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Finch hits form as Renegades down Thunder

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Jason Phelan

If Australia's ODI selectors needed reassurance embattled opener Aaron Finch isn't far off making some runs he gave it to them with a man-of-the-match performance in the Melbourne Renegades' big BBL win over the Sydney Thunder.

Finch found his groove with a swashbuckling half-century as the Renegades cruised to a 48-run win over the Thunder on Thursday night.

The 30-year-old, who admitted his place in the Australian limited-overs side was under pressure after a lean run, belted 63 runs off 37 balls, his knock including three fours and four sixes.

Finch smashed successive sixes off the first two balls of Fawad Ahmed's third over but was caught on the rope as he tried for three in a row.

But by then, he'd successfully set the tone for the Renegades, and possibly eased selectors' concerns over his lack of production in recent series against South Africa and New Zealand.

"It's tough to say ... no doubt my spot is under pressure," Finch replied when asked if the innings could be a turning point.

"I haven't scored as many runs as I would like lately - but I'm still hopeful of retaining my spot and playing well.

"I was striking them nicely."

The win snapped a run of five successive losses by the Renegades at Etihad Stadium and kept the Thunder winless after the first two games of their BBL title defence.

After losing the toss, the Renegades made 7-179 from their 20 overs, with the Thunder all out for 131 in the 20th over.

South Australian Callum Ferguson was next top scorer for the Renegades with 38 from 32 balls, with Dwayne Bravo putting in a cameo of 24 runs from 16 balls.

Andre Russell, who also affected a run-out, was the leading wicket taker for the Thunder but was expensive with figures of 2-42.

The Thunder's run chase began disastrously when Kurtis Patterson spooned the first ball of the innings from Tom Cooper to point where Chris Tremain took the easiest of catches.

And when Eoin Morgan fell for two in the second over, caught by Marcus Harris off Tremain's bowling, the Thunder were on the ropes.

Ben Rohrer and Ryan Gibson came together to steady the ship with a 70-run partnership but boundaries were few and far between as the required run rate ballooned.

Evergreen spinner Brad Hogg was given a hero's welcome by the 23,015-strong crowd when he came on for his first spell since crossing from the Perth Scorchers.

He claimed his first wicket for the Renegades in his third over when Gibson, who top scored with 39 off 37, skied a return catch off a cheeky bouncer.

And when the 45-year-old bowled Rohrer for 32 just four balls later, his cult hero status was confirmed.

Hogg finished with 2-22 from four overs, with fellow Renegades debutant Sunil Narine snaring 2-32 and Bravo claiming 2-28 in an attack missing injured seamers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle.

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