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Melbourne Renegades crowned champions while Stars disintegrate

The Melbourne Renegades have pulled off the most thrilling yet unlikely victory in the history of T20 cricket to be crowned BBL 08 Champions!

The Stars were cruising at 0-93 before suffering a collapse of biblical proportions, losing 7 wickets for 19 runs.

A stunned crowd of 40,816 packed into Marvel Stadium to watch the final, and they witnessed a team disintegrate  and slump to a shock loss.

It is the first BBL championship for the Renegades, and the first time the trophy has ever been awarded to a team from Melbourne.

The Stars won the bat-flip and elected to field and it was Jackson Bird who struck early, claiming the wickets of Marcus Harris and Sam Harper.

At 2-25, the Renegades were in trouble before Jackson Bird struck again in freaky fashion after the ball ricocheted off his foot and ran out Aaron Finch at the non-strikers end. 3-47.

It was Adam Zampa’s turn to strike and strike he did, claiming Cameron White for 12 and Mackenzie Harvey for 14 and leaving the Renegades in a perilous position at 5-65.

The Renegades desperately needed their batsmen to stand up, and it was Tom Cooper and Dan Christian who steadied the ship and put on a partnership of 80 runs from 58 balls to bring the total to 5-145 at the end of the innings.

The Renegades’ total never felt like enough, not against a Stars outfit flush with big hitters like Marcus Stoinis, Ben Dunk, and Glenn Maxwell.

Stoinis and Dunk got the Stars off to a flyer with a steady and productive opening partnership of 93 runs.

They were cruising and making it look easy, seemingly unfazed by the pressure of the grand final. The crowd was subdued, clearly finding the lack of drama hard to fire up for. It was in stark contrast to the Renegades innings, who were under the pump and on the back foot.

Despite boasting a strike force including Kane Richardson, the leading wicket taker for the series, The Renegades seemed flat in attack, unable to rattle Stoinis and Dunk.

But those who thought the Stars had this in the bag were in for a rude awakening, and the Renegades broke through with weapons-grade drama.

Cameron Boyce beat Stoinis with flight and clean bowled him for 39. 1-93.

Pete Handscomb comes to the crease with the courage but also the grace of a bull. He danced down the pitch on his second ball and mistimed it badly, skying an easy catch to Dan Christian off the bowling of Chris Tremain to head back to the sheds for a duck. 2 for 98.

Ben Dunk was next to tumble after mistiming one from Cameron Boyce and sending it into Dan Christian’s safe hands. 3-99.

Glenn Maxwell faced up to Chris Tremain and was too eager and too careless, playing a bad shot and an easy catch to deep square. Maxwell out for 1. 4-99.

Nic Maddinson failed to pick Harry Gurney’s slower ball and was caught by Aaron Finch at short fine leg. 5-108.

First ball of the following over, Seb Gotch misjudged the length of the boundary and picked out Mackenzie Harvey at deep midwicket off the bowling of Dan Christian. 6-108.

Dwayne Bravo spent just three balls at the crease before getting a leading edge off a Dan Christian full toss, sending it sky high and into Cameron White’s hands at point. 7-112.

It was had to comprehend that a team who seemed in control and destined to win a maiden title could collapse so comprehensively. Pressure is a fascinating aspect of professional sport, and the Stars felt it acutely.

In fact, The Melbourne Stars lost 7 wickets for 19 runs off 30 deliveries. They were 0-93 after 12 overs before a full-scale capitulation saw them crash to 7-112.

The Stars required 28 runs from the final over, an impossible task for a team who had just imploded and in the end they fell 13 runs shy of a measly target.

In sport, kids are taught at a young age to never give up, to always keep fighting, to never surrender.

This is why.