Hobart Hurricanes 3 for 190 (Wright 70*, Wade 66, Boyce 2-27) beat Melbourne Renegades 5 for 186 (Nabi 63, Marsh 56, Webster 50) by 4 runs
A blistering start by Matthew Wade and a cool-headed finish by Nathan Ellis delivered Hobart Hurricanes the victory they needed over the Melbourne Renegades to keep in touch with a place in the Big Bash League finals, in a thrilling affair at Docklands Stadium.
On an excellent pitch, Wade helped the Hurricanes hammer 78 from their opening powerplay, before Mac Wright ensured this platform was not wasted. The Renegades' pursuit had three significant contributions from Shaun Marsh, Beau Webster and Mohammad Nabi, but from a position where they needed 12 from nine balls, the Hurricanes defended grandly, capped off by Ellis conceding just five runs off the final over after he had gone for 20 in the 18th.
Wading into it
In a match the Hurricanes had to win to keep in touch with the competition's top five, they had the advantage of first use of a pitch that did not play quite as slowly as the Renegades' captain Dan Christian might have expected when he won the toss and bowled. Wade was certainly quick to find the ball skidding obligingly onto the bat, going after Nabi's opening over and quickly getting into a rhythm that saw plenty of decent balls go to the boundary and anything loose disappearing well over the Docklands Stadium rope.
An Andrew Fekete long-hop was dispatched with a pull shot whose sound reverberated around the arena, while not even Christian's usually parsimonious offerings were immune to being taken for the maximum. The upshot of all this was a powerplay worth 78, the Hurricanes' best ever in BBL history. For Wade, this might have been the platform for a spectacular century, but he was not to last much longer, dragged wide of the off stump as he miscued Cameron Boyce to gully for 66 from a mere 29 balls.
The Wright stuff
Amid Wade's early attack on the Renegades, with their captain Aaron Finch watching from the boundary on the day he returned home from an ODI tour of India, Wright's innings was a more measured affair, playing in his captain's slipstream and then steadily accelerating across the innings. One cover driven boundary off Boyce, where he danced down to get to the pitch of a leg break, was delectable, and he otherwise gave the impression of a player who should remain a fixture in the Hurricanes' side from here.
Nevertheless, the Hobart innings did not quite maintain the rage of its early passages, meaning that although the Renegades only claimed three wickets, they were happy to restrict the Hurricanes to only 112 from the final 14 overs of the innings - despite leaking 20 from Samit Patel's left-arm spinners in the 19th over.
Harper's heavy hit
Docklands Stadium was built primarily as an Australian football venue, and the manner in which Sam Harper was ruled out of the rest of the match - after getting to six from five balls - was more familiar to many of those who had seen countless marking contests on the west Melbourne turf. Running towards the non-striker's end, Harper collided with Nathan Ellis and was sent tumbling heavily onto his back and neck as the bowler braced.
Harper had previously been the victim of a heavy and traumatic concussion in February 2017 when Jake Lehmann had accidentally hit the Victorian wicketkeeper with his bat, being confined to hospital in Adelaide for some weeks afterwards, and his early movements after this collision were decidedly wobbly. He was submitted to a concussion test on the field of play, and the results did not satisfy medical staff enough to allow Harper to continue. He walked off with a consoling word from Wade and was ultimately sent to hospital, to be subbed out for Tom Cooper - the first such instance in BBL history.
Ellis holds the line
Having lost Harper, the Renegades did not fall too far behind due to some of Marsh's cleaner hitting for the tournament, accompanied by a supporting innings from Webster that kept the innings at a steady pace. Marsh's exit for 56 arrived at a time when the game was starting to tilt towards the hosts, but the required rate was allowed to balloon out beyond 15 per over as Webster and Nabi struggled momentarily to find the boundary.
However, the third over delivered by Ellis, who had previously conceded just 12 runs from two, offered up enough deliveries in the hitting slot for Nabi to get into the sort of hitting mode that has made him one of the world's best T20 players. No fewer than 20 runs accrued from the over, and when Nabi nailed two more sixes off Clive Rose, the Renegades suddenly needed a mere 12 from nine balls. Rose, though, slowed up his pace and defeated Nabi, while not conceding another boundary. Ellis, defending 10 runs from the final over, conceded only five.