‘Incredible’ Christian continues finals run
Renegades allrounder prepares for 11th T20 final after match-winning performance against the Sydney Sixers
Louis Cameron at Marvel Stadium
16 February 2019, 08:20 AM AEST
The Melbourne Renegades have never tasted Big Bash glory, but their semi-final hero Dan Christian might well have enough big-game nous to fill an entire change room.
The clutch T20 journeyman set up a mouth-watering KFC BBL decider against the Melbourne Stars with a stunning last-ditch batting effort to send the small, but loud, Marvel Stadium crowd into a frenzy on Friday evening.
With the Renegades on the brink of defeat to a polished Sydney Sixers outfit, Christian smashed three sixes in the 18th and 19th overs to rescue the hosts, finishing with an unbeaten 31 from just 14 balls.
Sunday's Renegades-Stars showdown at the same venue could continue Christian’s remarkable, and potentially unmatched, run of domestic T20 crowns – to date, the 35-year-old has won six T20 titles with six different teams on four continents.
After Sunday, Christian will have played in six T20 finals in the past 21 months and 11 in his career.
While the Renegades have a wealth of experience that belies their lack of finals action, Christian may well trump even the likes of Cameron White and Aaron Finch (who have both captained Australia) as the most qualified to give instruction on how to handle the added pressure of finals.
His advice for dealing with the extra intensity is simple; tune out the distractions.
"Just trying to treat it like any other game - I know that sounds really cliché but that's the way you've got to do it," Christian said.
"If you get too caught up in the hullabaloo of media and the extra media that we're going to have at the game and the bigger crowd and all that stuff, you can get caught up in it and not focus on what got you there in the first place.
"I'm sure a lot of our guys will a little toey and pretty keen to play really well.
"As long as we can stay as level as possible and do the good things that have got us to the final, we'll be okay."
Chasing 181 to win in a semi was never going to be easy and when skipper Aaron Finch was out to Steve O'Keefe attempting an audacious switch hit with fewer than five overs remaining and 48 runs still required, the Renegades looked down and out.
But the heart of Sixers captain Moises Henriques sunk when he saw who has striding to the crease as Finch was exiting.
"When SOK’ got (Finch) out I was relieved … and then I realised that DC (Christian) was coming in," said Henriques.
"Probably the most dangerous of them all is DC coming in at seven."
With 38 required off the final three overs, Christian conjured a pair of stunning sixes over cover off Sean Abbott, who bowled the penultimate over, and Ben Dwarshuis, who delivered the third-last and final overs.
It was a clinic in how and when to throw caution to the wind in a T20 run chase, where a required run-rate of 12 isn't cause for alarm.
"I was pretty confident the boys had done a really good job leading up to then to keep the rate around nine (runs an over)," Christian explained, who watched at the non-striker's end as Kane Richardson hit the winning runs with a ball to spare.
"I think it snuck up to 11 or 12 at one stage but never really got out of my hand. It was nice we got over the line.
"Generally you don't want to leave too much to the last over … I was really targeting Abbott's over (the 19th) to get as many as I could off that and make it a little easier off that last over.
"Luckily he missed a couple of yorkers and I got a couple in the middle of the bat."
Henriques admitted few in the competition can match Christian's clean striking.
"The couple of balls that DC popped over cover for six – he's pretty special like that where if you just miss a little bit and give a little more width than you were hoping," he said.
"A lot of other guys are munging that down the ground for one. They're pretty incredible cricket shots."
The 2018-19 KFC BBL Final will be on Sunday Feb 17 at 2.45pm AEDT at Marvel Stadium. Tickets on sale here
DAN CHRISTIAN IN T20 FINALS:
2006: Big Bash, NSW v Victoria (lost)
2010: Big Bash, South Australia v Victoria (lost)
2010: England T20, Hampshire v Somerset (won)
2011: Big Bash, South Australia v NSW (won)
2013: BBL, Heat v Scorchers (won)
2017: IPL, Rising Pune Supergiant v Mumbai (lost)
2017: T20 Blast, Notts v Birmingham (won)
2017: CPL, Trinbago v St Kitts (won)
2018: BBL, Hurricanes v Strikers (lost)
2018: South Africa T20, Jozi Stars v Cape Town Blitz (won)
2019: BBL, Renegades v Stars