Stars claim Melbourne derby in final over


Even after the loss of their captain, the Stars were still on track at 3-111 in the 15th over but the crafty Beau Webster – varying from mediums to off-spin in the same over – applied the clamps. Nick Larkin (43 from 32) then picked out Mackenzie Harvey at point, handing Richardson his second wicket. The Stars needed 25 from the last three overs but Nic Maddinson and Hilton Cartwright steered them home, a six from Maddinson off Imad Wasim sealing the deal with five balls and six wickets to spare.

The Stars could have risen to second, but had to be content with three of the four points on offer on the night. Larkin needed to take four from the final ball of the 10th over for his side to gain the Bash Boost point but was kept to a single by Imad.

Having batted first, the Renegades threatened to post an imposing total but true to form didn’t miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The cellar-dwellers had built a strong platform at 1-78 in the 10th over only for veteran to Shaun Marsh to miscue a pull and fall to Billy Stanlake for 24. Youngster Harvey was then poised to explode after racing to 29 from 16 balls but was bowled attempting to cut. That was the start of the rot, as the Renegades lost 7-30 in five overs, not even managing to bat out their 20 overs to be skittled for 150. That was despite Sam Harper’s anchoring knock of 63 from 52 balls.

Finch’s duck: The Renegades skipper is bowled by by Stars counterpart Glenn Maxwell.Credit:Getty Images

CAPTAIN KNOCKED
This hasn’t been Aaron Finch’s tournament, and so it continued on Sunday night. Having won the bat flip, Finch returned to the top of the order after a brief trial away from his usual opener’s slot. But his stay in the middle lasted all of two balls. The gentle offies of his long-time mate Maxwell caused Finch’s eyes to light up as he looked to heave the Stars captain through mid-wicket. Instead the ball collected Finch’s off stump, leaving him to trudge off for a duck.

BACK DOWN TO EARTH
After a brilliant knock against the Adelaide Strikers two nights earlier, the Stars’ West Indian opener Fletcher found the going much tougher on Sunday night. Collected by a Richardson bouncer, Fletcher was in clear discomfort and needed medical assistance. He kept batting but fell shortly after, caught at cover off the bowling of Will Sutherland for an 11-ball seven. Sitting on the bench after his innings, Fletcher appeared to be icing his wrist.

Demolition derby: Sam Harper of the Renegades and Stars bowler Liam Hatcher collide between the wickets.

Demolition derby: Sam Harper of the Renegades and Stars bowler Liam Hatcher collide between the wickets.Credit:Getty Images

EYES ON THE PRIZE
In scenes more reminiscent of ‘G action in July than January, Harper collided with Stars paceman Hatcher after the Renegades gloveman looked to ramp one through the leg-side. Thankfully he dusted himself off and kept going, as did Hatcher.

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Dustin Higgs: Final execution of Trump presidency is carried out



The execution of Dustin Higgs, 48, is the 13th federal death sentence carried out since July.

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Santos 3-0 Boca Juniors: Santos beat Boca Juniors to reach Copa Libertadores final



Watch highlights as Brazilian side Santos beat Boca Juniors 3-0 to progress to the final of the Copa Libertadores were they will meet Palmeiras.

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Match tailor-made for Lyon to spin Australia to victory on final day


Lyon has had to take a back seat this summer with Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood claiming the lion’s share of spoils with the ball, but the situation is tailor-made for a spinner to cash in.

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“I thought he bowled really well in the first innings without luck,” coach Justin Langer said on Sunday night. “He might get a bit more luck in the second dig. I’d be surprised if Nathan doesn’t play a big part tomorrow.”

India’s assignment is momentous. The highest successful fourth-innings total at the SCG was 288 by Australia in 2006 when Ricky Ponting scored the second of twin tons.

The tourists began confidently, with Shubman Gill, one of the finds of their tour, forming another productive opening partnership with the more decorated Rohit Sharma. The pair put on 71 runs in 22 overs on Sunday afternoon until the re-introduction of Hazlewood 45 minutes from stumps delivered immediate dividends, with Gill marched for 31 when Hot Spot confirmed an edge to Tim Paine.

Not to be outdone, Cummins also chimed in with another key breakthrough, removing an attacking Rohit for 52, caught at fine-leg by Mitchell Starc.

The fourth day of the match had begun with a familiar sight — batting kindred spirits Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne treating the oval as their own personal playground.

They batted with the dual purpose of widening the Australian lead and increasing the wear and tear of a tiring Indian attack missing Jadeja, hurt the previous day by a ball from Starc.

There was also the opportunity for individual gain for the pair, with Labuschagne out to go all the way after falling nine runs short of a hundred in the first innings and Smith’s sights on back-to-back tons after his 131 on Friday.

In the end, the personal milestones eluded both. Labuschagne was given a life on 47 when Hanuma Vihari dropped a stone-cold sitter at square leg but ran out of luck on 73 when he gloved Jasprit Bumrah down the leg side and was caught by stand-in wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

Smith fell for the third time in the series to Ravi Ashwin, trapped lbw for 81. The former captain was given not out on the field by umpire Paul Reiffel when rapped on the pad trying to prod a ball from Ashwin to the off side. But he left looking at the big screen and shaking his head as, on review, the ball-tracker found the delivery was just hitting in line with leg stump, forcing the decision to be overturned.

Green, too, for just a moment appeared as if he might bludgeon his way to a maiden Test century, belting Shiraj back over his head for two sixes and smacking an exasperated Bumrah to the second tier of the stands with another.

The all-rounder was held up as umpires, ground officials and police acted on India’s report of abuse from the crowd, but ultimately got stopped short of a ton when he attempted another heave off Bumrah but clipped the ball with the bottom of his bat and was caught behind by Saha.

With the Green show over, captain Tim Paine (39 not out) promptly declared Australia’s second innings at 6-312 at tea, giving his team five sessions to bowl out India.

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Donald Trump’s Final Days – WSJ


An image of President Donald Trump appears on video screens before his speech to supporters from the Ellipse at the White House on Jan. 6.



Photo:

Bill Clark/Zuma Press

The lodestar of these columns is the U.S. Constitution. The document is the durable foundation protecting liberty, and this week it showed its virtue again. Despite being displaced for a time by a mob, Congress returned the same day to ratify the Electoral College vote and

Joe Biden’s

election. Congratulations to the President-elect, who will be inaugurated as the Constitution stipulates at noon on Jan. 20.

***

That still leaves Wednesday’s disgrace and what to do about the 13 days left in

Donald Trump’s

presidential term. Democratic leaders

Chuck Schumer

and

Nancy Pelosi

are demanding that Mr. Trump be removed from office immediately—either by the Cabinet under the 25th Amendment or new articles of impeachment. There’s partisan animus at work here, but Mr. Trump’s actions on Wednesday do raise constitutional questions that aren’t casually dismissed.

In concise summary, on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch. The express goal was to demand that Congress and Vice President

Mike Pence

reject electors from enough states to deny Mr. Biden an Electoral College victory. When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off. When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint.

This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States. This goes beyond merely refusing to concede defeat. In our view it crosses a constitutional line that Mr. Trump hasn’t previously crossed. It is impeachable.

Mr. Trump’s many opponents are crowing in satisfaction that their predictions have been proven right, that he was never fit to be President and should have been impeached long ago. But Mr. Trump’s character flaws were apparent for all to see when he ran for President.

Sixty-three million Americans voted to elect Mr. Trump in 2016, and that constitutional process shouldn’t be easily overruled as Democrats and the press have demanded from nearly his first day in office. You don’t impeach for anticipatory offenses or for those that don’t rise to the level of constitutional violations. This week’s actions are a far greater dereliction of duty than his ham-handed Ukrainian interventions in 2019.

***

The related but separate question is whether impeachment or forced removal under the 25th Amendment now is in the country’s best interests. The latter seems unwise unless Mr. Trump threatens some other reckless or unconstitutional act. After Wednesday he has promised to assist an “orderly transition” of power. A Cabinet cabal ousting him would smack of a Beltway coup and give Mr. Trump more cause to play the political victim.

Impeachment has the virtue of being transparent and politically accountable. If there were enough votes to convict in the Senate, it would also seem less partisan. The best case for impeachment is not to punish Mr. Trump. It is to send a message to future Presidents that Congress will protect itself from populists of all ideological stripes willing to stir up a mob and threaten the Capitol or its Members.

But impeachment so late in the term won’t be easy or without rancor. It would further enrage Mr. Trump’s supporters in a way that won’t help Mr. Biden govern, much less heal partisan divisions. It would pour political fuel on Wednesday’s dying embers.

All the more so because Democrats aren’t likely to behave responsibly or with restraint. They are already stumping for impeachment articles that include a litany of anti-Trump grievances over four years. Mrs. Pelosi’s ultimatum Thursday that Mr. Pence trigger the 25th Amendment or she’ll impeach also won’t attract GOP votes.

Democrats would have more impeachment credibility now if they hadn’t abused the process in 2019. A parade of impeachers that includes Russian-collusion promoters Reps.

Adam Schiff

and

Jerrold Nadler

would repel more Americans than it would persuade. The mission would look like political revenge, not constitutional enforcement—and Mr. Trump would play it as such until his last breath. Mr. Biden could gain much goodwill if he called off the impeachers in the name of stepping back from annihilationist politics.

***

If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign. This would be the cleanest solution since it would immediately turn presidential duties over to Mr. Pence. And it would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate.

This might also stem the flood of White House and Cabinet resignations that are understandable as acts of conscience but could leave the government dangerously unmanned.

Robert O’Brien,

the national security adviser, in particular should stay at his post.

We know an act of grace by Mr. Trump isn’t likely. In any case this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure. He has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate. Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it. He has refused to accept the basic bargain of democracy, which is to accept the result, win or lose.

It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.

Potomac Watch: A politician has to work hard to destroy a legacy and a future in a single day. President Donald J. Trump managed it. Image: John Minchillo/Associated Press

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the January 8, 2021, print edition.

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Retiring Chief Deputy in Olympia, Washington, Gives Emotional Final Sign-off After 38 Years of Service



Chief Deputy Dave Pearsall with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office in Olympia, Washington, broke down in tears giving his final sign-off as he retired on December 31. Pearsall, who began his career with the sheriff’s office in 1982, made an emotional final radio transmission to dispatch from his patrol car, video shows. In the video, Pearsall said: “I’ll be out of service. End of watch. It’s been a great ride.” Credit: Thurston County Sheriff’s Office via Storyful

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Trump’s final days are even weirder than Nixon’s


Trump’s final days are even weirder, though we might be grateful that he hasn’t found solace in whisky. Angry, depressed, and fascinatingly ambivalent about a loss that has vandalised his ego (yet relieved him of a duty that overwhelms him), Trump has golfed excessively and found counsel in mad sycophants happy to uphold his dangerous and unfounded vision of a stolen election. And all this during a historic pandemic that has ravaged no country as badly as his.

The President playing golf (again).Credit:The Palm Beach Post

Then, on Christmas morning, a suicide bomber parked his RV outside a telco’s headquarters in downtown Nashville, blared an evacuation alert and a ’60s pop song, then blew up a city block.

Trump still hasn’t acknowledged it. Not personally. He’s since tweeted prolifically about the “fraudulent” election result, retweeted bizarre praise of himself, and complained about fashion magazines overlooking his wife. But nothing about the bombing. Perhaps you can forgive this as trivial or benign eccentricity, but I think it’s superfluous evidence of a disturbed man and we should all be thankful that Trump resisted the urge to appoint Kid Rock to his cabinet.

As recently as July last year, John Howard was still equivocating about his endorsement of this same man. “I’m very ambivalent,” he told Sky News about who to back in the Presidential election.

In Howard’s defence, Joe Biden is roughly the same age as stringed instruments and resembles the ghost of a large stag beetle, but I’m genuinely confused about Howard’s conservatism if, compared with Sleepy Joe, he prefers an incipient fascist, protectionist, draft-dodging critic of the Iraq War who has extravagantly pursued deficit spending, adored Putin, encouraged skinheads and whom 26 women have accused of sexual misconduct. Now — and I’m just spitballing here, folks — but perhaps Howard’s retirement shtick of sage detachment is a fig-leaf for a partisanship so irrationally passionate that it can be sustained even when the American avatar of “his side” is deranged and anarchic.

Illustration: Simon Bosch

Illustration: Simon BoschCredit:

Back home, we congratulated Western Australia, which, through the aggressive management of its border, finally achieved its dream of secession. If you have never seen a quokka in the flesh, I regret to inform you that your ship has now sailed.

Elsewhere, our Prime Minister was unusually acquiescent in the culture wars, conceding that our national anthem’s “young and free” lyric painfully ignored the tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history. Well, okay. But there’s replacing one word of the anthem, and there’s, say, adopting the Uluru Statement.

Speaking of lyrics, indie-rock star and amateur virologist Ziggy Alberts released some curious disquisitions on Bill Gates and vaccinations, while professional conspiracy theorist and meat enthusiast Pete Evans finally cancelled himself after indulging in some neo-Nazi symbolism. More broadly, one of the year’s great themes was how swiftly the University of Facebook could graduate one’s formless bigotries into elaborate, anti-Semitic theories that Democrats are addicted to children’s blood.

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It wasn’t a great year for federal Labor or its leader, and in this newspaper, Eddie McGuire was suggested as a creative solution to the party’s funk of identity and confidence. Personally, I don’t think this is sufficiently ambitious. Ossie Ostrich might be flightless, but is unquestionably a bird of the people, good with a quip, if of uncertain constitutional eligibility. Alternatively, a lump of coal would badly wedge the government.

Yes, it was quite the year. But rest easy. If I’m understanding the myriad commentators who celebrated the back of 2020, then the most effective treatment of this virus is not vaccines, but simply a new calendar year, so it should be only a few days now before the virus hastily retreats and we can all enjoy the re-flowering of normality.

Similarly, in this Good Year of our Lord 2021, the planet will soon reverse its warming, China will relax its authoritarianism and creepy dominion, and we can be certain that Trump’s influence will perfectly cease upon Biden’s inauguration.

Thank God 2020’s over.

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ASX slips in final session but ends the year flat


The All Ordinaries closed for the year 1.3 per cent, or 92.3 points weaker at 6850.60.

Market analysts expect investors to switch back to a buying mood in the new year. Jessica Amir, market analyst at Bell Direct, expects the banking and financial sector, in particular, to recover strongly led by banks that will be driven by record-high mortgage applications.

“The down breath stocks of 2020 are likely to see a continued buying, this has been taking place of late and the impetus for this will continue in 2021, as the economy expands and we get vaccinations going into circulation overseas.”

Miss Amir added mining stocks – partcularly iron ore, copper and nickel – were also set to rally as the world recovers and China’s demand for Australian exports grows.

Meanwhile, the “stay at home economy” would continue to lift stocks such as online retailer Kogan after periods of lockdown forced more people to adopt online shopping. “If everything continues, it should be a cracking 2021,” Miss Amir said, with the ASX likely to rally 8 to 10 per cent over the year.

David Bassanese, chief economist at BetaShares, also said the ASX was placed to do well in 2021. “The combination of vaccines being made available by mid-year and central banks looking likely to keep interest rates on hold for several years, which is the big difference from coming out of typical recessions, all of that bodes well for the market.”

“Investors will be probably looking to take on risk and for those that haven’t already invested in the market, looking to get exposure,” Mr Bassanese said.

“Overall, the market is pretty well placed to do well, the earnings outlook is pretty upbeat and valuations, given where interest rates are, are not that outrageous.”

Overnight, Wall Street nudged higher and the US dollar dipped to its lowest in more than two years. All three major US stock indexes were up modestly as recently enacted stimulus and the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines fed optimism over economic recovery in 2021.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent, or about 74 points, to post a near-record close of 30,409.56. The S&P 500 gained 5 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 3732.04 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.78 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 12,870.

“2021 is going to be the beginning of it,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. “My anticipation will probably be more robust in the latter part of 2021.”

“Once there’s the sense of an all-clear sign, we would anticipate a robust response from the consumer,” Mr Keator added.

For now, he suggests the markets are in wait-and-see mode.

“The markets are saying ‘what have you done for me lately?’ and people are going to be focusing on what’s going to happen if we see more and more restrictions due to the pandemic,” he said.

Britain approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca in the latest development in the rapid progression, testing, approval and deployment of drugs to battle the disease.

Meanwhile, European stocks reversed gains to end a five-day winning streak, closing lower as investors locked in year-end gains.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.34 per cent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.33 per cent.

Crude oil prices inched higher on the back of the weaker dollar and a dip in US inventories, but gains were capped by dimming hopes of a demand rebound.

US crude futures gained 0.83 per cent to settle at $US48.40 per barrel and Brent settled at $US51.34 per barrel, up 0.49 per cent on the day.

Gold prices rose, countering a dip in the greenback, although global COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and increased risk appetite limited the safe-haven metal’s gains.

Spot gold added 0.6 per cent to $US1,888.28 an ounce.

With Reuters

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England in Sri Lanka: Joe Root targets World Test Championship final


England’s tour of Sri Lanka was scheduled to take place in March 2020 but was halted during the warm-up games because of the coronavirus pandemic

England captain Joe Root says his side must “play out of our skin” to reach the World Test Championship final.

Their two Tests in Sri Lanka and four in India between January and March are England’s last chance to earn points.

“We’ll do everything we can to get there,” said Root.

“We’ve just got to try and win as many of the next six Tests as possible and see where we are at the end of that. It’s definitely something that we talk about.

“We know we’re not best seated at the moment and with the points structure as it is now, and us playing more Test cricket than anyone else, we’ve almost got to play out of our skin to get into that final.”

The concept, first approved by the International Cricket Council in 2010, started in 2019 and sees the nine main Test sides earn points for a win and draw with the top two ultimately reaching the final.

The points system has been altered for this edition, with around 15% of the games due to be incomplete when the tournament ends because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning positions will now be calculated by the percentage of points earned in completed matches.

New Zealand will overtake India to go second if they beat Pakistan in their second Test next week, but Virat Kohli’s side have six Tests left to play and remain favourites to reach the final, alongside Australia.

ICC World Test Championship standings showing Australia, India, New Zealand, England, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh
The scores show the side’s PCT, which is points earned v points available

Positive case would not automatically end tour

England’s last overseas tour ended prematurely with their white-ball side leaving South Africa in December after the bio-secure bubble at their Cape Town hotel was breached.

Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand and Sri Lanka’s of South Africa have since both continued despite positive cases.

Root, who turned 30 on Wednesday, says he does not expect their tour of Sri Lanka to be cancelled by one or two isolated cases of coronavirus.

“I don’t think it would automatically mean the end of the tour,” said Root.

“Those decisions will have to be made by the medical staff and the people entrusted in making those decisions – I don’t think that’s a player decision.

“We have to put trust and faith in those people.”

All members of England’s tour party tested negative before their departure from London on Saturday morning.

England’s decision to leave the South Africa tour was criticised by some, including former captain Nasser Hussainexternal-link, but Root said it felt like “there was no way out”.

“I think the anxiety of that building up over a period of time was significant and the guys didn’t feel safe,” said Root, who became Test captain in 2017.

After that series the England and Wales Cricket Board director of cricket Ashley Giles said more attention would be paid to players’ mental wellbeing and they would be offered screenings before future tours.

“There will be a little bit of extra support there for the players, in terms of psychologists on the ground at all times, making sure there’s somebody to talk to,” explained Root, who is expected to play his 100th Test during the tour of India.

“Everyone is very aware that if, at some stage, it becomes too much then they are entitled to get out.”

‘Rotation will be a really big part’

After the six Tests in Sri Lanka and India, England play five Twenty20s and three one-day internationals in India before a summer which includes home series against both opponents and Pakistan.

The T20 World Cup in India follows in October and November, before the start of the Ashes in Australia at the back end of 2021 going into 2022, and Root says rotation and rest will be an “integral part” of managing the next phase of fixtures.

“It is unrealistic for people to get through the whole winter, from start to finish,” he said. “Everyone is aware of that.

“We are going to have to be quite flexible and adaptable with that, in terms of selection, but that’s going to create good opportunities for people to stand up and stake a claim.

“It’s another way that we can develop as a squad and as a team.”

The last time England toured Sri Lanka they won a three-Test series 3-0 but Root expects this series to be “slightly different”.

“To win 3-0 last time round was a brilliant achievement,” he said.

“It would be a bit naïve to go in and expect the same. We’ve got to be smart and see what is there in front of us, and we’ve got to play to our strengths as a group.

“We’re very confident that we can get two brilliant wins, but also we’re very mindful of the talents and challenges that Sri Lanka will throw at us.”



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Sixers claim another final over win to continue Renegades losing streak


“It’s good to finish off on this note,” he said. “I’m heading off to the Caribbean . . . I’ve thoroughly enjoyed BBL cricket and hopefully I’ll be back in the future.

“I’m just sorry it’s only been three games.”

On Saturday night, the Sixers beat the Melbourne Stars in a similar nail-biting fashion by chasing a target of 194 with just a ball and a wicket to spare.

After Saturday night’s gamein which the Renegades were rolled by the Thunder for just 80, the pressure was on for Melbourne’s experienced opening batsmen Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch to create a solid foundation.

But it became evident towards the end of the match how truly desperate Finch was when he accidentally broadcast the F-bomb twice via his player’s mic.

The pair put on 75 runs in steady fashion without a six until the 11th over.

Finch shook his head as he was dismissed by Dan Christian for 39 before Marsh was sent to sheds for 67. Sam Harper was dismissed for 18 as Ben Manenti showed off his best before the wickets started coming thick and fast.

Sixers fan favourite Dan Christian managed to dismiss Rilee Rossouw for 3 with an lbw before Mohammad Nabi was sent walking for 18.

Coming off the back of two of the biggest losses in BBL history this month, the Renegades were desperate to secure their second win of the season.Credit:Getty

An early scare came for the Sixers with the Renegades appealing a near LBW for Josh Philippe off the first delivery of the innings.

The lifeline ignited Philippe and Jack Edwards to form a strong partnership, putting a half-century between them before Philippe managed to hit a stellar five fours in a row.

Peter Hatzoglou took the wicket of Edwards after 21 runs before a failed catch from Kane Richardson gave Philippe his second lucky break of the night.

Finally, Imad was able to push the Renegades back into the game by claiming the huge wicket of Philippe to dismissed the youngster for 48 ahead of the drinks break.

The Renegades were eager to capitalise on the opportunity and dismissed Daniel Hughes for 2. It was a far cry from Hughes’ captain’s knock last week when he hit 96 off 50 balls.

But Holder managed to steer the ship to the very end to sign off from his time with the club in fashion.

“The positive thing was I kept my wicket intact…so I could give myself a chance,” he said.

“I tried to stay calm at the very end…it was my day today, it was good to get another win.”

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