Melbourne Renegades earn first BBL title with incredible win over cross-town rivals
Heading into the 2018/19 BBL season, the eighth since it started back in 2011, neither Melbourne side had managed to end the season victorious. The Stars, at least, had gotten close, finishing runners-up to the Thunder in an exciting 2015/16 season final, while the Renegades hadn't even made it that far.
After both teams made it through to the Grand Final this season, that was clearly set to change, and it was the Renegades who ultimately took out the biggest derby since the league began – though, for almost the entirety of the match, they seemed like they had virtually no hope.
The Stars, after winning the toss, sent their opponents in to bat. Early on, that decision seemed like a good one as the Renegades were quickly reduced to 2/25 off 3.4 overs. After captain Aaron Finch and the experienced Cameron White put on 22 runs in 14 balls for the third wicket partnership, they seemed to be digging their way out of a hole – until Finch was run out off the boot of bowler Jackson Bird while backing up at the non-strikers end.
Finch remained composed as he walked off the field, but upon entering the security of the players race he promptly pummelled a plastic chair into oblivion with his bat. The worst kind of dismissal in cricket had put the Renegades into a tricky situation, and when White was out just two runs later it seemed like it was set to be that kind of day for the 'Gades.
They lost another wicket a couple of overs later, leaving them 5/65 with a little under half of the innings remaining. With Tom Cooper and Dan Christian at the crease, they gradually began to resurrect, and the two were ultimately unbeaten after putting on an 80 run partnership. Still, the Renegades had managed just 5/145, which seemed unlikely to be enough.
When openers Ben Dunk and Marcus Stoinis put on 93 for the first wicket partnership, the result seemed all but a certainty. The two hadn't exactly put the result beyond doubt, taking 13 overs to get the runs, but when Stoinis fell at the end of the 13th over his side needed just 53 runs off 42 balls and with 9 wickets in the shed – seemingly an easy enough task.
Handscomb fell for a duck the next over, before Dunk was out for an innings high 57 at the end of the 15th over. With just six runs scored off these two overs and three wickets lost, suddenly they needed 46 off the last 30 deliveries.
The next over it was Maxwell who fell, and the one after it was Maddinson. The 18th over saw both Gotch and Bravo dismissed, leaving more than 30 runs needed off the final two overs, and suddenly the total was out of reach for the Stars.
They finished 7/132 at the end of their 20 overs, having at one point been 0/93 from 12.5 overs. The turnaround was an extraordinary one – any lucky punters jumping on the Renegades during the first half of the second innings would have been getting some serious odds.
The most important Melbourne derby in the history of the Big Bash League was a memorable one. One of the most extraordinary turnarounds one could hope to see, it saw the perenially unsuccessful Renegades become the first team to bring the trophy to Melbourne, something which seemed unlikely throughout many of the first seven years of the league.