Melbourne Renegades wicketkeeper Sam Harper has conceded the battling BBL side have already reached the "must-win" stage, less than halfway through the season. The…
Cameron Boyce has become the first man in Big Bash League history to take a double hat-trick, claiming five wickets in the Sydney Thunder’s 8-170.
The Melbourne Renegades legspinner delivered one of the finest spells in the BBL’s 11 seasons, overshadowing Usman Khawaja’s 77 on return for the Thunder.
Boyce’s figures of 5-21 were the best in the Renegades’ history, while it also marked the fourth-best return by an Australian player in the BBL.
His double hat-trick came across two overs, becoming the first man to claim a hat-trick for the Renegades when he removed Alex Hales, Jason Sangha and Alex Ross.
The balls to remove Hales (44 off 22) and Sangha were particularly brilliant, beating them in flight to have Hales caught and Sangha stumped.
After trapping Ross lbw, he then also claimed Daniel Sams lbw to complete the four wickets with a ball that straightened.
Proving it was his day, Boyce later also had Matthew Gilkes caught at cover for two and ran out Ben Cutting at the non-striker’s end with a ball that flicked his thumb on the way through.
Boyce played seven T20s for Australia between 2014 and 2016, taking eight wickets at an average of 19.
He was also regarded by Ashley Mallett as Australia’s best spinner since Shane Warne and was rated one of the best young talents out of Queensland.
But he lost his spot on the eve of the 2016 T20 World Cup, the victim of India chasing down 197 in a match at the SCG where Boyce took 2-28 and had an easy stumping chance missed.
Adam Zampa was then called in for the World Cup in India and Boyce never regained his spot.
The 32-year-old has since battled health issues, missing last year’s entire Big Bash and the start of this season after suffering oesophageal spasms and overcoming mental health issues.
Meanwhile Khawaja’s 77 came in his BBL return after the Ashes, as the Thunder push for second spot on the ladder.
He hit eight boundaries and took Josh Lalor down the ground with one big six, as the Thunder hit 0-80 in the first 6.5 overs.
But Boyce’s dismissal of Hales swung the match dramatically, keeping the Renegades in the battle as they try to avoid a third-straight wooden spoon.