As You Think So You Become
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The Renegades were there with nine successive defeats, and hence, obviously, had to win. It's not that this is going to make much of a difference to their campaign; it will be just as ghastly, but it'll be a respectable last. It was uncharted territory for them in this game, surprising themselves with big runs on the board and then early wickets as well to break the back of Thunder's chase.
Chasing 173, Thunder would've banked on milking their powerplay. But Usman Khawaja fell in trying to squeeze out a wide delivery and edging away to the 'keeper. Their best bet, Callum Ferguson, then fell to Alex Hales' straight drive, which Fekete - the bowler - was trying to take evasive action against, but miraculously found a way to deflect it off his arm onto the non-striker's stumps. And the move to promote an already struggling Daniel Sams up the order didn't help matters either.
What did help their case was the weather, with a thirty-minute drizzle eating up six overs, simplifying the equation post resumption to a seemingly more-achievable 104 off 49 balls.
Alex Hales fell soon after. Chris Morris didn't do much either. And just when it looked all lost, Alex Ross decided to have his share of fun, smashing Mohammad Nabi's gentle offies for 26 runs to bring the equation down to a very achievable 31 off the final two overs.
Alas, it wasn't to be. Dan Christian couldn't have picked a better moment to improve his match stats, with a two-wicket, five-run over to finally pluck two points.
Earlier, the Renegades seemed to follow their usual pattern of falling apart with the bat. Shaun Marsh got himself a decent 47 off 34 balls, Marcus Harris got himself in before throwing it away, Sam Harper just couldn't get the final explosion as they scratched around at 125/3 after 17 overs. But today was different, Christian struck big, Harper found his timing and Nabi smashed a few more, stealing 47 off the final three.
In the end, that was the difference.
Brief scores: Melbourne Renegades 172/4 in 20 overs (Sam Harper 52, Shaun Marsh 47; Liam Bowe 2-23) beat Sydney Thunder 122/7 in 14 overs (Alex Ross 51, Alex Hales 31; Dan Christian 3-14) by 12 runs (DLS method)
Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Stars
It's often self-explanatory when nine out of the eleven batsmen end up in single digits. And you're being spooned with clarity when the third-highest run-scorer are the extras. Perth had one such horror outing, making an entire mess of their three-match winning streak with a complete batting crumble.
On a pitch with a bit of grass, the Scorchers opted to bat, and Nathan Coulter-Nile drew first blood with Liam Livingstone miscuing a hoick. Haris Rauf sprung in some brilliance in the field, swooping to the ball in his followthrough and catching Cam Green short of his ground at the non-striker's end to reduce them to 39 for 2. And that triggered the collapse, with Jackson Coleman and Sandeep Lamichhane cleaning up the middle order, and that collapse just couldn't get a break.
It finally ended at a severely under-par 86 all-out - the lowest total in this year's BBL - with 6.1 overs still left. You don't expect drama in a double-digit chase, and true to the script, there was none. The Stars rubbed in the humiliation further, staying clinical in their chase and not trying anything fancy.
Marcus Stoinis extended his stay as the season's top run-getter with a patient 39, anchoring the chase, seeing the Stars home without fuss, taking a massive jump in the NRR and ensuring a seventh win on the trot to further consolidate their lead at the top of the table.
Brief scores: Perth Scorchers 86 in 13.5 overs (Josh Inglis 37; Jackson Coleman 3-16, Sandeep Lamichhane 2-7) lost to Melbourne Stars 89/2 in 12 overs (Marcus Stoinis 39, Hilton Cartwright 19; Mitchell Marsh 1-15) by 8 wickets
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