The match in a tweet: Renegades stamp their #BBL08 finals ticket on back of starring efforts from Boyce and Richardson
The score: Melbourne Renegades 7-140 (Boyce 51no, Nabi 36; Cook 2-18) Sydney Thunder 113 (Holt 37; Richardson 3-27, Boyce 2-17) by 27 runs
The hero: Cameron Boyce was the unlikely hero for the Melbourne Renegades after giving their innings some much-needed impetus from No.8. Boyce, a key member of the bowling attack as a spinner, was listed on the team sheet to open in tonight’s clash against Sydney Thunder (he made a duck at the top of the order against the same opponent on January 22). He arrived at the crease with the home side wobbling at 6-77 in the 14th over and blasted five sixes in an unbeaten 51 from 22 balls. It was the equal-fastest half-century of BBL|08 and lifted the Renegades to a competitive total. The Renegades hit 39 from the last two overs – during which Boyce smacked four sixes and two boundaries – to finish with a flurry. On a slow pitch at Marvel Stadium, the total proved sufficient.
The supporting cast: With the Renegades boasting a fine bowling attack, 140 was always a defendable score, and so it proved. Paceman Kane Richardson extended his lead at the top of the bowling charts with a haul of 3-27 from four overs, giving him 22 wickets at 13.95 for the tournament, leaving him four wickets clear of James Faulkner (Hobart Hurricanes) and Sean Abbott (Sydney Sixers). He was ably supported by Boyce (2-17), Dan Christian (1-9), Harry Gurney (1-21) and Chris Tremain (1-36).
The consolation act: Debutant Baxter Holt, who secured his opportunity after Matt Gilkes suffered a hip muscle strain at training on Monday, threatened to lead the Thunder to victory with an impressive knock. The wicketkeeper-batsman contributed 37 from 28 balls, including three sixes, before he was removed by Richardson.
The big moment: Fresh from a magnificent and matchwinning century against Perth Scorchers, Callum Ferguson again looked dangerous and had made his way to 28 from 29 deliveries before he was caught by Mackenzie Harvey at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Tremain. The dismissal left the visitors languishing at 5-68 with eight overs remaining, and they never recovered.
The equation: The Renegades have rubberstamped a semi-final berth with their eighth win of the season. But the news is not so good for the Thunder, who have been left with plenty of work to do to qualify for the finals. They will tackle in-form pair Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes in their remaining home-and-away fixtures and need to win both to have any chance of extending their campaign.
The crowd catch: This man held on to a beauty in the stand, but we’re not sure if he was too keen on the attention that followed.
The next stops: The Thunder will next meet rivals Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Saturday, while the Renegades tackle tournament favourites Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena on Thursday, February 7.