Melbourne Renegades surge into Big Bash finals

The Big Bash League wasn't even broadcast on free-to-air TV the last time the Melbourne Renegades played a final.

That will change on Friday night though, with the Renegades bound for Adelaide to take on a depleted Adelaide Strikers in what will be just the Renegades' second semi-final and their first in five years.

They haven't limped into the top four either. Instead they will head to Adelaide Oval having broken free from their mid-tournament rut, on the back of a pair of victories, the second of which - at the Gabba last night - denied Brisbane Heat a finals spot of their own.

Instead the fourth spot in the finals was taken by the Hobart Hurricanes, who were saved by the Renegades after earlier losing to the bottom of the ladder Melbourne Stars. The Hurricanes will face the Perth Scorchers at the new Optus Stadium on Thursday night.

The Stars' win had all but assured the Renegades would make the finals. From that point it would have taken a record-breaking loss to knock the Renegades out.

But in any case this was a terrific display from the BBL's perennial underachievers, one that again highlighted the depth in their squad which had been spruiked by first-choice captain Aaron Finch on the eve of the season.

Having been sent in by the Heat, the Renegades again opened with Marcus Harris and Matt Short. Again the move paid off, as Harris (42 from 30 balls) and Short (62 from 48) put on 75 for the first wicket, building a winning platform.

Harris was dropped only days ago, but won a reprieve when Brad Hodge had to withdraw from Wednesday night's game against Sydney Thunder with appendicitis. He's impressed in both matches since his scare, while Short's knock was the type that will likely further encourage rival clubs to make plays for the out-of-contract youngster.

Tom Cooper then accelerated late, thumping 65 not out from 36 to catapult the Renegades to 3-187 from their 20 overs.

The Heat needed to make the runs in 19.5 overs to qualify. The fit-again Chris Lynn loomed as the key. He belted two early sixes to lift the hopes of the home fans, but was brilliantly caught at extra cover by a diving Harris for 21 from 13. Sam Heazlett (three) and Brendon McCullum (five) both then fell in quick succession, and a Heat win looked a very remote chance, especially with axed Test opener Matt Renshaw - making his BBL debut - coming in at No.5. Renshaw fell for 22 from 19, well caught by Cooper.

Ben Cutting hit three straight sixes off Kane Richardson, but he was removed for 35 by Dwayne Bravo, while a diving one-handed catch from Jon Holland to get rid of Alex Ross typified a stunning night in the field from the Renegades, who ultimately won by 26 runs.

They will lose paceman Richardson - who has been crucial to their late-season resurgence - to international duties, but Cameron White is set to return from his international stint to captain the side in the finals.

The Strikers, on the contrary, will lose gun spinner Rashid Khan, in-form wicketkeeper/batsman Alex Carey and fast bowler Billy Stanlake.

The Renegades' strong finish to the regular season has also made things even tougher for dropped veteran Brad Hogg, who is uncontracted beyond this season.

This story Melbourne Renegades surge into Big Bash finals first appeared on The Age.