Melbourne Renegades 8/148 (20 Overs) Defeated by Perth Scorchers 6/152 (20 Overs)
Agar Steals a Win For Perth With Final Ball Six
Ashton Agar was the hero for the Scorchers as he hit a last ball 6 to secure a nail biting win for Perth over the Renegades. Perth had been in cruise control for much of the run chase at 2/131, requiring just a run a ball from the final 3.3 overs. However, panic set in and the wickets of Klinger, Turner, Marsh and Voges made for a thrilling finale as Renegades skipper, and unlikely bowler Aaron Finch, nearly preserved a win for the home side by bowling a tight final over until his untimely final ball full toss. Finch had been called upon after what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury to Renegades all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. In a frenetic final over Mitchell Marsh was caught on the fence from a long hop, before FInce pulled off a stunning individual run out of Adam Voges to leave the Scorchers reeling, requiring 7 runs from 3 balls. Agar managed to scramble a couple of 2's before he launched into the final ball, sending the Scorchers wild and the Renegades players to their knees.
It is over three years since Agar made his memorable Test debut, scoring 98 from Number 11, against England at Trent Bridge. While he was far from the finished article as a player, and was dropped after two Tests, Agar, at 23 years of age, remains a player on the radar of national selectors. I don't think he is a great T20 bowler, however he certainly proved his worth down the order last night. It takes character and self belief to come in and do that under pressure when you haven't performed well earlier in the night.
Renegades Rue Costly Middle Order Batting Display
This really was a game of fluctuating fortunes at Docklands between what I think are two of the better sides in BBL6. It was a game that initially the Renegades had a really firm footing on, after being 2/108 from just 12 overs on a wicket that was starting to hold up. The Renegades then really squandered that position to limp to 8/148, which was at least 20 runs short of where they should have been given the top order platform from Finch, Harris and White. In reply, Perth then cruised along before a late flurry of wickets nearly gave the home side a win at the death.
While Aaron Finch might be ruing his full toss final ball, I'm sure in the team meeting they will be pinpointing their final 7 overs of batting as to where this game was lost. Dwayne Bravo, Tom Cooper and Peter Neville need to do a lot better in that latter middle order if the Renegades have any ambitions of winning a maiden title. Bravo was through his shots too early a number of times, lifting his head, while Neville and Cooper have struggled to make an impact so far. It's never easy for middle order players in T20 cricket having to come in and immediately go hell for leather. It is a thankless job in many receipts and you need cricketers with real team firs mentalities. With Bravo now out indefinitely there are genuine question marks over whether the Renegades have the artillery in terms of bounty hitters in those batting spots. It's a slight chink in a pretty high quality Renegades side.
Klinger Keeps on Keeping On
It's been proven time and time again that T20 cricket is not just a game for the power hitters, and there is no better case than Michael Klinger. It would be doing Klinger a disservice to describe him as a grafter; he is simply a really intelligent and crafty T20 batsman. The Scorchers opener has proven successful around the world in T20 cricket, averaging a highly impressive 38 through 126 T20 games at a respectable strike rate of 126. Last night, Klinger was at his intelligent best in scoring a vital 72 from 55 balls, to hold the Scorchers run chase together when other bigger name players were finding the conditions tough or having a rush of blood. Klinger found the boundary with ease when required, however what was the staple of his innings was his relentless hunger to find gaps and run hard.
When Klinger is out there batting, the dressing room would be a calm place. Every cricket team needs one or two players they think are really reliable and get everything out of their own ability. Klinger is one of those players, and he has been desperately unlucky not to play for Australia in any formats. At 36, that bird might have flown, however the Scorchers have won two Titles off the back of being a really disciplined and hard working team, and having players like Klinger available for the whole BBL is a huge advantage to them.
Perth Tactically A Step Ahead With Justin Langer
I thought the Scorchers had got their tactics slightly wrong in Sydney, bringing in Mitchell Marsh at Number 6 as they slumped to a one sided loss. Head Coach Justin Langer admitted as much during the game last night, saying it was imperative they get the burly and at times devastating all rounder in as early as possible. There is a reason Justin Langer is being touted as the next Australian coach, and it's not because he was a fiercely combative and fearless opening batsman in his day. It's because Langer is also a shrewd tactician, excellent man manger, and his competitive fire rubs off on his team. The Scorchers, to me, always look like a team with a real direction and clear plan. Everyone knows their roles and what is required of them.
Langer would have played a huge role in establishing the roster in Perth which has been the most well put together and balanced side over the past few years. Any side where Mitchell Johnson is deployed as a number 10 batsman you have to give a missive tick to the man putting the squad together. Ian Bell and David Willey already appear to be very shrewd import purchases who might have slipped under other team's guard. Bell has looked in fine touch in all 3 games, while Willey continues to take key wickets. I thought Perth might drop a level or two after losing Brad Hogg, however Langer appears to have them well set for another title challenge.
The Lurker is 8 from 9 and Rolling
The Lurker continued blazing a trial through BBL6, picking his 8th winner in 9 attempts, as Perth stole a last ball victory last night. He also chimed in with a very tidy $4 double of Klinger to Score 25+ into a Perth win. "I've got to admit I was sweating bullets when the dirty pieman Finch starting throwing up nude rocks and the Scorchers played them like hand grenades. However a cheeky burner or two calmed the nerves, and now all the battlers will be getting around me again"