Boyce blast sees Renegades through to finals
Cameron Boyce starred with bat and ball as Melbourne Renegades beat Sydney Thunder by 27 runs to seal a Big Bash League finals spot.
Spinner Boyce was the Renegades' unlikely hero with that bat on a slow pitch at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday, coming to the rescue with a maiden BBL half-century to get his side up to 140-7.
Jono Cook, Fawad Ahmed and Chris Jordan took two wickets apeice as Aaron Finch's side were reduced to 90-7, but Boyce smashed 51 from only 22 balls - the joint-fastest half-century of the tournament - in a crucial late cameo after coming in at number eight.
The Thunder were unable to chase down their target, Boyce taking 2-17 and Kane Richardson striking three times to secure a semi-final berth for the Renegades.
Defeat for the Thunder leaves them in desperate need of a victory when they face the third-placed Sydney Sixers in a crucial Sydney Smash on Saturday.
JORDAN JOLTS RENEGADES
Jordan was in the thick of the action early on to put the Thunder on top, starting with an excellent diving catch to remove Mackenzie Harvey (8).
The England paceman then cleaned up a slogging Sam Harper (10) in his first over and claimed the big wicket of Finch (10) in his second, reducing the home side to 31-3 in the sixth over.
Jordan (2-44) was unable to deliver at the death, though, as Boyce shifted the momentum in spectacular fashion to undo the good work done by Ahmed (2-22) and Cook (2-18).
BOYCE BLAST TURNS THE TIDE
The Renegades looked set to fall well short of posting a challenging total until Boyce produced late fireworks, with support from Mohammad Nabi.
Nabi made 36 from 34 balls, but it was fellow spinner Boyce's blast which left the Thunder shell-shocked.
Boyce was out for a duck when he was sent in at the top of the order against the same opponents last week, but hit Jordan for three sixes and twice dispatched Gurinder Sandhu over the ropes, supplementing his five maximums with four other boundaries to finish with a strike rate of 232.
PACEMAN CONTINUES RICH VEIN OF FORM
Richardson extended his lead as the top wicket-taker in the tournament with impressive figures of 3-27.
The paceman got rid of captain Shane Watson (4) in the first over and Jason Sangha (2) in his second, then sent teenage debutant Baxter Holt on his way for 37 from 28 balls.
Holt, who struck three sixes, was the Thunder's top scorer as they lost their last five wickets for only 17 runs, with Boyce ending a poor innings by getting Ahmed stumped in the final over.
There was an embarrassing run out for Cook after he collided with Sandhu in the penultimate over, which just about summed up the Thunder's night.