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Michael Neser hat-trick not enough to save Brisbane Heat in BBL

A six-laden half-century by Andre Russell helped Melbourne Renegades to a win over Brisbane Heat in the BBL.

A six-laden half-century by Andre Russell helped Melbourne Renegades to a win over Brisbane Heat in the BBL. Photo: AAP

West Indian power hitter Andre Russell has blasted a half-century to help Melbourne Renegades maintain their unbeaten start to the BBL season with a four-wicket win over Brisbane Heat.

Michael Neser responded to his Test omission in spectacular fashion, claiming the ninth hat-trick in competition history as he destroyed the Renegades’ top order in Geelong on Wednesday night.

But Russell launched a stunning rearguard, whacking half a dozen sixes as he top-scored with 57 off 42.

One of his sixes was a 103-metre monster – the equal-biggest of the season so far – belted straight back over James Bazley’s head.

The scintillating innings helped guide the Renegades to 6-139, squeaking past Brisbane’s modest tally of 8-137 with four balls to spare.

The Renegades managed just 10 wins over three years after claiming the 2018-19 title, but now have a perfect 3-0 start this season.

Brisbane have slumped to 0-2 despite the heroics of Neser, who claimed career-best T20 figures of 4-32 in his first match in any format since being left out of Australia’s Test side to face South Africa.

The right-arm quick removed Sam Harper with the first ball of the Renegades’ run chase and sent Jake Fraser-McGurk packing at the end of the same over.

Neser’s tear continued when Nic Maddinson chopped on at the start of the third over and the hat-trick was complete when Jon Wells left an inswinging ball that cannoned into the stumps.

Neser was not far away from the BBL’s second double hat-trick when another inswinger went through Russell’s gate, but it narrowly missed off stump and ran away for four byes.

Russell was dropped on 31 by Bazley and took advantage, belting double Heat’s total of three sixes before he was eventually caught behind off Mark Steketee (2-23).

Aaron Finch (31 not out) and Will Sutherland (6no) steered the Renegades home after Akeal Hosein (30 off 19) played a crucial cameo with the bat.

Earlier, Brisbane won the toss and batted first but staggered through an innings that lacked the usual T20 fireworks.

Captain Jimmy Peirson (45 not out) top scored for Heat and hit six of his side’s eight fours during a 29-run power surge in the final two overs.

Matt Renshaw (29) and Sam Billings (25) put on a 61-run partnership for the third wicket but both fell victim to Renegades paceman Tom Rogers, who posted career-best figures of 4-23.

Import spinner Hosein (3-26) also did damage with the ball.

-AAP

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