Top 20 in 2020: Biggest BBL moments, No.3
Ahead of the 10th season of the KFC BBL, we continue our countdown of the most memorable moments in the tournament's history
22 November 2020, 02:28 PM AEST
Big sixes, great catches and thrilling finishes - the first nine seasons of the KFC Big Bash League has had all that and much, much more.
To mark the competition's 10th season this summer, we're counting down 20 of the biggest moments from the competition's history, be they good, bad or just downright bizarre.
We continue today with No.3 in the countdown and will continue to re-live some more classic moments over the next two days.
3) Stars stumble to gift Renegades the title
Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars, Melbourne, BBL|08
By Louis Cameron
Even if you couldn't see the stadium scoreboard, the reactions of veteran duo Daniel Christian and Cameron White told you all you needed to know.
The Melbourne Renegades were no chance.
On a warm Sunday afternoon in February with the Docklands roof open for the KFC BBL's first derby decider, Peter Handscomb hit one up in the air to give Christian an easy catch and see the Stars lose their second wicket in pursuit of a modest 146.
Yet the fact White, the closest fielder to Christian after he had taken the simple chance, barely looked his long-time teammate in the eye as he offered his hand for a token high-five suggested the result was inevitable.
The Stars were surely going to break their finals hoodoo
Between them, White and Christian had played over 500 T20 games. Their 'celebration' said it all; this was merely a consolation wicket and the Stars would soon be lifting the trophy.
As an ex-Stars captain, White knew of his former team's proclivity to botch knockout games. But not even they could stuff this one up.
"When the opposition has nine wickets in hand and needs 50 at about a run-a-ball in a T20 game, your chances of winning aren't great," White tells cricket.com.au.
The Renegades had always been the pour cousin of the two Melbourne teams. At the competition's outset, the Stars had pinched the lion's share of the local Victorian talent (even Glenn Maxwell, at first a Renegade, had crossed after one season), featured Victorian royalty in Shane Warne and colonised the MCG.
The Renegades, on the other hand, had made do with interstate players initially unknown to local fans, settled for Muttiah Muralidaran and played home games at a venue that, in the early years at least, was unconducive to attractive cricket.
Through seven completed seasons, neither side had won the title. Given the Stars' superiority in that time, only once failing to reach the finals, it seemed fitting they would be the Melbourne side to win the bragging rights.
But the beauty of T20 cricket lies in how quickly things can veer away from what is seemingly a foregone conclusion.
When Christian took another catch on the boundary off Ben Dunk only an over after the Handscomb exit, his facial expression as he ran back towards teammates reflected a simmering hope that had not been there only moments ago.
What followed was confounding, as the Stars suffered a breathtaking collapse of 7-19 in just 30 balls. The final six wickets were all catches off mishits and it was the Renegades, somehow, who were BBL|08 champions.
How the Stars had lost the game after first having the Renegades 5-65 in the 11th over of the game's first innings and then being 0-93 in the 13th over in the second remains the most puzzling of their litany of finals meltdowns.
"We went from no chance of winning to no chance of losing in a very short space of time," said White.
While they had only required 53 off 42 balls when they lost their first wicket and a star middle order of Handscomb, Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Dwayne Bravo to follow, Marcus Stoinis and Dunk may have wished they had scored more briskly during their opening stand.
"You could feel that on the boundary, we needed to kill the game a little bit earlier … It was that sort of game, we probably needed to go harder. That’s all in hindsight," Maxwell said later.
For the Renegades, it marked a triumph of the misfits.
Quality stuff from 'The Accountant' @gurneyhf as he got the job done for the @RenegadesBBL in the #BBLFinal! pic.twitter.com/PYYE2YlbbZ— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 17, 2019
Having incredibly just had two individual half-centuries scored all season, their bowlers were the most unconventional of heroes.
There was journeyman allrounder Christian, named player of the match for his earlier rescue act with the bat in making 38 off 30 balls from No.7 as well as his two wickets and two catches.
Leg-spinner Cameron Boyce, who came into the season discarded by the Australian T20 team and then the state cricket system.
And English import Harry Gurney, dubbed a "left arm Mr Bean" by commentator Mark Waugh, who also suggested the paceman looked like he'd struggle to get a game for Bankstown's fourth XI (Gurney later pointed out he had actually played a season with Bankstown, Waugh's junior clubs, in 2012-13 and taken 27 wickets at 14).
Not even an hour after they had exchanged that limp high five, Christian and White again came together. This embrace, after Christian had bowled the final ball and the Renegades' impossible victory was confirmed, was filled with ecstasy.
Photographs from the brief moment when it was just the two of them in arms, before the rest of their teammates mob them, captured the raw emotion of both players.
It told you all you needed to know.
Return to cricket.com.au tomorrow as we continue our countdown of the most memorable moments in BBL history
Top 20 Biggest BBL Moments (so far)
3) Stars stumble to gift Renegades the title