Khawaja half century rescues rusty Blues
Usman Khawaja scored a vital half century to help the Speedblitz Blues recover from a torrid start to set the DEC Bushrangers a victory target of 169 at the MCG in Melbourne.
With the top order failing to fire Khawaja (65) remained calm to register his first ever KFC t20 Big Bash half century to help the Blues reach 168-7 after slumping to just 28-3.
Having won the toss Blues skipper Moises Henriques would have been hoping to set the Bushrangers a big score to chase down on flat batting track at the MCG.
David Warner got the innings off to the perfect start dispatching spin bowler Daniel Salpietro for 10 runs during the opening over as the home side took the pace off the ball in an attempt to slow down the big hitting Blues opener.
Despite the good start shown by Warner; opening partner Philip Hughes (2) faired less well lasting just 4 deliveries before he was caught by Evan Gulbis out on the third man boundary after he wildly slashed at a Dirk Nannes delivery
Having used spin in the first over Bushrangers skipper Andrew McDonald turned to James Pattinson who came into the attack at the start of the third over replacing Salpietro.
The quick bowler took just 5 deliveries to remove danger man Warner (14) after the Blues opener was caught by Ryan Carters out on the deep boundary to leave the Blues 19-2.
Daniel Smith (4) quickly followed Warner back to the dugout 6 deliveries later but with the arrival of Khawaja and Henriques the Blues fortunes started to improve.
With the Blues 28-3 the pair came together and built a 4th wicket partnership of 41 to help get the visitors innings back on track before Henriques (20) was dismissed by Pattinson at the start of the 9th over.
Rohrer (0) last three deliveries before he became Pattinson’s third victim of the night thanks to a brilliant one handed catch by Aaron Finch out on the third man boundary to leave the Blues 69-5.
Not for the first time in the innings Khawaja found himself having to rebuild the Blues innings and with Steve O’Keefe in support the pair added 61 runs before Khawaja was dismissed by Nannes at the start of the 18th over.
Despite the loss of Khawaja; O’Keefe raced to fifty from just 36 deliveries which included a massive six off the bowling of Peter Siddle in the 19th over.
O’Keefe (50) innings came to an end on the final over when he was caught by Hill out on the boundary after he dispatched McDonalds first two deliveries for boundaries.
Tim Armstrong added another 8 runs from the final two deliveries as the Blues reached 168-7 to leave the Bushrangers facing a run chase of 169 to keep their KFC t20 Big Bash hopes alive.