In one of the most incredible Big Bash matches ever Ben McDermott’s century blasted record breaking Hobart Hurricanes past record breaking Melbourne Renegades.
The Renegades set a new benchmark for the highest team total in the BBL with their 222 for four. The Hurricanes then beat it with 223 for eight. The ‘Canes eclipsed the previous mark of 210 that the Renegades and Hurricanes held together. Unsurprisingly the 58 boundaries is a BBL record, as is the combined match total of 445 runs.
Ben McDermott was the hero with a ridiculously impudent 114. Undaunted by the huge chase ahead of him when he came to the crease with the Hurricanes 1-1 in the first over. Likened to Damien Martyn by former Test batsman and national selector Mark Waugh, McDermott played a series of power strokes that Marto would have only dreamt of. His disdain for the bowling of Xavier Doherty was something to behold, skipping down the wicket to the World Cup winner and drop-kicking him straight back down the ground.
When you thought his brilliant innings would come to an end as the looming target proved too great, McDermott would hit another boundary. Then another boundary. Then another. He got to his half-century from 31 balls. Nine balls later he was on 70. Seven balls later he was on 101. Stunning. He brought up the first hundred by a Hurricanes player with his eighth six, the second-highest score and the third-fastest ton in BBL history.
His innings was finally cut short by the wily Sunil Narine, trapped leg before wicket after missing an audacious reverse sweep. McDermott left the field to a standing ovation by his teammates, fans and everyone inside Etihad Stadium.
“Certainly (my best innings), by a long way,” McDermott said after the game. “I’ve never got a hundred in Twenty20 cricket. To do it on the big stage was awesome. It’s almost better just going into this big run chases. You’ve just got a bit of freedom to go really hard.”
George Bailey was the Robin to McDermott’s Barman. He played second fiddle to McDermott for most of his innings, offering the strike to his red-hot teammate at every chance. But when the youngster fell it was Bailey who kept the run chase rollicking along. He brought up his fifty from 36 balls and upped the ante as the balls began to evaporate. He cracked three fours and two sixes but fell from the final ball of the penultimate looking for maximum No.3.
The epic pursuit came down to the final three balls. Stuart Broad flipped Thisara Perera to the leg-side for four, then an outside edge flew past short third man to the rope. One off one required and a leading edge fell over the in-field to secure an unforgettable victory.
“I tried to hit it over mid-wicket,” Broad told bigbash.com.au of his final shot. “I looked to mid-wicket and the ball wasn’t there and then I looked up and it had gone over mid-off. It was a terrible shot, to be honest. But when the fielders are in close trying to stop one, my theory was that anything with a bit of bat speed was a chance of clearing them. I didn’t quite know what to do, I actually ran back for the second just to be sure.”
Every bowler got belted. Pattinson. Broad. Hogg. Christian. Not Sunil Narine. The West Indian was the difference in the end as he claimed 3-27 from four overs. Narine removed the big wickets of McDermott in the 16th over then Beau Webster and Bailey with his last ball. He then ran out Cameron Boyce in the final over, but it wasn’t enough.
Renegades captain Finch had few answers for the turn of events after a strong start by his bowlers.
“The guys who bowled in the power-play did an amazing job. I couldn’t ask any more from that start,” he said. “It’s just the way it is. That’s T20 sometimes. When you have a guy play an unbelievable knock like that … hats off to him. That was an incredible display of hitting.”
Finch had kick-started the Hurricanes innings with a whirlwind 40-ball 63. Having been sent in to bat by his opposite number, Finch waited just six balls to launch his first six. While he wasn’t at his explosive best in terms of boundaries – he hit a total of six fours and two sixes – Finch faced only half a dozen dot balls after that first maximum. The Renegades captain set the perfect foundation for the Cooper cyclone that was about to hit.
Tom Cooper was simply bruising on Thursday night. Entering at 2-116 after 12 overs, Cooper was given the license to thrill and thrill he did on his way to a blistering 53 from 24 balls. The damaging innings featured seven fours and two sixes and was the catalyst for the Renegades to surge to the highest BBL team total ever. If his performance with the bat wasn’t enough, the 30-year-old snared two wickets with the new ball in a sublime all-round display.
At the mid-innings break pundits said that Hobart needed a miracle. It came and was shaped like Ben McDermott!
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