Aaron Finch was welcomed back with open arms and found some touch, but it was Dan Christian and Mohammad Nabi who were again the heroes as the Melbourne Renegades ended their three-game losing streak.
Christian and Nabi had blasted the Renegades home in Adelaide when they last tasted victory more than a fortnight ago, and the veteran all-rounders again delivered in the Renegades' six-wicket win over the previously unbeaten Hobart Hurricanes at Marvel Stadium on Monday night.
Hobart quick Riley Meredith was thrashed for consecutive sixes through the off-side by Christian (25 not out from 13 balls) in the penultimate over before Nabi (26 from 22) whacked James Faulkner over deep cover to secure victory with four balls to spare.
Back facing the white ball against which he has made his name, axed Test opener Finch started slowly but took off with consecutive fours off Jofra Archer in the fifth over.
Finch and Sam Harper put on 64 for the second wicket and even though Harper (32 from 18 balls) fell to a contentious lbw decision off the bowling of Clive Rose, Finch continued on his merry way, slog-sweeping Johan Botha over the deep mid-wicket boundary and into the second tier.
But Botha got his revenge the following over. Looking to scamper a quick single into the off-side from Roses bowling, Finch (42 from 39) was caught short from a direct hit which took Botha to the top of the list of the most run outs in BBL history. Tom Cooper then missed out again, and the prospect of another loss was staring the home side in the face.
The Renegades had earlier let the Hurricanes off the hook. Sent in by Finch, Hobart were in early strife as Kane Richardson struck twice in as many balls to remove Matthew Wade and Alex Doolan. DArcy Short was found out by an Usman Khan Shinwari short ball, lobbing a return catch to the Pakistani quick. The umpires finger stayed down but Short walked, leaving the Hurricanes 3-11. The hosts eyes turned to the jugular.
But Ben McDermott and George Bailey rebuilt the innings. The most critical moment when Shinwari dropped Bailey at short fine leg when the former Australian captain was on 17. It was a straightforward chance from the bowling of Nabi, and Bailey took advantage of the life.
Hobart still only had 65 runs on the board after 13 overs, but McDermott charged Dan Christian to start the 14th, and from there the innings complexion changed dramatically as the Hurricanes exploded late, plundering 80 from the final seven overs.
There hadnt been a six until the 15th over, but from there McDermott and Bailey cleared the rope twice each, while Simon Milenko also chimed in. McDermott fell to Jack Wildermuth for 50 from 43 balls, but Bailey kept going, finishing with 70 not out from 53 balls and ensuring the Renegades would need to post the biggest total at the venue this season in order to snap their losing streak.
Finch came into the XI at the expense of out-of-form veteran Cameron White, who for so long has been a bankable commodity in white-ball cricket. The long-time Victorian captain is out-of-contract at seasons end and faces an uphill battle to regain his spot, with Marcus Harris set to replace Finch at the top of the order now that the Test series is over.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.