Hobart Hurricanes 4 for 161 (McDermott 89*, Noor Ahmad 1-27) beat Melbourne Renegades 5 for 157 (Harper 66*, Boland 2-19) by six wickets
Ben McDermott mauled the Melbourne Renegades with a sublime 89 not out from 55 balls to help Hobart Hurricanes cruise to a six-wicket win at the Bellerive Oval.
McDermott continued his magnificent run of form coming off a century for Australia A against India, smashing seven fours and five sixes in a flawless display against both pace and spin. He never looked troubled and made light work of the chase after the Hurricanes had slumped to 2 for 25 in the powerplay. The chase might have been a little tougher though had Renegades recruit Noor Ahmad been rewarded for an excellent spell of bowling on BBL debut, with a tight lbw call on Colin Ingram not going his way.
Earlier, half-centuries from Sam Harper and Rilee Rossouw rescued the Renegades from early trouble after Scott Boland and James Faulkner caused major damage with the new ball. Boland finished with figures of 2 for 19 but the Renegades made a mess of the last seven overs after Harper and Rossouw's 113-run stand had them poised to post a total in excess of 170. Some good death bowling from the Hurricanes restricted their opponents to just 5 for 157, which was nowhere near enough.
Rossouw and Harper to the rescue
The duo did an exceptional job to get the Renegades back on track after a disastrous start. Having been sent in on a surface with plenty in it for the seam bowlers the Renegades slumped to 2 for 4 with Shaun Marsh out to a leading edge in the first over while Jake Fraser-McGurk was all at sea against Boland nicking to slip during a wicket-maiden. Rossouw and Harper paced their recovery beautifully. They weathered the storm against the nip and swing of Faulkner and Boland and then attacked the extra pace and wayward lengths of Riley Meredith and Keemo Paul thumping 51 from their first four overs combined. Rossouw raced to 50 off the 32 in an excellent century-stand.
X-factor head scratcher
During the partnership, the Renegades made a strange move at the 10-over mark. With the score at 2 for 69, and the power of Mohammad Nabi, Beau Webster, and Will Sutherland still to come, the Renegades elected to sub out spinner Peter Hatzoglou for batsman Mackenzie Harvey. The idea was to free up Rossouw and Harper given the added batting depth. The Power Surge was also set up to be taken early in the last 10 overs. But the plans went haywire with the score at 2 for 107 after 13 overs. They scored just 10 runs in overs 14 to 16 without taking the Surge. Rossouw and Harper let offspinner Will Jacks bowl the 14th over at a cost of just four singles. Rossouw then fell in the 15th and Harper and Nabi scored just three singles in the 16th with Boland conceding just five runs from his first three overs. They made up for it somewhat in the Surge overs scoring 29 including five boundaries, with Harper reaching his fourth BBL half-century. But they failed to score a boundary in the last two overs of the innings and Harvey did not bat.
D'Arcy Short's consistency has been remarkable over the last three BBL seasons but he has been anything but at the start of this season. He made 72 against the Strikers but also has scores of 0 and 2 in the first three games. He was clean bowled through the gate for just 1 by Josh Lalor attempting a drive on the up off the third ball of the innings. Jacks also continued his lean start to the BBL. Lalor showed off his soccer skills side-footing onto to the stumps in his follow-through to leave Jacks well short as he tried to steal a single. The Hurricanes were in real trouble when Marsh brought 15-year-old Afghanistan wristspinner Noor Ahmad into the attack. He forced a mis-hit from Peter Handscomb and he was brutally unlucky not to pick up Ingram. He completely deceived the South African with a brilliant wrong un, pinning him plumb in front of leg playing back in the crease. The umpire felt it was missing leg, but ball-tracking disagreed. However, had DRS been in place he would have survived as it would have been an incredibly generous umpire's call.
McDermott continued his stunning form. From the moment he walked to the crease his footwork was sharp and his striking was pure. He looked in complete control and was the only Hurricane to pick Noor Ahmad consistently. He controlled the chase for the Bash Boost point and with the help of Ingram secured it with two balls to spare in the 10th over. McDermott then carved up Lalor who was battling a side issue. The 11th over cost 23 runs featuring two no balls, two boundaries, and a mammoth six as McDermott raced to 50 off 33 balls. He scored boundaries off Noor Ahmad and Nabi to maintain the required-rate and then exploded against Will Sutherland launching back-to-back length balls way back on the hill at deep midwicket. McDermott had enough runs to play with to reach a second BBL century but Tim David had other ideas smashing 21 not out from 12 to finish the game with 14 balls to spare.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne