It was a classic catch fiesta at the Gabba, but the Brisbane Heat couldn’t quite topple the Melbourne Renegades to claim a spot in the semi-finals
Melbourne Renegades 3 for 187 (Cooper 65*, Short 62, Swepson 1-27) beat Brisbane Heat 161 (Ross 36, Cutting 35, Richardson 4-35) by 26 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Catches win matches.
An exceptional display of catching from the Melbourne Renegades has ended the Brisbane Heat’s season and breathed life into the Hobart Hurricanes, who narrowly scrape into the BBL semi-finals despite a loss to the Melbourne Stars.
The Renegades will face the Adelaide Strikers in Adelaide in the second semi-final on Friday while the Hurricanes travel to Perth to face the Scorchers on Thursday.
The Renegades’ new-look top order again laid the foundation for a large total. Tom Cooper, Matthew Short and Marcus Harris combined for 169 between them and were particularly savage on the pace of Mark Steketee and Ben Cutting.
But it was the catching that was the difference. Harris took a screamer to remove the dangerous Chris Lynn. The Renegades held every half-chance offered bar one late when the game was won. The twin failures of Lynn and Brendon McCullum put the Heat in a hole they could not climb out of.
Momentum at the top
Harris and Short put together a 77-run stand from just 50 balls in the previous win over Sydney Thunder. They continued that form at the Gabba. Their opening partnership was a little slower, 74 from 58 balls, but no less important in terms of laying the platform. With the exception of the first over, the left-right combination was able to find the boundary at least once every over to maintain a healthy rate throughout the Powerplay and beyond. Harris was savage on anything short of a length, while Short was able to find the boundary against the spin threats of Yasir Shah and Mitch Swepson despite absorbing a number of dot balls.
Cooper has played some gems in this BBL and this innings was no exception. The 360-degree nature of his play makes him incredibly difficult to bowl to. His ability to ramp and reverse-ramp quicks forced different plans and he was able to score more freely in other zones. The fear of getting ramped to fine leg meant he was given width on a number of occasions. He also got some off-speed length deliveries that he could hit down the ground with mid-off or mid-on inside the ring. Short was a great ally. He made his maiden T20 fifty before falling to a stunning return catch by Josh Lalor. He stuck out his hand to a tracer-bullet drive and was able to knock the ball up and catch the rebound. Cooper kept rolling to finish with 65 not out from just 36 balls. There was a fear the Renegades may have been under par given they had wickets in hand but 187 was a very good total nonetheless.
Lynn held the key to the chase as he usually does. On return from a calf injury he was cautious early by his standards but still flew to 21 from 12 balls with two sixes and two fours. The 13th ball Lynn faced was full outside off and in his speed slot. He drilled an off-drive at head height to mid-off, where Harris dove full-stretch to his left and plucked it from thin air. Lynn was stunned. The Renegades were ecstatic. McCullum and Sam Heazlett then did not hit a boundary for 13 balls against the pace of Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain and Jack Wildermuth before both men fell off successive balls to good catches. The catching masterclass did not stop there. Matt Renshaw skied one over mid-off and Cooper ran back full-tilt from inside the circle to reel in a one-hander. The Heat looked cooked, needing 112 runs from 53 balls to make the semi-finals.
Cutting and Alex Ross threatened. Cutting hit three enormous, consecutive sixes off Richardson at the start of the 15th over to give the game life. But the Heat still needed 13 per over and he holed out to another good catch from Harris on the fence off Dwayne Bravo. Ross also fell to a stunning one-hander. It came from an unlikely source in Jon Holland. Ross slashed a short wide ball from Tremain hard to the right of Holland at short third man. Holland flung out his non-dominant right hand and the ball stuck neatly in his palm. Tremain, Richardson and Bravo cleaned up the tail.