The score: Melbourne Renegades 3-187 (Tom Cooper 65no, Matthew Short 62; Mitchell Swepson 1-27) defeated Brisbane Heat 161 (Alex Ross 36, Ben Cutting 35; Kane Richardson 4-35) by 26 runs
Match in a tweet: Clinical Renegades douse the Heat with some superb batting and spectacular fielding to set up a semi-final date with the Strikers #BBL07
The finals: Melbourne Renegades have secured their first finals appearance since BBL|02 courtesy of their triumph over Brisbane Heat at the Gabba and will meet the Adelaide Strikers on Friday night. They will also be boosted by the inclusion of Cameron White, who has been unavailable due to commitments with Australia’s ODI side. Perth Scorchers and Hobart Hurricanes will clash in the other semi on Thursday night.
The hero: Is Tom Cooper among the most underrated players in the BBL? The quiet achiever logged his third half-century of the BBL campaign for the Renegades at the Gabba, punching out 65 not out from 36 balls to help his team post an imposing total. Cooper’s hand included eight boundaries and two sixes and left him as the equal-eighth highest run-scorer in the tournament after the home-and-away phase. Cooper has 262 runs at 43.66 to his name and boasts a strike rate of 143.95.
Cooper was also on fire in the field, pulling off a spectacular one-handed catch to remove Matthew Renshaw.
The support cast: Where do you start? The Renegades had plenty of stars. Kane Richardson removed Heat kingpins Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn (with a little bit of help from his fielders – see below) in what was almost a match-winning double strike before dismissing Josh Lalor and Yasir Shah in his last over to finish with figures of 4-35 – the second consecutive match in which he has grabbed four wickets. Richardson will be unavailable for the Renegades’ semi-final, however, after being picked in Australia’s squad for next month’s Gillette T20I tri-series. Stand-in skipper Dwayne Bravo was also a force with the ball, returning 3-25. Opener Matt Short smacked his maiden BBL half-century, finishing with 62 from 48 balls, and put on 75 for the first wicket with Marcus Harris, who contributed 42 from 30.
The consolation effort: Ben Cutting gave the Heat fans a glimmer of hope when all looked lost, powering his way to 35 from 18 balls before he was dismissed. The allrounder hit three consecutive sixes from Richardson’s third over (after he collected 2-12 from his opening spell) and cleared the rope four times in an action-packed knock. Alex Ross also impressed for the Heat with 36 from 27 balls, combining with Cutting for a 48-run stand.
The moment: Brisbane Heat fans hoping for some Lynn fireworks were left disappointed after Harris held on to a magnificent catch, removing the six-hitting sensation for 21 from 13 balls in his first match back from a calf injury that also sidelined him for Australia’s Gillette ODI series against England…
The catch: The celebration was low key, but Josh Lalor’s superb caught and bowled to remove Short deserves another look…
The silly point: Renegades 'keeper Tim Ludeman unveiled another famous impersonation while mic'd up behind the stumps live on air, and it didn't disappoint!
The fantasy wrap: Richardson topped the rankings with 105, while Bravo and Cooper both scored 103.
The wash-up: The Heat finished a campaign that promised so much in seventh position – above only Melbourne Stars – with injuries to gun batsmen Lynn and Joe Burns during the season not helping their cause, while the Renegades finished the regular season with a 6-4 record and will prepare for a trip to Adelaide and a sudden-death final.