Bushrangers cruise to KFC Big Bash triumph
The Victorian Bushrangers claimed their fourth KFC Big Bash title in five years thanks to a crushing 51 run victory over the West End Redbacks in front of a sell out at the Adelaide Oval.
The Redbacks were set a total of 167 for victory by the Bushrangers but the hosts never looked like troubling the Bushrangers finishing 51 runs short.
The Bushrangers enjoyed a sensational start thanks to Dirk Nannes who struck with the first ball of the Redbacks run chase trapping Graham Manou LBW in front of middle and leg with a fine in swinging ball.
The shell shocked Redbacks stumbled further into trouble in the next over when Tom Cooper (2) was bowled by James Pattinson to leave the home side 3-2 and the Adelaide Oval crowd stunned into silence.
Unbelievable it got even worse for the Redbacks as the Bushrangers stranglehold on the game increased when Daniel Harris was caught by Andrew McDonald for 6 to give Pattinson his second wicket in consecutive overs.
With a mountain to climb Mark Cosgrove and Kieron Pollard found themselves at the crease with the Redbacks rocking 15-3 after just 3.5 overs.
The pair started of slowly knowing if they lost another wicket the Bushrangers total would almost be impossible to chase down with the big hitting Pollard cautiously building his innings.
Pollards patience stroke play allowed the partnership to grow and when the West Indian attacked Jon Holland in the 10th over hitting two huges sixes the partnership had grown to 53.
The Bushrangers now needed to find a break through to slow down the Redbacks down and it was McDonald who struck removing Cosgrove to break the partnership which had added 64 to the total leaving the home side 77-4.
McDonald delivered the knock out blow 3 balls later thanks to a brillant catch by Hussey out on the boundary to remove Pollard for 44. The Vics stand in skipper juggled the ball brillantly on the boundary rope tossing the ball in the air to allow him time to step back onto the field to claim the catch.
With Pollard gone the Redbacks needed a miracle having lost 5 wickets scoring just 77 runs from 12.5 overs. Cameron Borgas (6) and Daniel Christian (4) departed in the next couple of overs and at that point the Redbacks knew they were facing defeat.
Mark Cleary departed for two giving the impressive McDonald his 3rd wicket of the night leaving Aaron O'Brien and Shaun Tait to face the last 21 balls.
Earlier the Bushrangers won the toss with stand in skipper David Hussey electing to bat first as the Vics looked to set a high total to put the Redbacks under pressure.
The Bushrangers got off to a slow start thanks to some good bowling from Shaun Tait and Mark Cleary who restricted Brad Hodge and Finch to singles. Cleary became the first player this year to bowl a maiden.
Hodge struggled to find the boundary for the Vics but Finch was in fine form punishing some poor bowling as he raced towards his fifty. Their opening partnership was ended by Aaron O'Brien who caught Hodge off his own bowling leaving the visitors 47-1 after 5.3 overs.
Rob Quiney joined Finch at the crease scoring 12 before he was caught by Tom Cooper out at deep square leg to give Gary Putland his first wicket of the night.
Finch soon followed for 48 when he was caught by Daniel Christian at long off to leave the Bushrangers 85-3 after 11 overs.
The experienced pair of Hussey and Andrew McDonald started the recovery for the Vics but Hussey went cheaply for 15 after being caught by Putland of the bowling of Cleary to put the Redbacks on top.
Matthew Wade soon followed for 1 to give O'Brien his second wicket of the night as the home side looked to press home their advantage.
The Bushrangers were in deep trouble but McDonald and Aiden Blizzard enjoyed a partnership of 33 before McDonald departed for 25. Blizzard remained at the crease to complete a quick fire 42 from just 19 balls.
Blizzards blitz included 3 sixes to help the Bushrangers to a total of 166 and they will feel confident of defending that total to claim their fourth Big Bash title.