Jake Fraser-McGurk has hauled in one of the all-time great BBL catches to help the Melbourne Renegades open their BBL season with a tense two-run win over the Adelaide Strikers.
The 19-year-old rising star leapt high on the boundary to pluck Jake Weatherald’s slog-sweep out of the air with his right hand in an early contender for catch of the tournament.
It was crucial in putting the brakes on the Strikers’ run-chase after openers Weatherald (18) and Matt Short (29) had set a solid early platform in the powerplay.
Regular wickets fell and Ryan Gibson retired hurt with a hamstring injury as the Renegades narrowly defended their total of 9-153, restricting the visitors to 8-151 in a tight finish.
Daniel Drew (23 not out) needed four off the final ball to send the game to a super over – or a six to win – but his skied edge off James Pattinson didn’t carry the distance to the rope.
Man-of-the match Zahir Khan (3-24) removed both Adelaide openers and the dangerous Jonathan Wells, while new captain Kane Richardson (1-24) matched the Afghan spinner as the Renegades’ most economical bowlers.
But Fraser-McGurk’s catch was the major talking point as the Renegades got their season off to a positive start after finishing last in the previous two campaigns.
“(Weatherald) swept the first couple and didn’t really hit them, so I thought I was on and the whole crowd was saying it as well,” Fraser-McGurk said.
“Then I saw it went up and just instinctively took the catch. It was a ‘throw it up there and hope it goes in’ type of thing.
“I practice those flat ones on the boundary but to actually get one in a game was pretty special.”
Short twice hit English quick Reece Topley (1-43) for six with effortless flicks that sailed way back into the second tier of the grandstand at backward square.
He also took a brilliant one-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Renegades opener Sam Harper, providing most of the highlights until Fraser-McGurk delivered the best of the lot.
The Renegades fielded a depleted top order with veteran duo Aaron Finch (knee) and Shaun Marsh (calf) out injured, plus Marcus Harris and Nic Maddinson unavailable because of national duty.
Mackenzie Harvey took it upon himself to lift the home side, posting a mature half-century.
The 21-year-old’s 56 from 46 balls – a career-best knock in his 24th T20 match – spanned a 65-run opening stand with Harper (33 off 28) before he was eventually out bowled by Rashid Khan (1-30).
BBL debutant James Seymour whacked his first ball for six off Peter Siddle and made a handy 23 from 14 for the Renegades.
He was one of two wickets for Daniel Worrall (2-26), who helped put the brakes on the hosts’ innings by taking 2-3 in the 18th over.
Former Test quick Siddle was the Strikers’ most expensive bowler, coughing up 36 runs from his first three overs.
But he fought back to claim the important wickets of Mohammad Nabi and Jonathan Merlo in the 19th over, finishing with figures of 3-42.