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Blockbuster Bravo creates T20 history

Caribbean star's canny demolition of Hobart batting puts him in an elite club of one with his 400th T20 wicket

Melbourne Renegades fans may have feared they'd seen the last of Dwayne Bravo, but the shortest format's greatest ever bowler made a triumphant KFC BBL return on Thursday and carved out a slice of T20 history.

Bravo was taken from Etihad Stadium late last December with a serious hamstring injury after diving in the field. It required surgery that ruled him out of not only the rest of BBL|06 but also the ensuing Indian Premier League.

Bravo grounded by hamstring injury

But Bravo is a man who knows his own body.

Veteran Brad Hodge revealed during the match that the 34-year-old, whose 5-28 against Hobart Hurricanes were the best-ever figures by a Renegade, is hardly one to spend too much time in the nets.

Even now in his sixth stint with the club, Bravo remains something of an enigma to his teammates.

"Let's get one thing straight, DJ Bravo doesn't bowl at training," a mic'd up Hodge told Network Ten. "He doesn't leave his room. We only see him on match days."

Bravo didn't disagree with the assessment.

"I don't leave my room," a laughing Bravo said. "The day when we come to the ground was the first time that saw me since we got to Hobart.

"I'm clocking close to almost 400 T20 games. As far as bowling balls in practice, I think I bowl enough (in games).

"It's just a matter of keeping my body fresh."

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Bravo's bowling, unlike his free-wheeling batting, which wasn't required at Blundstone Arena as the visitors cruised to a seven-wicket win, is not particularly easy on the eye.

When his arms move fast, the ball comes out slow. When his arms move slowly, the ball comes out quick.

But it's a method that has bamboozled batsmen the world over and on Thursday he became the first bowler to 400 T20 wickets, a remarkable feat considering only two others (Lasith Malinga with 331 and Sunil Narine with 307) have passed the 300 mark.

As is his custom, there were no cartwheeling stumps or conventional edges behind; each of Bravo's five scalps were skied mishits, the result of calculated planning that belies his laidback style.

Alex Doolan was the first to fall when he tried to belt Bravo down the ground and was caught at short third man, but it was Bravo's next incision – Ben McDemott caught at cover attempting a similar stroke – that was the most telling.

McDermott's dismissal started a collapse of 6-50 from the final 6.2 overs of the 'Canes innings, with Bravo snaring three more – all with off-speed balls – in the final over to restrict Hobart to an inadequate 8-164.

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Described by former Test quick Damien Fleming as a "T20 bowling clinic" on Ten's broadcast, the right-armer’s spell had halted the Hurricanes in their tracks.

"Playing this game, I was a bit cautious at first because of what happened last year," Bravo explained.

"(But) to get five wickets and be the first to 400 is a great achievement and I feel humbled by it. Honestly I wasn't aware of it, I thought I was seven wickets away."

Bravo said he never feared his BBL career was over and is firmly set on helping the Melbourne club claim their first piece of silverware.

"I knew I had another year left on my contract," the Trinidadian said.

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"I know how important I am to the team and the setup. They really appreciate my abilities so I knew it was just a matter of getting back fit again.

"This is my life, this is what I enjoy doing, I enjoy winning cricket games. The personal achievements don't really mean much as long as my team wins.

"To get five wickets in a winning cause is definitely a bonus for me and the team. I'm happy I could come back with a bang." 

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