The Melbourne Renegades have returned to winning ways with a 48-run victory over the Adelaide Strikers on Wednesday evening at Etihad Stadium.
Coming off their first loss of the season to the Perth Scorchers, the Renegades bounced back in a big way, bowling the Strikers out for 107 with 10 balls to spare as they effortlessly defended a total of 6-155.
Despite heading into the match under an injury cloud with a groin problem picked up during the loss in Perth, Muttiah Muralitharan shone for the Renegades, claiming 3-18 from his four overs as he tore through the Strikers' middle order.
However, Adelaide coach Darren Berry will be asking some hard questions of Nathan Reardon (four), Kieron Pollard (0) and Theo Doropoulos (0), who all treated Muralitharan with scant respect and subsequently lost their wickets to the Sri Lankan veteran.
Having been reduced to 3-40 after Michael Klinger (24), Tim Ludeman (six) and Callum Ferguson (six) had been sent back to the sheds, the Strikers needed to stabilise their chase and build a solid partnership.
Instead, Reardon opted to race down the pitch, only to misjudge Muralitharan's doosra as he was clean bowled.
Pollard and Doropoulos also opted to defend against Muralitharan with their pads, but with the pitch offering little bounce, that move was always going to be virtual suicide as the spinner trapped them in front with consecutive balls as the Strikers lost six wickets for just 34 runs.
Neser (29) fended away Muralitharan's hat-trick ball before helping Johan Botha (31) add some respectability to the scoreline, but the Adelaide side were never really in the hunt as the Renegades completed their fifth win of the series to climb into top spot on the Big Bash League table once again.
Tom Cooper can also hold his head high for the Renegades as he posted a composed 59 off 46 deliveries to help his side post a defendable total after they were reduced to 3-51 in the eighth over when skipper Aaron Finch holed out for 13.Ben Rohrer also scored 35 before falling to a blinder of a catch from Pollard, with Rohrer and Cooper's 46-run partnership off 41 balls helping the Renegades get back on track after the loss of their early wickets.