Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne
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Adelaide Strikers 5 for 171 (Weatherald 51, Imad 2-13) beat Melbourne Renegades 111 all out (Harvey 34, Siddle 3-16, Agar 3-23) by 60 runs
Jake Weatherald's fastest half-century in the BBL from the middle order helped the Adelaide Strikers return to form, as the Melbourne Renegades season went from bad to worse with another epic collapse leading to their seventh straight loss.
Batting outside the top 3 for just the second time in his T20 career Weatherald thumped 51 off 25 balls in a rollicking 96-run partnership with Ryan Gibson to take the Strikers from a precarious position at 4 for 72 and post a competitive 5 for 171. Gibson made 43 not out from 31 and was awarded Player of the Match despite being outscored by his partner.
The Renegades spinners had put the Strikers in a huge hole with Imad Wasim claiming 2 for 13 but he strangely only bowled three overs as skipper Aaron Finch got his calculations wrong.
Finch's night was capped by a first-ball duck at the start of the chase but the Renegades were in control of the chase at one stage thanks to a 67-run stand from Mackenzie Harvey and Sam Harper. However, they suffered another trademark collapse to be all out for 111.
Danny Briggs (2-17) and Rashid Khan (1-21) started the squeeze before Wes Agar and peter Siddle finished the job picking three wickets each.
Renegades recruits come good
The Renegades recruited specifically to make spin their biggest weapon but their big spin guns had barely fired a shot in the tournament to date. In the first 11 overs Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nabi and Noor Ahmad delivered seven overs between them claiming 3 for 46. They squeezed Matt Renshaw and Alex Carey before the pair relented at the wrong time having set themselves to get to the Power Surge unscathed. Renshaw holed out trying to slog-sweep Nabi for the second ball in a row. Then Jon Wells and Carey holed out off Imad in the 11th over trying to avoid the run-rate dipping below 7. Imad's had figures of 2 for 13 from 3 overs and the rate fell to 6.54.
Weatherald struggled to get going as he did against the Sydney Sixers, taking five balls to get off the mark and scoring two singles from his first eight balls. A short ball from Nabi ignited him as he pulled it over the short boundary. He had a good ally in Gibson, who also got a gift from Noor Ahmad. Gibson was failing to pick the wristspinner in his first three balls but Noor overstepped and the free hit allowed Gibson to get off the mark with a six. The pair delayed the Power Surge until the 17th over and exploded.
Finch was going to use Imad's fourth over but changed his mind, giving the ball to Josh Lalor. The last four overs cost 62 runs. Lalor conceded four boundaries and two sixes as he got his length horribly wrong to Weatherald who made his fastest ever BBL half-century off just 24 balls. Gibson played an excellent hand making 43 not out off 31 balls. Rashid Khan did not face a ball in the innings for the second straight game. Finch bizarrely elected not to bowl out Imad or Noor. Both delivered just three overs while Lalor's four cost 51.
The skipper's horror run continued with a first-ball duck. Having been run out at the non-striker's end in the last game via a well-struck straight drive from teammate Shaun Marsh, he added a strangle down the leg side first ball from Harry Conway to his run of outs. He tossed his helmet down the race in frustration. With Marsh and Rilee Rossouw absent the Renegades turned to the future with Harvey and Harper combining for a 67-run stand. They took 34 off the powerplay climbing into the Strikers quicks with powerful strikes square of the wicket. They looked set to claim the Bash Boost point and set up the chase.
Strangled by spin
Their good work was undone against the Strikers spin duo. Rashid Khan and Danny Briggs delivered four overs for just 16 runs in the first 10 overs of the chase. Harvey was dropped at deep midwicket by Renshaw in the 8th over trying to find a rare boundary. Harper fell in the second ball of the 10th, bowled behind his legs having exposed leg stump to Briggs trying to sweep fine. The Renegades needed just four runs for the Bash Boost point at that moment and they couldn't get them. It sparked another panicked collapse. Harvey skied another ball and Carey held it beautifully running back with the flight to give Agar his first scalp. He would pick up two more as the Renegades lost 9 for 44 in another dismal display.
Jake Weatherald, Ryan Gibson, Wes Agar consign Melbourne Renegades to seventh straight loss
Weatherald's fastest half-century in the BBL from the middle order helped the Adelaide Strikers return to form