Finch-Marsh heroics go in vain as Hurricanes make their way into playoffs

Tim David swings the ball away towards midwicket Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Hobart Hurricanes 5 for 182 (Wade 48, David 46*, Lalor 2-37, Boyce 2-37) beat Melbourne Renegades 6 for 176 ( Finch 75, Marsh 51, Rogers 3-35, Lamichhane 2-27) by six runs

Smart bowling from Hobart Hurricanes helped them clinch the final BBL playoff spot after a thrilling six-run victory over Melbourne Renegades. The result knocked Stars from the playoff race ahead of their clash with Sydney Thunder on Wednesday.

Hurricanes had looked in grave danger of failing to defend their 182 at Marvel Stadium with an Aaron Finch-led Renegades cruising at 2 for 161 in the 18th over. But Hurricanes found inspiration with seamer Tom Rogers claiming two wickets in the penultimate over, including Finch for 75, as they hung on to secure victory.

The bottom-placed Renegades now need to win their last match, against Thunder, to stand a chance of avoiding a third straight wooden-spoon finish.

Hurricanes find a way at the death
Hurricanes looked lifeless against Finch and Shaun Marsh, who combined for a second-wicket century partnership. A vintage Finch appeared to be leading Renegades to victory until Hurricanes clawed back into the contest with their season in the balance.

Sandeep Lamichhane, who had earlier taken the wicket of Marsh, was superb in the 18th over with a game-turning dismissal of debutant Unmukt Chand, who had become the first Indian cricketer to play in the BBL.

Then Rogers claimed the big wicket of Finch to decisively turn the game the Hurricanes' way. That eased the pressure on them ahead of their final league-stage game against Melbourne Stars, even though their playoff position is still undecided.

In further good news for Hurricanes, they are set to welcome back Ashes cult hero Scott Boland, whose sole BBL game this season was against Perth Scorchers on December 14.

Finch stands tall but Renegades collapse
Renegades could well be wondering how their season might have gone with a fit and firing Finch and Marsh, who both missed large chunks of the tournament with injuries.

Marsh turned the clock back with a 38-ball 51 complete with gorgeous strokes around the wicket, but it was Finch who looked best-placed to get Renegades over the line until his dismissal triggered a collapse.

Finch appeared to have timed his run to perfection, but Renegades lost 4 for 15 at the end to suffocate under the pressure in a disappointing performance that encapsulated another poor season for them.

Hurricanes' batting packs a punch
After an erratic season, Hurricanes have settled on their batting order and No. 3 Matthew Wade has taken to his new role after a sluggish run mid-season in a major boost for their title hopes. The Hurricanes captain helped his side overcome the early loss of Ben McDermott and showed his intent by smashing a six off spinner Cameron Boyce's first delivery in the eighth over.

Wade fell just short of his second straight half-century - having made just eight runs in four prior innings - but Hurricanes received a late flurry from D'Arcy Short and Tim David with the pair pummelling 51 off just 22 balls.

In another welcome boost for Hurricanes, an aggressive Short showed great form with 37 off 22 in his most fluent knock of a difficult season, where he had been demoted from opener to No. 4 and entered the match with a low strike rate of 103.

But even he was overshadowed by the big-hitting David, who smashed 46 from 20 balls with four sixes. Hurricanes have had a dilemma all season whether to utilise their designated finisher up the order, and David showed his prowess with his highest score of the season.

Evans pulls off a stunner
Without spearhead Kane Richardson, who has had an excellent season, Renegades' weakened attack needed someone to step up, and youngster Zak Evans did exactly that in his third BBL match of the season.

First, he took one of the best catches of the tournament to dismiss McDermott - a one-handed blinder after he ran back 30 metres from the edge of the ring and dived backward.

Then the 21-year-old was entrusted to bowl in the power surge and his plan to pitch up worked when he claimed the key wicket of Wade. He couldn't quite finish the job against a red-hot Short at the death, but it was an encouraging performance from him overall.

It was needed for Renegades with frontline spinner Zahir Khan, who started the season superbly, once again wicketless, having taken just five wickets in his last ten matches.

Renegades 2nd innings Partnerships

1st37AJ FinchJ Seymour
2nd101SE MarshAJ Finch
3rd23AJ FinchUBT Chand
4th5AJ FinchJ Merlo
5th0SB HarperJ Merlo
6th10SB HarperW Sutherland

Big Bash League