England opener Alex Hales finished the Sydney Sixers' Big Bash League title defence in stunning style as the table topping Melbourne Renegades sounded an gloomy warning ahead of the finals.
Alex Hales, signed as injured Jamaican Marlon Samuels' alternate on Tuesday, smashed 89 from 52 deliveried, hitting eight sixes to lift the Melbourne Renegades to a total of 5 for 178 and a 29 run win. The show came less than 12 hours after he completed the exacting journey from London to Sydney, but the 24-year-old showed no signs of jetlag in easy win.
After a sluggish start by the visitors, who opted to bat first, Alex Hales twisted the match on its head when he single handedly plundered 22 runs from Josh Hazlewood in the 5th over. Ales Hales take a particular liking to the spin of Steve O'Keefe (0 from 50 from 3 overs), smacking four sixes off one over with a punishing blow over long on that travelled 111m and landed on the roof of the Members' Pavilion.
Ben Rohrer made 57 runs, stand in Renegades skipper in the absence of Aaron Finch shared a 112 runs partnership with Hales and was in awe of the young gun who was in India three weeks ago with England's national T20 side. Alex Hales' knock was the 2nd best of the tournament, with Aaron Finch's unbeaten 111 in the season opener the only improved effort.
The first difficulty always looked insurmountable, and so it proved as the Melbourne Renegades made it seven wins off its eight matches and rolled the Sydney Sixers for 149 runs with the final ball of the match. O'Keefe, top scored for the Sydney Sixers with 41 runs, exacted a small degree of revenge with the bat when he pulled a short ball to Hales in the deep that the Englishman lost in the lights.