It was chaos in Geelong, Michael Neser had no idea he'd claimed the first hat-trick of his career, and Andre Russell had 'no idea' as he was nearly added to it before leading a stunning fightback
Jack Paynter in Geelong
22 December 2022, 08:01 AM AEST
Michael Neser didn't know, his teammates weren't aware either and incoming batter Andre Russell had absolutely no idea such was the chaos unfolding around the Heat speedster's remarkable hat-trick in Geelong last night.
Russell had barely taken a seat in the dugout before he was walking out to bat at No.6 with Neser having become the eighth bowler in the history of the KFC BBL to take three wickets in three balls as he reduced the Renegades to 4-9 just 14 balls into their chase of 8-137.
It was a feat that Neser wasn't unaware of until informed ahead of an interview post match that he had in fact dismissed Jake Fraser-McGurk, Nic Maddinson and Jon Wells in consecutive deliveries across the end of his first over and the start of his second.
And he almost had a fourth in a row too as the 15th ball of the innings sailed between Russell's bat and the stumps and passed the outstretched glove of Jimmy Peirson on its way down to the fence for four byes.
"To be honest, I had no idea what was going on," Russell said of the first delivery he faced.
"I know that a wicket fell and Wells went in and I was just rushing to the dugout to have a seat.
"And then he left alone a ball on the stumps, I wasn't even ready, I stepped across the (boundary) line with two bats.
"I went out in a rush but on the way walking out I just tried to stay as calm as possible.
"The ball was nipping around, swinging around and I just decided that I'm going to be positive and get the pressure off my back and it worked for me tonight."
Neser was equally as bewildered about what had happened after he almost single-handedly lifted his side back into contest with 4-32 from his four overs following the Heat's underwhelming batting effort that was eventually hauled in by the Renegades in the last over.
"I didn't realise I took a wicket on the last ball of that over before, so it's kind of cool, the first hat-trick I've ever taken," the 32-year-old told cricket.com.au.
"I haven't even taken one in junior cricket.
"A lot was going on, the wicket was doing a bit, the ball was swinging so I was really just focused on bowling a good four-day length, that top of off length that we talk about."
But the right-armer – in his first game back for the Heat after being released from the Australia Test squad – barely had time to celebrate Wells shouldering arms to a delivery that cannoned into off stump before the Heat were picking the ball up off Moorabool Street opposite the stadium as Russell launched a stunning counter-attack that started with depositing the 18th ball of the innings onto the roof.
"He rolled the dice," Neser said.
"He took me on when the ball was going and it worked in his favour. I felt like any of those balls could have gone up but he hits the ball really hard and unfortunately for me they went the journey."
It was the Heat's second loss to the Renegades to start BBL|12 but Neser said it was a long competition and there was no need to panic just yet.
"We're still playing good cricket and we're contesting with ball and bat so I feel like we can string a couple of good games together no doubt," he said.
As for Russell, he has one appearance left for the Renegades in his whirlwind four-game BBL|12 stint, which will conclude in Hobart on Christmas Eve before he departs for the UAE's International League T20 competition.
After 57 off 42 balls with six sixes last night and 35 (off 28 with three sixes) along with three wickets, Russell has certainly lived up to his promise of "giving the Renegades a good start" to the season.
In fact, it's been the club's best start to a season since their BBL|02 campaign where they opened the tournament with four wins on the trot.
"It would be amazing to leave with four wins," Russell said.
"I think the guys have been playing some good cricket and positive as well. Our batters didn't come to the party tonight, but it happens.
"It's good that we got the W and that's what counts."
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