toss and elected to bowl first in Melbourne, pacer Xavier Bartlett struck in his first over of the evening, with New Zealand international Martin Guptill cutting a catch towards extra cover and left cheaply for 1 (2).
Marsh got an early reprieve on 14, with James Bazley bowling a relatively simple chance at short fine leg in the fourth over.
The 39-year-old rubbed salt into the wounds by combining with Renegades wicketkeeper Sam Harper for a fifty-run second-wicket partnership, attacking squarely when the Heat kick-offs fell short.
Bartlett returned to break the 58-run stand, with Harper driving a length delivery straight to deep fine leg, caught for 22 (21).
Renegades captain Aaron Finch, the team’s leading run-scorer of the tournament, was unable to find any rhythm at the Marvel Stadium, taking a regulation catch of 10 (12) at mid-on.
Soon after, Marsh brought up his 54th T20 fifty, reaching the minor milestone in 35 deliveries with a fine leg for four.
After initially struggling to find the middle of his bat, Matthew Critchley pumped Bazley into the venue’s second tier for back-to-back sixes before becoming Bartlett’s third victim of the night, gone for 23 (18).
Bartlett, playing just his fourth match of the tournament, finished with superb figures of 3-18 from four overs.
Labuschagne dropped a regulation chance on the penultimate delivery of the innings, much to Neser’s frustration, and Jono Wells took advantage by smashing the last ball over deep mid-wicket for six.
The Heat run chase got off to a flyer, with captain Khawaja and opening partner Josh Brown combining for an explosive 75-run partnership.
David Moody got the much-needed breakthrough for the Renegades in the ninth over, with Brown (39 off 27 balls) pulling a length delivery towards the deep mid-wicket boundary rider.
Khawaja, who boasts an impeccable record with the bat in Big Bash finals, continued on his merry way at the other end, with the Renegades missing a crucial run-out chance in the 12th over. The Heat captain brought up his fifty in 37 deliveries with a stroke over mid-wicket, his second half-century of the finals series.
Tom Rogers returned to the attack in the 16th over and caught the crucial breakthrough, with Khawaja clipping the seam leg straight to deep fine leg for 59 (47).
Khawaja has now scored 470 runs in Big Bash finals, setting a new record.
Labuschagne (23 from 21 balls) returned to the sheds a few minutes later to shift momentum firmly back in the Renegades’ favour.
But in another twist, Renshaw slammed an unbeaten 27 off 13 balls at the death, ensuring the Heat chased down the target in the penultimate over.
The result could have been different had Will Sutherland not missed a run out in the 17th over and kicked the white Kookaburra past the stumps.
The Heat will face the Sixers at the SCG on Thursday night, with first ball scheduled for 7.15pm AEDT.