Ben McDermott, playing only his second game of the Big Bash League 06, slammed a 47-ball century, as Hobart Hurricanes kept their qualification hopes alive with a record chase of 223 against Melbourne Renegades at the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne on Thursday (January 12). McDermott put on 151 (71) for the third wicket with George Bailey (59 off 42) but his dismissal triggered a lower-order wobble and required Stuart Broad to summon all his experience to chase down 16 of the final Thisara Perera over as the Hurricanes sneaked home off the final ball for a two-wicket victory.
McDermott’s complete disdain for the Renegades attack and his continuous peppering off the cow corner fence had reduced the mammoth chase to a very gettable 53 from the final overs but as is often the case in the shortest format, there was enough time for Renegades to script another comeback and maybe, even move into the driver’s seat.
It started with McDermott missing a reverse sweep off Sunil Narine to fall for 114 off 52 balls. The wily Brad Hogg then overturned a sequence of consecutive boundaries by accounting for Daniel Christian and Jonathan Wells off successive deliveries. But Bailey’s three boundaries off Thisara Perera in the eighteenth over reduced the equation to 22 from the final two. Narine, however, delivered almost the perfect 19th over – taking two wickets, including the key one of Bailey’s – while giving away only six runs to reduce the equation to 16 off the final over.
Narine was in the act even in the final over – a dive at short third-man saving a certain boundary before an accurate throw caught Cameron Boyce short of his crease. Broad walked out with 14 to get off the final four and was offered a gift when Perera bowled a wide and Peter Nevill’s shoddy glovework allowed the batsmen to steal two additional runs. After picking up another couple with a miscue to midwicket, Broad hit gold when he found the boundary off the fourth and fifth deliveries – with a whip through deep square and a thick edge through third man – before chipping a low full toss over mid-off to complete a sensational victory.
That Hurricanes had little chance of overhauling what was then a record BBL total of 222 was largely due to their ongoing issues with top-order batting. When the need of the hour was a solid start, both openers D’Arcy Short and Tim Paine departed in successive overs of part-time off-spin from Tom Cooper with the scoreboard reading a sorry 19 for 2.
By his belligerent standards in the second half of his innings, McDermott had a rather steady start – scoring at a run a ball after 13 deliveries. In fact, even after eight overs of the chase, Hurricanes had only 57 runs on the board with the 22-year-old batsman reaching 28 off 25. The six-hitting spree began in the following over with James Pattinson hit over deep square for a couple of sixes in a 19-run over. The next three overs brought 35 runs and Hurricanes were still alive in the chase.
McDermott, who’d taken 31 balls for his first 50 runs, needed only 16 more deliveries to get to his maiden BBL hundred. In all, he hit eight sixes and nine fours in his 52-ball innings, scoring at a rate of over 219 in the process. Mindful of his partner’s striking form, Bailey held himself back to a bit-part role in the partnership and turned the strike over at the first opportunity. That McDermott middle-over blitz paved the way for an incredible victory.
Earlier, Renegades marched to what was the highest total in six-year history of the Big Bash with Aaron Finch extending his fine run of form in the tournament with yet another half-century. Finch (63 off 40) shared a 74-run stand for the second wicket with Cameron White (34 off 19) before Tom Cooper (53* off 24) gave the finishing touches to a fine batting effort by powering the total well past the 200-run mark. But as it turned out, in what will go down as a tournament classic, even the best of Renegades wasn’t enough to withstand the McDermott assault.
Brief Scores: Melbourne Renegades 222/4 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 63, Tom Cooper 53*; Jake Reed 2-54) lost to Hobart Hurricanes 223/8 in 20 overs (Ben McDermott 114, George Bailey 59; Sunil Narine 3-27) by two wickets.