Jubilant Melbourne Renegades skipper Aaron Finch admits he had almost given up all hope shortly before the Melbourne Stars’ stunning collapse delivered his side a maiden BBL title.
Chasing a modest target of 146 runs, the Stars were cruising to victory at 0-93 in the 13th over of Sunday’s final, but they self-destructed, losing 7-19, to suffer a 13-run defeat in front of 40,816 fans at Marvel Stadium.
“It’s very special, it’s exciting … it was an unbelievable effort by our boys to pull that off,” Finch said.
“Particularly in that last six to eight overs to get that breakthrough and then really drag that momentum back our way.
“It was probably one over away from them really breaking our hearts I think.
“They played well for the first 12 overs but you just need one opening on a wicket like that a slow, pretty low wicket to create some pressure, to create some doubt in their minds.
“To hang in the contest for the whole day … it was a great effort.”
The Stars were in the box seat when they restricted the Renegades to 5-145 from 20 their overs after winning the toss, but Glenn Maxwell (1), Peter Handscomb (0) and Dwayne Bravo (3) were all part of the horror collapse.
Marcus Stoinis (39 runs from 38 balls) was the first wicket to go, with Handscomb following soon after, getting a top edge on a rash shot that wasn’t required at that point.
Then top scorer Ben Dunk was caught in the deep on 57, Maxwell suffered a similar rush of blood and, when Bravo departed, the Stars needed 34 runs from 14 balls.
They didn’t get close, their dreams dashed at 7-132 at the end of their 20 overs.
Player-of-the-match Dan Christian (2-33 from four overs), Chris Tremain (2-21 from four) and Cameron Boyce (2-30 from four) held their nerve as the Stars lost the plot.
“I’m pretty shattered,” a dejected Maxwell told reporters.
“We probably needed to kill the game a bit earlier, go a bit harder at the start while the ball was hard and just get ahead of the run-rate.
“Credit to them, they bowled really well and executed under pressure. They were able to build up enough pressure to make it hard for us.”
Earlier, Maxwell sent the Renegades in after winning the bat flip and his bowlers soon gained the upper hand, the home side slumping to 5-65 in the 11th over.
But Tom Cooper (43 runs from 35 balls) and Christian (38 from 30) steadied the ship with an unbeaten 80-run partnership from 58 balls for a competitive total.
Legspinner Adam Zampa went for 11 runs in his first over, but recovered to post 2-21 from his four overs.
Jackson Bird took 2-25 from three overs and was involved in the run-out that sent Finch on his way for 13 runs from 10 deliveries.