29/05/2024

Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne celebrate a boundary at Marvel Stadium. (Photo: Brisbane Heat/Twitter)

The Brisbane Heat’s remarkable late-season run has continued, sending the Melbourne Renegades home on the back of a seven-wicket win at Marvel Stadium on Sunday night.

The Heat’s bowling was very restrictive in the first innings, restricting the home side to 5-162, thanks to a player-of-the-match performance from speedster Xavier Bartlett’s spell of 3/18, while Michael Neser claimed 2/33.

Opening the batting for the Heat, Usman Khawaja hadn’t initially had the return to the Big Bash he would have liked after a strong run of form for the Australian Test side. However, a return to form on Friday night, where he crushed 94 from just 55 deliveries, had the captain full of confidence coming into the Knockout clash.

Needing to take early wickets to get on top of the contest, the innings could not have started any worse for the Renegades, with Khawaja smashing two fours in consecutive deliveries in the first over. This was a sign of things to come, as his innings of 59 runs from 47 deliveries featured eight fours and one six.

Khawaja is no stranger to standing up in the BBL finals across his career, with 470 runs across finals fixtures, the competition’s most.

However, Brisbane will need to find more power within the rest of its batting lineup, with Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, and Matthew Renshaw’s tournaments all coming to an end ahead of Australia’s tour of India.

With Khawaja being dismissed, the visiting side still required a further 41 runs, and after two wickets fell in the same over, it appeared as though the Renegades were beginning to storm back into the contest.

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Although, thankfully for the Heat, there was still enough batting power in the sheds, with Australian international Matthew Renshaw coming to the crease.

Renshaw is generally known for his calm and slow approach. However, that was not the case on Sunday night, as he smashed an unbeaten 27 off 13 deliveries, facing just one dot ball.

It was a night for the veterans at Marvel Stadium, with Shaun Marsh helping the Renegades gain ascendency in their batting innings.

Marsh worked the ball into the gaps, particularly throughout the middle overs, working his way to an unbeaten 82 from 53 balls. Marsh’s innings would feature nine fours and two sixes, taking on both pace and spin bowling.

Ultimately, Marsh didn’t have enough support from his fellow batters, with Matt Critchley (23) and Sam Harper (22) failing to make the most of strong starts.

The loss brings the Renegades’ season to a close, while the Heat will look to advance to the Big Bash Final when it takes on the Sydney Sixers in the Challenger at the SCG on Thursday night.

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