Agar’s last-ball six seals thriller for Scorchers

Perth Scorchers 152 for 6 (Klinger 72, Mitchell Marsh 34, Narine 2-20) beat Melbourne Renegades 148 for 8 (White 37, Willey 2-15, Turner 2-25) by four wickets

Perth Scorchers have played Melbourne Renegades six times, and won the lot. Last year, in this very fixture, they recorded the BBL’s first ever 10-wicket win. This time, they won, but it was not that simple.

It required a swatted six from Ashton Agar with the game’s final ball, a full toss bowled by Aaron Finch (yes, you read that right). Scorchers required nine from the final over, and Finch dismissed the set man Mitchell Marsh, caught at long-on off another full toss, and Adam Voges, run out by a direct hit trying to pinch a single. Agar, who had faced just two balls, required three off the last, and smote high and handsome over cow corner for six. It was a remarkable conclusion.

Klinging in the rain
One of the great joys of the BBL is that it has made household names of the likes of Michael Klinger, who – rightly or wrongly – has never played international cricket. Klinger, the BBL’s most prolific batsmen ever, has been the Man of the Match (with 105 then 91, both unbeaten) in the Scorchers’ last three wins over the Renegades and, with rain falling outside and the roof on, played the game’s defining hand here.

His 72 was a triumph of functionality and calmness as he set Scorchers up to cruise home with overs to spare; alas, it was not that easy. He found the boundary with ease, not least when he launched Brad Hogg over long-off for a six that took him to 50 and nonchalantly flicked Nathan Rimmington over fine leg with the same result. Everyone in the stadium was surprised when his leading edge floated back to Sunil Narine with victory in sight. The Renegades had finally dismissed Klinger after 173 balls.

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Micheal Klinger in action

Why on earth was Aaron Finch bowling the final over?
The Renegades’ best laid plans went to waste when Dwayne Bravo suffered a game-ending – and perhaps worse? – hamstring injury fielding in the 11th over of the Scorchers’ chase. At that stage they were one down and needed 81 off 57. Bravo had bowled just one over; the loss of his three overs meant the misfiring Nathan Rimmington had to be bowled out (at a cost of 45) and Finch had to bowl two. Briefly, remarkably, it looked like they might have got away with it.

Turner’s turn
Offspinner Ashton Turner’s name is as fine a case of nominative determinism as cricket can currently offer. Anyway, spin has historically played a big role at Docklands Stadium, and his excellent performance set the path for the rest of the game. Turner’s first over only fuelled the Renegades’ excellent start, as Marcus Harris thumped him for two fours. Adam Voges persisted with Turner, and that paid dividends when Harris top-edged a sweep to deep midwicket. After Cameron White and Callum Ferguson put on 50, back came Turner to begin the stall; his four overs cost just 25, and he had White caught at deep midwicket.

A tale of two brothers
A fine night for Mitchell, but not so much for Shaun, as both look to hustle their way back into the Australian squad for the final Test of the summer, which will be named on Friday. Shaun has fond memories of this ground, having put on 171 with Klinger last year to seal that 10-wicket win. The pair extended their unbeaten run to 207, but Shaun struggled on Thursday. His tortuous seven took 14 balls, with just three of them resulting in runs. There was one lovely slash through point for four and drive through mid-off for two; the rest was a tale of ugly timing.

Mitchell had a much better night. The allrounder kicked things off with a fine spell of bowling, hammering away at a length for four overs, and picking up a wicket – Ferguson, the man who very briefly replaced him in the Test side – with his final ball. He took two fine catches – on the fence at third man to see off Tom Cooper, and at deep square leg where he was picked out by Peter Nevill – to boot. Mitchell’s brutal knock took the Scorchers to within seven runs of a win, before he dragged himself from the field having holed out. Fortunately for him, Agar saved his blushes.

Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp

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