Harris heroics keep Renegades alive

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Marcus Harris blasted a superb 85 as Melbourne Renegades survived a batting collapse to keep their semi-final hopes alive and eliminate Adelaide Strikers from the Big Bash League.

Both teams entered the match knowing that defeat would end their already slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals, but it was the Renegades that kept themselves alive, thanks largely to Harris' heroics in a six-run win.

The opener smashed six fours and four sixes in a 53-ball 85, including a huge maximum off Kieron Pollard that he whacked over midwicket and into the second tier in the eighth over.

Renegades appeared comfortable at 100-2, but inspired spells from Ben Laughlin (2-15) and Pollard (3-30) helped spark a collapse of six wickets for 22 runs in just 25 balls, as the visitors posted 171-9.

Strikers started well in reply as Tim Ludeman (29) and Ben Dunk (32) combined for 53 for the opening wicket, while Pollard looked in great nick with 22 off 17.

However, Pollard smashed a clean strike off Thisara Perera (4-25) through deep backward square that seemed destined to go for six, only to be denied by a sensational catch from Callum Ferguson on the boundary, which ultimately proved the pivotal moment.

Back-to-back sixes from Jono Dean in the penultimate over ensured a nervy ending for Renegades, but he was accounted for by Perera as 35 off 12 balls proved too tough a task.

 

HARRIS HEROICS BOOSTS RENEGADES

Renegades have been on the receiving end of a couple of close defeats in this year's BBL and Harris showed his intent to avoid a similar fate from the off.

He accelerated in the eighth over with 19 runs off Pollard, while he also smashed a 91-metre six off Liam O'Connor in the 13th over.

Harris' dismissal sparked a collapse with Perera (0), Sunil Narine (2) and Peter Nevill (6) all falling cheaply before the tail also toiled against Pollard and Laughlin, but Harris' knock proved crucial in ensuring Renegades' slim chances of a last-four place remained intact.

 

LAUGHLIN AND FERGUSON PROVE QUITE THE CATCH

Aaron Finch (19) got a start alongside Harris but was stopped in his tracks by Ferguson, who ran back from cover and took a sublime diving catch at full stretch with two hands.

Not to be outdone, Ferguson pulled off a stunning diving catch of his own on the ropes from Pollard's crisp strike, a moment that halted Strikers' momentum.


OUCH!

There was a worrying moment for Renegades wicketkeeper Nevill when he was involved in a freak accident in the 18th over.

Brad Hodge chopped at Perera's delivery but lost control of his bat, which flung into the air and struck Nevill on the cheek.

He was left with a cut under his left eye and early reports suggest Nevill was taken to hospital with a suspected crack jaw.