T20 Big Bash League - KFC

Renegades v Stars - Match highlights

8/12/2012 11:52 AM

By Jonathan Healy at Etihad Stadium

What happened
 
The Stars won the toss and chose to bat, but their innings never reached any great heights. Englishman Luke Wright used his powerful frame to punish any bad deliveries and managed to make a half-century, while David Hussey (42) and Brad Hodge(28) showed glimpses of their best. Muttiah Muralidaran (0-28) was treated with caution by the Stars batsmen, while Aaron O'Brien (2-27) was the pick of the Renegades bowlers. 

Renegades skipper Aaron Finch - who even had a trundle himself and got rid of Wright - rotated his seamers and spinners well and would have been more than happy to keep the Stars to a score of under 170 given their highly-talented batting line-up and the success of teams batting second at Etihad last season.

If Finch was good in his role as skipper while the Renegades were fielding, then he was even better while out in the middle and facing up to some of the best bowlers of all time. Finch timed the ball beautifully in his unbeaten 111 off just 65 balls as he combined well with South Africa's Faf du Plessis (14) and Ben Rohrer (34 not out) to guide his side home with 10 deliveries remaining.

Finch took a particular liking to Shane Warne as he smashed the former great for consecutive sixes and Rohrer did the same later in the innings to leave the Stars skipper with the embarrassing figures of 0-41 off two. Lasith Malinga (0-20) was the best of the Stars bowlers, but he went wicketless as Jackson Bird (1-29) and James Faulkner (1-31) made the only two breakthroughs.

Where it was won

Runs on the board are usually a good thing in Twenty20 cricket and the Stars still looked to be on top when the Renegades were 1-42 from the first six overs of their run chase. 

But the game was turned on its head almost immediately as Finch and du Plessis smashed 19 from Warne's first over - the seventh of the innings - to give the Renegades the ascendancy and there was no looking back from there.

Where it was lost

It was the middle overs of their innings that really cost the Stars in the end. Wright and Hodge were scoring at nine an over through the first eight overs, but when the pair were dismissed, the run rate really dropped.

The Stars failed to attack Muralitharan and couldn't really get O'Brien away and will rue the fact they couldn't get an extra 20 runs on the board and put more pressure on the Renegades.

Who killed it

Despite already being 26 years of age, Finch is still in the early part of his career and a return to the international scene looms after his standout performance against the Stars.

Finch has impressed as captain of district side Geelong and the Victorian second XI in the past and he looked composed in his new role at the Renegades.

Finch rotated his bowlers intelligently and even picked up Stars top-scorer Wright with his slow left-armers.

But it was with the bat where he really shone. They breed them tough in Colac and Finch certainly wasn't overawed when Warne came into bowl in the seventh over of the Renegades innings.

Finch certainly didn't respect his elders as he smashed Warne for two consecutive sixes, before going on to make his highest Twenty20 score of all time.

Wow moment

We saw how good du Plessis was with the bat in the recent Test series against Australia, but we didn't know how good he was in the field.

His work at short cover to help dismiss Hodge was one thing, but his catch to get rid of Cameron White in the deep was something else.

White was looking dangerous and had already smashed spinner O'Brien for a big six earlier in the over when he tried his luck again.

White didn't time this one well though as du Plessis ran around from deep long-on to deep mid-wicket and complete a catch just inside the rope that was up there with the best.

Well it may not have been as good as Steve Waugh's one when he ran backwards and behind the sightscreen to dismiss Roger Harper at the MCG all those years ago, but du Plessis probably ran just as far as the former Australian captain and took the catch in a similarly awkward position.

Where to next

The Renegades face another tough ask, with Simon Helmot's team travelling north for a tricky match at Stadium Australia against the Sydney Thunder next Friday.

That trip might not sound too daunting on paper, but when you consider that the game will also be Chris Gayle's first for the Thunder this season, you know it won't be easy. 

The Stars are also on the road for their next game as they travel west to tackle the Perth Scorchers at the WACA on Wednesday.

The Scorchers finished runners up in the inaugural KFC T20 Big Bash League season last year and are always hard to beat at home with world class players like Herschelle Gibbs and Brad Hogg in their line-up.