Gayle heroics in vain as Renegades prevail
Melbourne Renegades 8 for 140 (Finch 41, Hodge 44) beat Sydney Thunder 7 for 134 (Gayle 75, Afridi 3-21) by six runs
A typically blistering half-century by Chris Gayle went in vain for Sydney Thunder as they fell short by six runs to Melbourne Renegades at Stadium Australia. The Renegades posted a middling total of 140, but a three-wicket haul by Shahid Afridi and some good death bowling stopped Thunder on their tracks.
The Renegades promised a bigger score after their openers, Aaron Finch and Brad Hodge, added 82. Luke Doran, the left-arm spinner, claimed both wickets in three balls. The quick strikes put the skids on the scoring rate. Shahid Afridi managed one four in his 16 before he was dismissed by Luke Butterworth in the 18th over.
Debutant Tim Cruickshank and Gayle got off to a sound start chasing 141, adding 59 in close to eight overs. Cruickshank perished for 15 when he tried to loft Afridi over long-on. Gayle carried on attacking, hitting five sixes and three fours en route to 75. However, he didn't have the support he would have liked as wickets kept falling at the other end. The Renegades pulled it back thanks to the discipline shown by their bowlers, Dirk Nannes (0-10) and Afridi (3-21). When Gayle fell in the penultimate over, caught at midwicket, the Renegades had all but sealed their first win against Thunder.