Finch, Bravo dominate as Sixers lose their fifth straight game
Melbourne Renegades 2 for 112 (Finch 51, White 49*) beat Sydney Sixers 8 for 111 (Botha 32*, Bravo 3-29, Nabi 2-22) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Melbourne Renegades rocked Geelong and rolled to their third win of the season by dismembering the Sydney Sixers, and climbing to third on the BBL points table.
Sixers, last year's finalists, have slumped to their fifth consecutive defeat to start the season and look miles off the pace with both bat and ball, albeit having suffered several key absences and injuries.
Hometown hero Aaron Finch produced a stunning half-century in the Renegades chase and was ably supported by Cameron White but the game was set up by a disciplined bowling performance. Dwayne Bravo took 3 for 29 but he was only bowler to concede more than 6.5 per over as the Sixers struggled to 8 for 111. Without Johan Botha's unbeaten 32 they would have fallen well short of 100.
Snail's pace from the Sixers
A score of 3 for 40 after 10 overs would be a pulsating 45 minutes of viewing in a Test match. Not so in T20 cricket. The Sixers crawled at just four an over in the first half of the innings. Peter Nevill fell to his first ball, the fourth of the innings from Mohammad Nabi, but it was Jason Roy who really struggled. The drop-in surface look very good for batting but Roy really struggled to find his timing. He absorbed a maiden from Kane Richardson in the second over and didn't show any intent to change Richardson's lengths or upset his rhythm. Roy holed out to mid-off two overs later off Bravo. Nic Maddinson and Jordan Silk then scored just two boundaries between them in the 42 balls they faced in the first 10 overs, 20 of which came in the Powerplay.
The Sixers slumped to 6 for 65 after 14.1 overs and looked set to be bowled out for under 100. Maddinson was run out by a brilliant throw from Bravo. Botha then promoted Sean Abbott and Daniel Sams ahead of himself and both failed to fire. Botha took five balls to get off the mark but then found his groove. He was the only Sixers batsman to find the boundary more than twice and the only of the four who reached double figures to strike at more than 89. He didn't try and overhit the ball, using his crease well to the spinners and picking Bravo's slower ball better than most have this season, hitting him 89m over the long boundary. Botha scored 32 from 23 balls while the other eight Sixers batsmen scored just 77 from 97.
Finch fires at home
It's very rare for Finch to go four T20 innings without a significant contribution. But his last four T20 innings had yielded just 20 runs from 24 balls. The Geelong native struggled through his first 12 balls scratching together just ten runs. His first boundary came via a top edge over the 'keepers head that carried for six. But, he then exploded in the sixth over, targeting debutant Mickey Edwards. He launched the first ball over long off for six. Mid-off was sent back to the rope and three balls later he lofted over mid-on for four. Edwards dragged his length short to avoid a third strike down the ground and Finch cracked a pull shot through midwicket. The 16-run over only just lifted the run-rate above six-an-over at the end of the Powerplay.
White gives Finch company
Marcus Harris fell in the first over but White played the perfect support role. He fed off Finch with a slog-swept six and reverse lap for four in the seventh over from Will Somerville. Together the duo added 91 runs in 75 balls.
Finch reached his 15th BBL half-century off 38 balls and his acknowledgement of his home crowd showed this one meant slightly more than the others. His innings was ended by a remarkable piece of fielding from Roy: White prodded a ball forward of point and called Finch through, but Roy zipped to his right, collected in the right hand and hit the one stump he could see while throwing off balance. White finished unbeaten on 49, one short of his third half-century of the tournament, when Bravo hit the winning runs with 27 balls to spare.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth