Among the major fascinations of cricket are those nerve-wracking final over thrillers. From Javed Miandad’s Sharjah spectacle in 1986 to Carlos Brathwaite’s exhilarating hitting in 2016, the lead-up drama and the moment of realisation culminate to send the atmosphere into delirium.
Ashton Agar got to experience that winning feeling when he smashed a last-ball six to take Perth Scorchers to an incredible victory against Melbourne Renegades in a Big Bash fixture at the Docklands Stadium.
Aaron Finch, who usually plays the role of a domineering opening batsman, was at the receiving end of Agar’s exploits in a manic final over. With the effervescent Dwayne Bravo unavailable to bowl, the part time left-arm spinner had no other choice but to bring himself on.
However, he still managed to lead from the front by producing a remarkable last over. Defending just nine runs, Finch rode on a combination of full-tosses, serendipity and his own brilliance on the field to take the match to the final delivery.
When the last three overs began, the required run-rate stood at a comfortable 6.33. But, Scorchers somehow stumbled against the wily Sunil Narine. The mystery spinner removed the well-set Michael Klinger from the equation whilst keeping the run-rate down as well.
Nathan Rimmington sustained the newfound momentum even as Scorchers lost an inexplicable wicket. Ashton Turner lunged forward to a wide delivery and offered a simple catch to the deep cover fielder. Suddenly, Adam Voges found himself joining Mitchell Marsh in the middle.
Finch tries to create a twist with the ball
In the 11th over of the chase, Bravo had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after twisting his left hamstring near the boundary line. That was a massive moment in the game as Renegades would have been banking on the all rounder’s experience in the death overs.
Nevertheless, Finch tried to make up for the Trinidadian’s absence by producing two wickets in two balls. He enticed Marsh with a juicy low full-toss outside the off-stump which brought long-on into play. In the very next delivery, his swift pick-up and throw caught Voges short of the crease. With seven runs required from the last three balls, the tide seemed to be turning rapidly.
Having usurped the strike during the course of the run-out, Agar played the situation smartly. Realizing the importance of cutting down unwanted risks, the 23-year old looked for vacant areas on the field and stole successive couples.
The equation was now at 3 runs from the final ball. Following a long discussion between himself and Cameron White, Finch ran up and delivered a slow full-toss straight into the strike zone of the batsman. Agar only needed to connect properly and he duly obliged.
The left-hander sent the ball towering over the deep midwicket boundary to bring the curtains down on a riveting encounter. His last-ball six not only led Scorchers to their sixth consecutive victory over Renegades but also to the top of the table.