Match Analysis | Freddie Wilde
Finch right at home
During his innings Aaron Finch went past 700 runs at the Etihad Stadium – he loves batting there and his innings was yet another example of that. Using the dimensions of the ground to his advantage two of his three fours and three of his four sixes were hit to the shorter square boundaries while five of his six twos were hit straighter. Finch scored 42 (20) off the front foot and 12 (3) when backing away towards the leg side to give himself room over to hit over the off side. He only scored 9 (13) off the back foot and was happy to duck under or defend short balls from Patrick Cummins and Andre Russell – perhaps wise given that his opening partner Marcus Harris attacked a Russell short ball, was rushed by the pace, late on the shot and caught at mid-on.
The pitch map below reflects Finch’s front-foot heavy run-scoring in that all of his boundaries were from full deliveries. The pitch-map also indicates that the Thunder bowlers gave him very little width – shrewd given the short square boundaries. That Finch scored as many as he did as quickly as he did was as much testament to his power and ability than it was any notably poor bowling. All it took was a handful of balls that were a tad too straight and a tad too full and Finch punished them. On a good batting pitch such as this the margins of error are so small. Credit should be given where it is due: Finch looked imperious from his very first ball, 39 (8) of his runs came from clean hits, and he only mis-timed the ball twice in his innings and did not edge any shots.
Fawad snares Finch
The story of Finch’s dismissal was a lovely sequence of three deliveries from leg spinner Fawad Ahmed displayed on the pitch map below. The first two were straight, average paced leg breaks, not bad balls, that Finch shimmied down to and brilliantly lofted inside-out over extra cover for six. Anticipating another charge, Ahmed bowled the third delivery quicker and didn’t impart as much spin – while the first two had turned 2.65° and 5.00° respectively, this one skidded on, deviating just 1.30° off the surface. The subtle change worked as Finch was was caught 15 yards inside the boundary after making a poor connection on his third inside-out drive.
Thunder’s silver lining
In an otherwise disappointing performance the bowling and batting of Cummins was a bright spot for Sydney Thunder. Cummins bowled with good pace, five times breaching 90mph, but more impressive was his accuracy – to both right handers and left handers he maintained an excellent tight line before nailing his yorkers in his one over at the death. With the bat his cameo of 36 (23), following his 30 (20) v Sydney Sixers suggests he could be a genuine batting option for the Thunder.
Spin and bounce does for Patterson
Melbourne Renegades’ total of 179 was the highest at the Etihad Stadium since December 2013 and the third highest score ever at the ground. Chasing the runs was always going to be tough against a strong bowling attack and that task was made considerably more difficult when Kurtis Patterson was dismissed first ball by Tom Cooper. While the shot itself was loose, especially with a gully and a point in place, the ball did turn and bounce more than any other delivery bowled by Tom Cooper in his two overs – explaining but not excusing the dismissal.
Tremain stays in the tracks
While Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and Brad Hogg collected two wickets with typically accurate and intelligent bowling, significant damage had been done to the run-chase before then by Chris Tremain who bowled three of the opening seven overs, conceding just 16 runs and dismissing Eoin Morgan. At the end of his third over Tremain’s tight stump-to-stump line had kept the Thunder to 42 for 2, and the required run rate had risen to 10.61. With one more from Tremain and 11 from Bravo, Narine and Hogg still to bowl, the defending champions had left themselves with too much to do.
Tremain later returned and although he bowled two height wides he also bowled two legitimate short balls to Russell, both of which were swung at and missed before he had Russell dropped off the fifth ball of the over.