Struggling Gades burnt by Scorchers
IF Melbourne Renegades are looking for a positive … they got an early look at what life will be like without Aaron Finch on Tuesday night.
The captain's golden duck in Geelong piled the pressure on No.3 Sam Harper to bat with maturity and the little man delivered.
Harper kept his head still at the crease as he smashed 73 (46) to rescue the Reds, which pounded weary import Chris Jordan (0-43) to post 5-175 against Perth Scorchers.
Watch every single KFC BBL match LIVE & On-Demand on KAYO with FOX CRICKET's unmatched commentary line-up. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
The problem was that, with a pop-gun attack, it mattered little.
Perth walked to a six-wicket win in a bottom-of-the-table clash that left the Renegades 0-7, at least three wins behind every other franchise and in wooden-spoon mode rather than title contention.
The problem now is that Finch and Kane Richardson jet to India for Australia's ODI series, leaving behind a Big Bash team that has gone from champions to chumps.
Richardson is going to leave a hole the size of India, having taken 10 out of the club's 30 wickets this summer as the only threatening bowler.
"Is there any chance you can get him to shave his head and bowl someone else's overs as well?" Stars captain Glenn Maxwell joked to Finch on Channel 7.
There's a strong BBL05 flavour about this season's Red team.
Back then Finch and Chris Gayle formed a devastating combination that was routinely undone by brittle bowlers and fumbling fielders.
That summer Perth openers Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger remarkably chased down Melbourne's target of 171 without losing a wicket.
Marsh and Klinger now wear red shirts and red faces, with their pilgrimage east going pear-shaped.
Liam Livingstone and Josh Inglis's century opening partnership killed Tuesday night's contest, however it came at a cost for Livingstone.
The Englishman - dubbed a "Leg-side Larry" by Maxwell - tonked a 97m six off Richard Gleeson, and then copped two balls where no man wants to be hit.
The second one put Livingstone on his haunches for a long time, groaning in discomfort.
Mitchell Marsh got his wish, dismissing his older brother when Shaun's attempt to clear the short boundary fell metres short.
FINCH THE FUNNY MAN
COLAC kid Finch only had a couple of family members at GMHBA Stadium, including wife Amy, but at least he had a laugh after suffering just his third BBL duck from 61 games.
"They (family) could've gone home after the first over, if they came to watch me," Finch said after his wild hoick was caught by Cameron Green.
VIRAT Kohli can breathe a sigh of relief … for now. Jhye Richardson - who has dismissed Kohli four times from six games - won't be on Thursday's flight to India with Australia's ODI squad. But the 23-year-old is starting to get back to the sizzling form that had him one of the hottest young talents in world cricket before a shoulder injury in March. Richardson had 2-2 after his second power-play over, with the giant slayer dismissing openers Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris. With a T20 World Cup followed by a Test series against India later this year, Kohli might not be able to dodge Richardson for long. The West Australian is still ginger in the field, bowling the ball back rather than throwing it, but could well be a triple-format star for Australia.
LAST summer the Big Bash was plagued by minefields masquerading as pitches. Perth was bowled out for 103, Adelaide was bowled out for 88 and, at Marvel Stadium, Renegades finished 9-99 chasing just 133. Credit to curators this summer, with the average first-innings score climbing from 149 to 163 after the Red team's 5-175 on a glorious Geelong deck. It makes for far better cricket.