When Dan Christian strode off Docklands Stadium after scoring 38 not out off 30 balls to set the Melbourne Stars 146 to win the title he walked past the coach Andrew McDonald and smiled.
"He walked off and said, 'I've got 15 too many coach'," McDonald told SEN.
Christian was wrong. It was 13 too many.
"As a coach in that nervous moment you look at him and you nod and you say, 'yeah maybe the finals pressure will get to them,'" McDonald said. "And I'm thinking in my head we're 25 under par. That's the sort of belief he brings to the group.
"His impact in games is just incredible. But the self-belief he has in his own game is something that's hard to define."
Christian won his seventh T20 title on Sunday in 11 finals. He was Player of the Match in both the semi-final and the final. The Renegades can't speak highly enough of his influence.
"Outstanding, unbelievable," Aaron Finch said. "He keeps telling us he just keeps winning titles wherever he goes, and that says a lot about a player as well. Allrounders like DC balance teams as well, they factor into the game, whether with the bat or with the ball; 2 for 33 off four, and 30-odd with the bat. Pretty good return under pressure."
Players that have an influence on winning teams and winning cultures earn incredible respect.
"I think careers are defined by winning titles," McDonald said. "By that definition he's probably one of the best. He goes everywhere, he wins. He's not always got the big numbers at the end of tournaments but his impact in games is pivotal whether it be with bat, ball and in the field.
"I suppose the thing you can't measure is what he brings to the group. He's got great self-belief. He's got great belief in the players around him and they just walk taller in his presence. Sensational player. Well done to the recruiting staff for getting him across from Hobart. It was opportunistic."
1st played against each other as 16yr olds, 18 months later, won an U19's World Cup together.— Dan Christian (@danchristian54) February 17, 2019
Yesterday, a BBL trophy. Couldn't think of a better team mate to share it with. Doesn't show much emotion, but when he does, you know it means something. Absolute legend pic.twitter.com/sXIXSkFKoK
It was a coup. Christian had been hugely influential in Hobart Hurricanes' run to last season's BBL final, playing one of the toughest roles in T20 cricket, batting and bowling in the death overs. But a desire to return home to Melbourne where he has established a base around his nomadic life opened the door for the Renegades.
"Firstly, it was just being back in Melbourne," Christian said. "Spending as much time as I do overseas during the off-season I just really wanted to come home and spend as much time at home as I could over that Christmas period. I've never done it before.
"I had three years at Hobart and four years at the Brisbane Heat. So that was the number one thing. And talking to Andrew McDonald a fair bit in the negotiations and knowing quite a lot of the guys anyway, I've played with almost everyone before either at Victoria or South Australia or a couple of the guys at the Heat and Hurricanes as well. So, I was looking forward to being a part of it."
The Renegades had been keen on him for a long time. McDonald and Christian were on the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad together in the 2013 IPL. McDonald took over as Victoria coach in 2016 where Christian played in a third successive Sheffield Shield title under him. Having seen him deliver time again first hand, McDonald knew Christian was exactly the player he wanted.
"[We were] very keen on him," McDonald said. "Very keen on that skill set. Obviously, it's well documented that Dwayne Bravo went across to the Stars and we needed someone to replace that sort of skill set and couldn't be happier to work with him for the next few years. He's delivered another title."
Christian's adaptability is quite extraordinary. In the semi-final he entered Docklands Stadium with the Melbourne Renegades needing 49 from 30 balls with five wickets in hand against Sydney Sixers, and clubbed 31 not out from 14 balls to win the game.
In the final, he walked out at 5 for 65 batting first, with 58 deliveries left to salvage a defendable score. Again, calmness and inner confidence kicked in. He combined for a match-winning 80-run partnership with Tom Cooper.
"Tom and I just talked about getting through them as much as could we could and then putting ourselves in a situation to be able to slog the blokes at the death," he said. "Particularly if we were 30-odd not out by then we should have had the pace of the wicket all sorted out to be able to cash in. Dwayne Bravo bowled beautifully. We were aiming for 150-155 and he bowled beautifully and kept to us to 145. Luckily it was enough."
Not only did Christian bowl brilliantly again, conceding just 14 runs from his first two overs during Marcus Stoinis and Ben Dunk's 93-run stand to build some pressure, he also was stationed in the hot spot in the field at long-on, holding the key catch off Cameron Boyce to dismiss Dunk. He also sat under the sky-ball from Peter Handscomb and swallowed it to start the rot.
There's no time to rest for Christian. He flies straight to the Pakistan Super League less than 24 hours after claiming the BBL title to play for Multan Sultans.
"That's the life of a T20 player now," McDonald said. "They're onto the next opportunity, the next team. And we'll probably see him in a couple of months time, when he returns back and be able to fully enjoy it with him."
Christian said he's been very lucky to play with the teams he has in winning seven titles and counting.
They would all say they have been lucky to have him.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne