Wicketkeeper Peter Nevill suffered a bizarre facial injury as his Melbourne Renegades downed the Adelaide Strikers by six runs in Monday night’s high-stakes BBL encounter.
Chasing 172 to win, the Strikers made 8-165 to slide to their fifth loss in seven games — they now cannot reach the finals.
Gloveman Nevill was helped from Adelaide Oval with a possible fractured cheekbone after being struck by a bat handle.
Nevill was standing well back from the stumps when Strikers captain Brad Hodge swung heartily at a leg-side ball — he connected with the ball but his bat slipped from his hands and flew towards Nevill.
The keeper was watching the path of the ball into the outfield when the handle of Hodge’s bat struck him in the right cheekbone.
Nevill was floored by the contact and then assisted from the field with noticeable facial swelling, before the Renegades closed out a victory to kept their finals hopes alive.
The Renegades must beat second-placed Brisbane Heat on Friday night in Brisbane and hope other results fall their way to reach the play-offs.
Aaron Finch’s side posted 9-171 against the Strikers at Adelaide Oval, a total underpinned by a superb knock by opener Marcus Harris, who blasted 85 from 53 balls.
Harris crunched six fours and four sixes in his knock with cameo support from Callum Ferguson (26) and Finch (19), who fell to a stunning outfield catch.
Finch was caught by Adelaide’s Ben Laughlin, who ran 25 metres with the flight of the ball before diving, full-stretch, to complete the dismissal.
Laughlin was also the pick of Adelaide’s bowlers, taking 2-15 from four miserly overs while Kieron Pollard claimed 3-30.
But Adelaide’s run chase faltered after openers Ben Dunk (32 from 25 balls) and Tim Ludeman (29 from 22 deliveries) were dismissed.
The Strikers were off the pace at 2-64 in the ninth over before Pollard (22) and Hodge (26) tried to steal momentum, only to fall short despite a late flurry from Jono Dean (21 from nine balls).
Nevill was taken to hospital for X-rays on a suspected fractured jaw, a Renegades spokesman said.
His teammate Ferguson said: “I have never seen anything like it. That was staggering.”
Adelaide’s Hodge said he had swapped to new batting gloves the ball prior to the incident.
“If you have brand new gloves they have got like this powdery feel to it and it [the bat] just slipped straight out of my hands,” Hodge said.
“I tried to grab it and hold onto it — if I had of just let it go it probably would have gone out to square leg, but I sort of just tugged it round and it him right in the side of the jaw.”
The clash featured the seventh-placed Renegades against the eighth-placed Strikers, with both sides needing to win to keep an outside chance of making the finals. The Renegades, in particular, were looking for a result following their record-breaking loss to the Hobart Hurricanes on Thursday night.
The side had scored a record Big Bash total of 4-222, only for the Hurricanes – led by six-hitting centurion Ben McDermott – to achieve their target off the final ball to win by two wickets.
The Strikers had gone down to the Melbourne Stars by two wickets in a low-scoring thriller at the MCG.