Thriller sets up derby for Big Bash final
Dan Christian's late cameo secures Melbourne derby to decide BBL|08 champion
Louis Cameron at Marvel Stadium
15 February 2019, 11:59 PM AEST
The match in a tweet: Renegades pull off stunning chase to set up mouth-watering all-Melbourne final, with Dan Christian's late innings heroics saving the day #BBL08
The score: Sydney Sixers 3-180 (Philippe 52, Hughes 52) lost to the Melbourne Renegades 7-184 (Finch 44, Harper 36) by three wickets with one ball to spare
Sunday arvo is gonna be large. Tickets on sale tomorrow. Club Members 9am | General Public midday. YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS #BBLFinal pic.twitter.com/POif0RMtjc— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) February 15, 2019
The hero: Dan Christian came to the crease late in the match with the Sixers holding the upper hand, but for the T20 specialist it was no big deal. Three massive sixes and the Gades were back in the ascendency. It was Kane Richardson that hit the winning runs but Christian's calm composure under pressure was the toast of the town in a Marvel Stadium nail-biter.
The supporting cast: Set an imposing 181 to win, Aaron Finch took the game as deep as he could but ultimately fell short with just about the entire weight of his side on his shoulders. Finch was cast in an unfamiliar anchor role but looked to be playing it expertly as he fed the strike to firstly young gun Sam Harper (36 off 17) and then veteran Cameron White (29 off 17), who both played important cameos. But he was left with too much to do, attempting an audacious switch hit – a stroke CricViz say he'd never previously played in the BBL – off Stephen O'Keefe only to be bowled and leave the Gades' pursuit in tatters.
Aaron Finch went for the seldom seen switch-hit and it backfired spectacularly #BBL08 pic.twitter.com/AAkoifMR5L— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 15, 2019
The consolation act: Cricket fans, players and experts don't agree on much, but no one who has watched Josh Philippe bat in the Big Bash this season hasn't mouthed 'shot' at least once. In the highest stakes game of his short career, the rising star delivered a knockout early punch to have the Sixers humming along at a brisk pace. After taking six boundaries off the powerplay, Philippe showed no signs of reeling in his aggressive instincts once the field restrictions had been eased, pumping Cameron Boyce for two glorious sixes over cover. Boyce got his revenge to remove him shortly after he'd brought up a 29-ball fifty – his second half-century of the tournament and another sign the wrist right-hander is destined for big things.
Team effort in vain: The Sixers' season has been characterised by even performances across the board and it was another team effort that propelled them to their highest total of BBL08. While he didn't dazzle quite like his opening partner Philippe did, Daniel Hughes played the perfect foil in their 85-run stand and pushed on to ensure the run rate hardly dipped when Philippe departed. After exiting for 52 off 32 balls, James Vince (28 off 24) and Moises Henriques (28 off 27) kept things moving before Jordan Silk (17 off seven) finished things off in style with a towering six off the final delivery of their innings.
The shot: Simply sublime. You could put about three or four of Philippe's shots in here, but this inside-out, check-driven six off Boyce takes the cake. Is there a better young batsman to watch in Australia right now?
The moment: Mickey Edwards could not have picked a better time to take his maiden Big Bash wicket. Just as Finch and Tom Cooper looked ready to launch, Edwards held his nerve to have the latter caught on the long-on fence. Finch departed the following over to a bold switch hit and the game was in the bag for the visitors.
The no-ball: What appeared a routine single for Daniel Hughes off leg-spinner Cameron Boyce was called a no-ball by square leg umpire Gerard Abood. Confusion ensued, before it became apparent the call was made on wicketkeeper Sam Harper, who Abood had deemed to have put his gloves in front of the stumps in anticipation of catching the ball – a no-no under the Laws of Cricket. A stunned Harper told Fox Cricket he'd never been called for the offence at any level of cricket. On commentary, Shane Warne didn't hold back in expressing his disgust for the decision. In the end, thankfully, it didn't matter with the Renegades claiming a narrow win.
The collision: Harper couldn't keep himself out of the action. After his whirlwind cameo with the bat ended with an edge behind, the jubilant bowler Ben Dwarshuis made contact, seemingly accidentally, with the diminutive Harper as he walked off. Dwarshuis made an apologetic gesture immediately after but Harper flashed him an ice-cold glare.
Sam Harper wasn't thrilled with this wicket celebration from Ben Dwarshuis... #BBL08 pic.twitter.com/vPK3B3cPeO— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 15, 2019
The stat: Every Renegades bowler coming into the night semi-final had a tournament economy rate of less than eight. Yet every Renegades bowler who sent down more than one over on Friday conceded more than eight runs per over.
The next stop: The Renegades are into their first ever BBL final and will host a mouth-watering clash against the Melbourne Stars at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the Stars fresh off toppling the ascendant Hobart Hurricanes. It was the best wicket of the season at Marvel Stadium for tonight's game, and the same strip will be used on Sunday afternoon.
Melbourne Renegades XI: Aaron Finch (c), Marcus Harris, Sam Harper, Cameron White, Mackenzie Harvey, Tom Cooper, Dan Christian, Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain, Harry Gurney.
Sydney Sixers XI: Dan Hughes, Josh Philippe, James Vince, Moises Henriques (c), Jordan Silk, Jack Edwards, Sean Abbott, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Lyon, Mickey Edwards.
The 2018-19 KFC BBL Final will be on Sunday Feb 17 at 2.45pm AEDT at Marvel Stadium. Tickets on sale here