Melbourne has claimed the first piece of silverware for the 2012-13 season after defeating St Kilda by seven runs during a thrilling Victorian Premier Cricket Twenty20 final at the Albert Ground yesterday.
Defending 144 after winning the toss and electing to bat, Brenton McDonald proved the hero for the Demons as he hammered an unbeaten 49 before helping restrict the Saints with 1-21 from his four overs.
Both sides were bolstered with the presence of a number of their KFC T20 Big Bash League representatives with the Demons including Renegades batsman Michael Hill and Stars all-rounder Alex Keath, while the Saints featured Renegades leggie James Muirhead, along with the Stars’ Rob Quiney and Peter Handscomb.
Melbourne’s innings got off to a flyer thanks to a fluent 10-ball cameo from opener Matthew Brown, who clubbed two sixes and a four before being dismissed for 18.
Muirhead had Keath caught behind for six, bringing Hill to the crease, who combined with McDonald for a 61-run partnership before he was dismissed for a run-a-ball 36 that included two sixes and a four.
McDonald fell just one short of his half century, remaining 49 not out at the close of innings, hitting four boundaries and a solitary six from just 36 deliveries to guide Melbourne to the competitive total of 6-144.
Muirhead was the pick of the bowlers for the Saints, taking 2-24 from his four overs, with Dan Mueller (2-28), Lachie Graf (1-29) and Daniel Forbes (1-23) all contributing.
The Saints’ chase got off to a flying start, thanks mainly to Andrew McGuiness, who smashed three huge sixes, with one almost boarding a St Kilda Road tram.
When Handscomb was run out brilliantly by Will Ryan for five, the Demons sensed they had won a crucial battle within the game.
Handscomb’s departure offered little respite, with Quiney, fresh off making his Test debut, joining McGuiness in the middle before the opener was caught behind off the bowling of Sean Sturrock for 31 from 21 deliveries.
A 57-run stand between Quiney and former South Australian batsman Tom Moffat began to turn the match in the Saints’ favour, but when Keath removed his Stars teammate for 48, the game’s momentum changed hands again.
Needing 32 from the final 18 balls, the Saints took 16 from Jack Paynter’s second over, reducing the target to 12 from the last over for victory.
Patrick Smith was handed the responsibilities for Melbourne, holding his nerve down the stretch, as the Saints lost 3-5 to hand the Demons victory.
In the Second XI, Geelong strangled St Kilda to claim victory at the Junction Oval, restricting the Saints to just 9-94 from their 20 overs before reaching the target two down in the 18th over.
Cats skipper Andre Borovec was named man-of-the-match, making 35 not out and taking two catches and two stumpings.
In the Third XI, Melbourne was too good for the Saints again, defending its meagre total of 7-119 at the Albert Ground after bowling the Saints out for just 97.
Darcy Daly’s 32 and 3-17 from his 3.2 provided him with the man-of-the-match award.
In the Fourth XI, Camberwell Magpies were victorious over Geelong.
Bowled out in the final over for 134, the Magpies were able to restrict Geelong to 9-112 from its 20 overs to grab the flag.