Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers, BBL, Docklands January 2, 2013

Murali spins Renegades back to the top

The Report by Andrew Fuss

Melbourne Renegades 6 for 155 (Cooper 59, Rohrer 35) beat Adelaide Strikers 107 (Murali 3-18, Samuels 3-16) by 48 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Muttiah Muralitharan ripped through the Adelaide Strikers to send the Melbourne Renegades back to the top of the Big Bash ladder with a crushing 48-run win at Etihad Stadium.

Murali was virtually unplayable as he skittled the visitors' middle order on his way to 3 for 18 off four overs. He clean-bowled the dangerous Nathan Reardon - beating him in flight - before catching Kieron Pollard and Theo Doropolous plumb off front in consecutive deliveries to end any hopes the Strikers had of a middle-order revival.

Nathan Rimmington helped build the pressure early for the Renegades removing both openers and going for just seven runs in his first two overs. The visitors never got going after that and only Johan Botha (31 off 31) and Michael Neser (29 not out off 24) offered any real resistance as they crumbled to 107 all out. Marlon Samuels helped clean up the tail to finish with 3 for 16 off three overs.

Earlier, Tom Cooper revived the hosts following a sluggish start with a hard-fought 59 off just 46 balls. Cooper combined with Ben Rohrer (35 off 27) for a 46-run partnership in the middle overs to set the hosts up for a late onslaught in which they produced 37 runs from the final three overs.

The visitors will be left to rue some poor death bowling as Neser, Putland and Richardson all struggled to bowl to their fields when it mattered most as the Renegades posted a more than competitive total of 155 on a low and slow drop-in deck.

Perhaps the highlights of the match came in the field, with Pollard taking a spectacular one-handed catch running back with the flight off his own bowling and Will Sheridan and Aaron O'Brien holding sharp chances inside the circle.

The Renegades are now virtually assured of a top four finish while the Strikers are right back in the pack, sitting at fourth for the moment ahead of the Scorchers and the Heat, who have game in hand against the Stars on Thursday night.

The result sets up some tantalising fixtures over the final games of the tournament, with the Strikers set to play the Hurricanes and the Scorchers in matches that will shape the top four.

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