The match in a tweet: Ruthless Renegades power to run-rate boosting victory and go outright second in BBL|08 as Sydney Sixers put to bed early
The Score: Sydney Sixers 9-115 (Curran 44, Nabi 4-25) lost to the Melbourne Renegades 3-116 (Cooper 49, O'Keefe ) by seven wickets with 42 balls remaining
The Hero: Last time these teams met the spin of the Sydney Sixers was the difference but tonight was undoubtedly Mohammed Nabi's moment in the spotlight. He was, incredibly, the seventh bowler used tonight by 'Gades skipper Tom Cooper, but quickly made his presence felt once brought in for the 14th over as he bowled Josh Philippe for 20, around his legs as the batsman moved across and looked to swat behind square. Two wickets came in his third over as Sean Abbott paddled a reverse sweep to short third-man for a soft dismissal, and Ben Dhwarshius was bowled by a quicker one that snuck under the bat. Tom Curran took the long handle to Nabi after he was asked to bowl the 20th over, and was smashed for two sixes over mid-wicket, but struck with the final ball to strike Curran on the toe with his quicker one and claim a fourth pole.
The Supporting Cast: Kane Richardson missed the past two games for the Renegades with a hamstring issue but you wouldn't know it the way he bowled tonight, picking up three big wickets. His final over went for 14 as the Sixers scrambled for late runs, but the damage had been done at the top of the order. Richardson removed Daniel Hughes for a seven-ball duck, and then got a ball to get big on Moises Henriques who skied a catch (see more on that below), while Jordan Silk uppishly cut a ball down the throat of Cameron Boyce at third man. Richardson now has 14 wickets for BBL|08, and was temporarily the competition's leading wicket-taker – overtaken by Stephen O'Keefe's two for the Sixers.
The Consolation Act: Tom Curran's late order hitting was too little too late for the Sixers, but his 44 from 30 balls featured three booming sixes – two of them in the final over. It helped push the Sixers to 115, a figure that seemed out of touch throughout most of their innings. As he shelved the cross-bat shots to prosper on a slow pitch providing variable bounce, his innings probably also paved the way for the Renegades response.
The return to form: Renegades captain Tom Cooper hadn't been having his best year, but hit his stride against the Sixers. Adjusting to the pitch quicker than most, he clubbed Sean Abbott for two boundaries down the ground off the first two balls he faced from the seamer and struck a total of eight boundaries and one six. It was a big night for Cooper, his batting coming after he etched himself into the highlight reels with a flying catch…
The hanger: Moises Henriques top-edged a pull off a Kane Richardson short-ball and the shot looped up towards mid-wicket where Tom Cooper was waiting. But the shot went further than the fielder was expecting, and Cooper leapt high and backwards to make the grab. It's the sort of effort that might have teammates scoffing at the amount of mayo poured on, but still, it looked pretty good on the highlight reels.
The home discomfort: This was the first of five successive matches at the SCG for the Sixers. The pitches in Sydney have at times been difficult to bat on, and the Sixers will need to find a way to adapt – and quickly.
The action replay: Cameron White is one of the sharper fielders going around, but a tiny misjudgement saw him put down a chance off Jack Edwards at mid-wicket, as he hesitated a fraction before coming forward to the chance that bobbled out of his hands as he dove forward. So White stepped in five paces, and the next ball Edwards repeated the shot, this time a comfortable waist-high catch for White. If at first you don't succeed ….
The run-rate implications: As difficult as batting seemed during the Sixers innings, the Renegades seemed to not have the same issues. Largely by avoiding the cross-bat shots and playing straighter, the Renegades were able to race towards their target. And although we're only just beyond the half-way point of this full home-and-away season, with a jam-packed BBL ladder and chance to boost the net run rate is not to be sniffed at. The Gades were sitting -0.627 before this match, the worst in the competition. That moved up to -0.26. We'll have to wait and see if it proves significant.
The Next Stop: For the Renegades, games don't much bigger than their next stop – hosting the Melbourne Derby against arch-rivals the Stars. Regardless of tonight's result it promises to be a blockbuster clash, with both sides set to welcome back international players from Australia's one-day side. For the Sixers, it's more nights in their own beds, and they next play on Sunday when they host the Brisbane Heat and their Bash Bros, who have hit themselves into some red-hot form.
Sydney Sixers XI: Daniel Hughes, Jack Edwards, James Vince, Moises Henriques (c), Jordan Silk, Josh Philippe (wk), Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Stephen O'Keefe, Ben Dwarshuis, Ben Manenti
Melbourne Renegades XI: Marcus Harris, Sam Harper (wk), Mackenzie Harvey, Cameron White, Tom Cooper (c), Mohammad Nabi, Daniel Christian, Jack Wildermuth, Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson, Harry Gurney