Aaron Finch-led Melbourne Renegades book BBL finals spot with win over Adelaide Strikers

Aaron Finch smashed 63no off 54 balls to lead Melbourne Renegades to victory over Adelaide Strikers.

Aaron Finch smashed 63no off 54 balls to lead Melbourne Renegades to victory over Adelaide Strikers. Photo: AAP

Milestone man Aaron Finch has steered Melbourne Renegades to a six-wicket win over Adelaide, booking the franchise’s first BBL finals appearance in four years.

Celebrating his 100th BBL game, Finch survived some early scares – including a ball hitting his stumps but failing to dislodge the bails – to hit an unbeaten 63 to guide the Renegades home with 10 balls to spare at Marvel Stadium.

Australia’s T20 captain notched up his fourth 50 of the tournament and 26th in the BBL, and was joined at the crease by Jon Wells (20 no) to finish off the match.

Finch stayed calm as wickets fell around him, including those of former international stars Martin Guptill and Shaun Marsh, as he built his innings before powering the Renegades in the final 10 overs.

“That was just another demonstration that he (Finch) is a class above. He showed his experience again,” Renegades quick Tom Rogers said.

“Not a lot of blokes could have played that innings on that wicket.”

Even on a tricky pitch, the Strikers’ 7-142 never looked seriously defendable as Adelaide’s faint finals hopes ended with its ninth defeat of the tournament.

After winning their first title in 2019, the Renegades endured three grim seasons before putting in a much-improved campaign.

They will now have a home final after taking care of the Strikers to snap a two-game losing run and will either finish third or fourth depending on Wednesday’s results.

Sydney Thunder could jump above the Renegades into third if it smashes Melbourne Stars at the MCG and make up the net run-rate gap.

“You play so much cricket and so few finals, whether it’s grade cricket or professional cricket, so it’s pretty exciting to be in this position,” Rogers said.

Earlier, Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey impressed in tough conditions with an outstanding 65 from 47 balls, but all other Strikers batters found it difficult after Finch opted to bowl first.

Even Travis Head, who has become one of Test cricket’s most explosive middle-order players, struggled to 19 from 32 balls.

Adelaide stumbled to 1-25 after the first powerplay and was unable to build any momentum as veteran spinner Fawad Ahmed caused trouble to claim figures of 3-17.

The Strikers’ innings slumped to new lows when Wells ran out Cameron Boyce with a long throw from halfway to the boundary.

“It’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow because we are quite a talented group of players,” Strikers coach Jason Gillespie said.

“We just haven’t been able to find a way in critical moments in games throughout the season to get the job done, which is disappointing.”


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