SuperCoach BBL|08 Review: Melbourne Renegades
STARING down the barrel of a potentially embarrassing defeat, the Renegades took out their first Big Bash League title as cross-town rivals the Stars suffered a stunning collapse.
The 'Gades wrapped up their batting season at 5-145 but victory looked firmly in the Stars' favour at 0-93 before the Renegades' bowlers went to work.
Cameron Boyce took out the all-important wicket of danger man Marcus Stoinis for 39 and Chris Tremain sent Peter Handscomb packing for a duck the next over.
From there, it was a landslide. Glenn Maxwell (1), Nic Maddinson (6), Seb Gotch (2), and Darren Bravo (3) all fell in quick succession and all of a sudden Aaron Finch's comical run-out and subsequent demolishing of an innocent Bunnings chair, minding its own business in the players' race, didn't seem all that bad.
Simply, the steely resolve of the bowlers in red was what won the Renegades their first title. To paraphrase Kane Richardson, if batsmen sell memberships, then bowlers seemingly save them.
Top 5 players
1 - Kane Richardson - BWL - 74.5 average points per game
2 - Dan Christian - BAT / BWL - 68.7
3 - Usman Khan Shinwari - BWL - 59.6
4 - Cameron Boyce - BWL - 59.4
5 - Mohammad Nabi - BAT / BWL - 51.9
Kane Richardson was simply sublime in BBL|08. On six occasions he broke through for triple-digit SuperCoach scores and although he was quieter than usual in the final, managing ony 18 SuperCoach points, he was the most reliable player on the Renegades' roster. Richardson finished the season as the tournament's leading wicket-taker, with 24 for the season.
Dan Christian just seems to win titles wherever he lands. He proved to be a captain option on numerous occasions and a score of 126 SuperCoach points in the final confirmed his status as one of the best all-rounders in the Big Bash League.
Cameron Boyce started the season slowly but caught fire after taking the then-reigning premiers Adelaide Strikers to the cleaners in round five with a score of 118 SuperCoach points.
Usman Khan Shinwari played only seven games but was influential in his time at the 'Gades, while fellow import Mohammad Nabi was solid without being outstanding.
Top 5 disappointments
Tim Ludeman - WKT / BAT - 14.7 average points per game
Will Sutherland - BAT / BWL - 17.0
Marcus Harris - BAT - 18.0
Joe Mennie - BWL - 21.5
Mackenzie Harvey - BAT - 25.0
BBL|08 delivered a changing of the guard at the Renegades, specifically in the role of the all-important gloveman. Tim Ludeman has been a warrior across all formats for quite some time but was pushed aside in favour of young Sam Harper, who proved deadly with the willow.
At the other end of the spectrum, wunderkind Will Sutherland was still feeling the effects of a preseason back injury and managed only the one game before the Renegades opted to put the all-rounder on ice. The good news for SuperCoaches is that he'll maintain his low price tag heading into BBL|09.
Marcus Harris was once a must in SuperCoach, but he too found himself otherwise occupied and out of the top order for the Renegades, opening for Australia across six Tests instead. His seven appearances culminated in just 126 SuperCoach points. Grim stuff.
Rolling out the top five, Joe Mennie managed only the two games, so we can't be too harsh, but Mackenzie Harvey suited up for 13 games and managed just a 25-point SuperCoach average.
Top 5 individual performances
Cameron Boyce - Round 11 - 165 vs Sydney Thunder
Dan Christian - Round 10 - 158 vs Perth Scorchers
Mohammad Nabi - Round 8 - 143 vs Sydney Sixers
Usman Khan Shinwari - Round 6 - 132 vs Brisbane Heat
Kane Richardson - Round 3 - 130 vs Sydney Sixers
Looking ahead to BBL|09
The hunters now find themselves the hunted. The Renegades will be hoping to keep together the bulk of their squad in a bid to defend their maiden BBL title, but it won't come easy. Aaron Finch was missing the bulk of the season with the Test side and struggled to adjust to the pace upon return to the Big Bash - so he'll be better for a likely full season next time around.
They will welcome back Will Sutherland next season - his year has been plagued by a preseason injury - and his injection into an already impressive bowling line-up will keep the Renegades within reach if they are to back up their title.
The Gades will want to hold on to Cameron Boyce, who was a revelation in BBL|08, and they'll be looking to lock in their overseas contingent of Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) and Usman Khan Shinwari (Pakistan). But where does Englishman Harry Gurney sit in the scheme of things after he was brought in to great effect to replace Shinwari for the second half of season?