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Recent Match Report – Strikers vs Renegades 33rd Match 2020

Recent Match Report - Strikers vs Renegades 33rd Match 2020

Melbourne Renegades 4 for 178 (Nabi 71*, Fraser-McGurk 29*, Rashid 2-24) beat Adelaide Strikers 7 for 177 (Salt 59, Carey 42, Renshaw 30, Hatzoglou 3-43, Prestwidge 2-20) by 6 wickets

A nerveless stand between Mohammad Nabi and Jake Fraser-McGurk lifted the Melbourne Renegades to a six-wicket victory over the Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval to end a wretched seven-game losing run in the Big Bash League.

The Strikers had kept the Renegades in the contest by breaking down badly in their final six overs, losing 6 for 44 after looking highly likely to pass 200 after strong contributions from Phil Salt, Alex Carey and Matt Renshaw – Jack Prestwidge’s spell of 2 for 20 was key in stemming their momentum.

After Aaron Finch fell early, the Renegades were in danger of drifting to defeat once more, but Nabi formed a salvaging union with the promoted Prestwidge and then the pivotal one with Fraser-McGurk, who may also have done some longer-term damage to the Strikers by hammering a drive back into Peter Siddle’s left thumb. Siddle completed the game but was clearly uncomfortable as Nabi blazed the boundaries that took the Renegades home and nearly doubled his tournament aggregate in the process.

Strikers find the Salt shaker

There had been discussion leading into this match about the place of Salt at the top of the order, after only one score above 30 in his first eight innings of the tournament. An outing against the bottom-placed Renegades afforded the chance to regain some poise, and in perfect early evening conditions at Adelaide Oval, Salt warmed nicely into his work alongside Renshaw, spending 12 balls to get settled before climbing into Noor Ahmad, Peter Hatzoglou and Imad Wasim.

Renshaw, too, had his moments in an opening stand worth 61, striking a quintet of boundaries inside the Powerplay and exhibiting the power he has occasionally been able to showcase against both the white and red balls. Renshaw’s innings slowly lost momentum without quite so many gaps to find, and when he drove Prestwidge to mid-off it seemed an opportune time for the arrival of Carey to the middle.

The Power Surge that wasn’t, then was

Adelaide were 1 for 104 and handily placed when Carey, it seemed clear to all and certainly the Renegades captain Finch, chose to utilise the Power Surge. Sizing up Kane Richardson as Finch brought all but two fielders inside the circle, Carey proceeded to blaze sixes over cover and long on from the first two balls of the surge, before bunting another two runs down the ground. After these three balls, there was suddenly a moment of conjecture when it became apparent that neither umpire had noticed Carey’s clear signal and Finch’s acknowledgement.

For a few seconds, a pair of adversaries not quite as friendly as Carey and Finch might have entered a stand-off. Had Carey denied his signal – even if it was clear on the broadcast – the Strikers may have been able to get a fresh call for another two overs. But as it was, Carey and Finch worked very much within the spirit of the game by allowing the umpires to call the Power Surge belatedly to the scorers, and after Carey fell the following over, the Strikers’ innings was limited to 6 for 44 from their final 35 balls.

Nabi comes to Renegades party

Just 78 runs in six innings so far had suggested Nabi’s previously handsome record with the Renegades was taking the same jolt as Michael Klinger’s coaching tenure. However a slower Adelaide surface that was beginning to take turn – more for Rashid’s leg break than is usually seen in Australia – was the sort of pitch Nabi had often prospered on at Docklands, and he was soon finding the boundary at the right times after Finch, Mackenzie Harvey and Sam Harper had all made it into the teens.

Finch’s decision to promote Prestwidge after he delivered a decidedly useful spell with the ball gave Nabi an ally of similarly positive mindset, and together they clumped the runs that gave the Renegades the bonus point for bettering Adelaide’s tally at the 10-over mark. As wellas Rashid was bowling, their stand of 42 from 26 balls did not deserve to be ended by his googly: while Prestwidge was clearly beaten, the ball was arrowing comfortably down the leg side.

Fraser-McGurk strikes a telling blow

Having already belted one six down the ground with the follow-through that is already familiar to those who have seen him in junior and state ranks, Fraser-McGurk was struggling to find a way past Siddle in a Power Surge over that ultimately cost just two when he laced a ball back straight and struck his former Victorian teammate a painful blow on the left thumb as he tried instinctively for the catch. Play was held up for several minutes as Siddle tried to recover, and the following over Fraser-McGurk hit a ramp shot about as cleanly as possible to hit another six, this time off Wes Agar. When the next ball was miscued over cover, Siddle dropped it as he still struggled with his left hand.

This left Nabi with a very achievable scenario from the final four overs, allowing the fifth-wicket pair to take 10 from Rashid’s final over. Needing 21 off the final two overs, Fraser-McGurk benefited when another ramp was misfielded by Harry Conway, allowing three, before Nabi hammered Siddle straight then over cover-point for four then six. Now the Strikers’ fade in their final six overs came sharply into view, as the Renegades joyously knocked off the final five runs with a ball to spare.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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