The script was written for opening night. It was supposed to be the Warne and Muralitharan show, and the cavalcade of stars in the Melbourne Stars line-up was supposed to prove too strong in the Victorian derby. But no one told Aaron Finch as he stole the show with an audacious century to lead his unfancied Renegades to a comfortable eight-wicket win.
Finch, who is the only Renegades player in their entire squad to play in their two victories last season, clobbered an unbeaten 111 from just 65 balls, with 12 fours and four sixes, to run down what appeared to be a competitive total.
The star everyone came to see, Shane Warne, had a win at the toss but thereafter his night was a train-wreck. The opposing captain Finch crushed 19 from Warne's first over, including two enormous sixes. First a slog sweep over midwicket, and then inside-out over cover. The Stars captain later dropped a simple chance offered from Faf du Plessis at midwicket. Warne then returned for a second over only have Ben Rohrer launch him twice into the stands.
Rohrer's cameo was typical of the New South Welshmen. So often underrated and forgotten, he entered with the game still in the balance and compiled a fabulous unbeaten 34 from 20 balls. He was the perfect foil for Finch as the paired mixed brutal power, with perfect placement and exceptional running in their unbroken 75-run stand.
Earlier the Stars started brightly after electing to bat. After the early loss of Rob Quiney, Luke Wright and Brad Hodge attacked the eclectic Renegades attack.
But at 1 for 74, halfway through the ninth over, a mix-up on a misfield resulted in Hodge being run out by du Plessis. Symbolically, and ironically, the stumps for the BBL feature red LED's that light up when broken, and the red lights halted the Stars progress.
They managed just a run-a-ball over the next four overs against the spin of Aaron O'Brien and Muttiah Muralitharan, before Wright fell for 53 trying to break the shackles with a reverse-sweep. The experience of David Hussey (41) and Cameron White (20) combined to help the Stars to 5 for 167.
But in the end Finch made light work of the target as the Renegades ran riot over their more fancied cross-town rivals.