Hobart Hurricanes opener Ben McDermott has become the first player in BBL history to crack successive centuries, firing his side to a comprehensive 85-run win over Melbourne Renegades.
The powerful right-hander clattered nine sixes and as many fours in a stunning knock of 127 from 65 balls at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was the third-highest individual score in the T20 competition, behind Melbourne Stars’ Marcus Stoinis (147 not out) and Hurricanes teammate Matthew Wade (130 not out).
McDermott’s explosive display was lauded by former Australian limited-overs star Andrew Symonds as “the best Big Bash innings ever played” during the Fox Sports broadcast.
It came to an anticlimactic end when he was run out by Sam Harper on the final ball of Hobart’s 20 overs.
“I keep backing in my skills and the way that I want to play, that aggressive style and getting after bowlers,” McDermott said.
“I’m just trying to hit the ball out of the middle of the bat basically. It’s not rocket science.
“It’s coming off at the moment, but I know that can change pretty quickly because that’s the way cricket is.
“I’m just happy to be contributing to the team winning.
“It’s awesome to get hundreds but it’s even better when you’re winning.”
At the halfway point of their innings, the Hurricanes were ticking along slowly at 3-66, with McDermott unbeaten on 39 off 31 balls.
But the 27-year-old got going during the power surge as he and Peter Handscomb (24 off 20) took 44 runs off Zahir Khan (19) and Kane Richardson (25), who finished with 0-63 from four overs on return from illness.
Tim David (30 not out) came to the party late with four huge sixes in a nine-ball cameo as the Hurricanes belted the most runs ever recorded in the back half of a BBL innings (150) for a total of 5-206.
In response, Renegades opener Harper whacked the first ball of their run chase for six and made a gritty 57 off 35.
But the hosts were never seriously in the hunt, bowled out for 121 in 15.5 overs.
Tom Rogers (3-24) and Sandeep Lamichhane (3-32) both took multiple wickets for the Hurricanes.
McDermott is the first player to hit three BBL centuries, with two of those against the team that delisted him at the end of 2016.
Promoted to the top of the order on Christmas Eve, McDermott now has 304 runs in three innings as an opener at a strike rate of 180.95.
He clubbed 67 off 43 against the Stars and followed it up with an unbeaten 110 off 60 against the Strikers on Monday.
The three monster efforts have led to a hat-trick of wins and put the Hurricanes (4-3) firmly back in the title hunt after a scratchy start to the season.
The Renegades (1-5) are staring down the barrel of a third consecutive wooden spoon after five consecutive losses.