Brisbane Heat 4 for 180 (Renshaw 90*, McCullum 51, Siddle 2-39) beat Adelaide Strikers 8 for 176 (Wells 30, Lalor 3-25) by six wickets
An extraordinary display of power and precision from Matt Renshaw saw Brisbane Heat defeat Adelaide Strikers in Adelaide on Sunday, the visitors chasing down a competitive 177-run target with eight balls to spare.
After a horrific start, which saw the Heat slump to 3 for 18, Renshaw's 90 not out from 50 deliveries wrested the game away from the Strikers, who now find their season over in terms of higher honours.
Leading into the match, it was last chance saloon for the two teams, both of whom were closer to the foot of the table than the summit. A win would keep one team with an outside chance of a semi-final slot, while a loss would confirm curtains drawn.
On a hot Adelaide night and a wonderful batting wicket, Chris Lynn won the flip and sent the Strikers in.
Strikers stutter at the start
It was a horror start for the Strikers, losing Jake Weatherald and Jake Lehmann in the opening two overs. Weatherald was first to go, top-edging a rank short ball from Renshaw to Lynn at backward point, before Lehmann carved Josh Lalor straight to Alex Ross on the point boundary. Both were disappointing dismissals, and put the home side on the back foot in the game's early phase.
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Alex Carey and Colin Ingram commenced the rebuild, but it was only partial. With the score on 42 in the final over of the Powerplay, Carey scooped a full Ben Cutting delivery straight to point. At the end of the six overs, the Strikers were 3 for 43.
Jonathan Wells arrived and immediately found his busy disposition, combining well with Ingram, who had started to hit the short boundary with regularity. Six overs into their partnership, Strikers captain Ingram tried to find the short boundary again but this time failed. He was taken by Brendon McCullum, giving Lalor his second.
Strikers turn the tide
When Wells followed, bowled by a superb Mitchell Swepson wrong 'un, the Strikers faced an uphill battle to post a competitive total. McCullum then nearly instigated the catch of the tournament - athletically taking one on the boundary, then performing a swivel-flick of the ball to Cutting, who dived forward to take it - before confirming that he'd touched the rope, rendering the ball a six.
It signalled a slight turning of the tide for the Strikers, who upped the ante through Harry Nielsen (21 off 16), Michael Neser (18 off 13), Rashid Khan (19 off six) and Cameron Valente (19 off eight) and delivered a huge 67 runs from their final 30 balls. It meant they finished on a healthy 8 for 176; a total approaching par.
Renshaw delivers mighty blows
When the Heat batted, the Strikers continued where they had left off, claiming two wickets at greater pace than they had lost. Cutting, promoted to open, swung early and wildly, miscuing a pull shot that was well taken by Rashid running back with the flight of the ball. It brought Lynn to the crease, but he departed after two balls, slashing at Valente and edging it through to Carey.
Max Bryant was next to go. Peter Siddle delivered full, Bryant played across the line, and the ball struck the youngster on the knee roll. Siddle appealed impressively, and the umpire complied. Replays showed the ball was missing leg by quite a distance, but it mattered not. It left the Heat 3 for 18 and a mountain to climb.
But the entrance of McCullum and Renshaw shifted the momentum. Both unveiled a raft of shots on both sides of the wicket, reaching a crescendo when Renshaw took Valente for 20 from the last over of the Powerplay, leaving the Heat 3 for 56 at the end of that phase, some 13 runs ahead of the Strikers at the same juncture.
From there, Renshaw accelerated. Playing with an almost unseen belligerence, he flicked, whipped, and crunched the Strikers attack to all parts, racing to his half-century from 26 deliveries. Few people would have expected McCullum to play second fiddle to a blazing Renshaw, but it proved different on the night. When McCullum departed, LBW to Rashid for a comparatively sedate 51 from 39 balls, Renshaw was already in the 70s.
McCullum's exit proved no problem for the Heat, as Ross came in and swept aggressively to continue the Heat's dominance. What originally seemed a marathon was eventually rendered a stroll, as the visitors walked in the total with lots to spare.