Aaron Finch’s renewed aggression backfired spectacularly as he was bowled for a second-ball duck in the Melbourne Renegades’ tally of 150 against the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.
Sam Harper’s patient 63 off 52 balls ensured the last-placed Renegades avoided their lowest score of the season, batting first after winning the flip at the MCG on Sunday night.
The diminutive wicketkeeper’s fifth BBL half-century included three fours, one six and a mid-wicket collision with Liam Hatcher, when he set off for a run and the Stars bowler sprinted for a catch.
Both players were left sore but were able to continue, with Harper eventually out to an acrobatic catch from Stars wicketkeeper Seb Gotch.
Mackenzie Harvey (29 off 17) looked good before he was bowled by Hatcher (3-29, four overs) in a blow to the Renegades’ hopes of posting a competitive total.
They lost their last seven wickets for just 30 runs in a stunning collapse, bowled out in the 20th over.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Finch conceded a defensive mindset had contributed to his run of poor form, including just two scores of more than 20 in nine previous BBL innings this season.
The Australia T20 and Renegades captain revealed his plan to shed a “timid” approach in his return to the top of the order.
The new tactic did not work as Finch edged Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell’s first delivery of the innings and was bowled by the second when attempting to whack his Victoria teammate over cow corner.
Renegades opener Shaun Marsh was given a life on 23 when Hatcher dropped a sitter at backward point, but added just one run to his tally before he holed out to deep mid-wicket off Stanlake (2-28, three overs).
Afghan spinner Zahir Khan took 2-23 from four overs in an impressive display.
Stars allrounder Marcus Stoinis finished with figures of 0-8 from one over, bowling for the first time since suffering a side strain in Australia’s ODI win over India on November 28.