Faced with performing under a world of pressure in a tense super over, Ed Morrish, Dean Turner and Josh Doherty stood up when it counted and led Orange to a nervy, drought-breaking victory in Sunday’s Mitchell Twenty20 Cup final at Wade Park on Sunday.
The trophy is the Bluebaggers’ first piece of silverware since winning the President’s Cup in 2009-10.
After both teams managed a meagre 8-100 from their 20 overs a super over was needed to determine the winner and that one came down to the final ball too.
Morrish took the ball for Orange and held Bathurst to 2-9 from its super over before Turner and Doherty got the job done, using all six balls to make the 10 needed for victory.
“It’s awesome, just awesome,” Orange skipper Daryl Kennewell said after the win.
“It was a great battle, low-scoring, it’s always tough to defend those low scores but they’re tricky to chase as well.
“Ed put his hand up straight away to bowl the super over. I was looking to him anyway, but when he’s so keen to bowl it and do the job under pressure, there’s no decision to make.
“I knew Josh and Dean could get the job done with the bat too. Deano has a great eye and is in form while Josh, on his day, hits the ball better than anyone in our competition so that was an easy decision too.
“Had we lost any wickets, I’d have looked to Shaun Grenfell and Nathan Gander after that, two more clean hitters of the ball.”
For just a moment, it looked like Orange had blown it though after being in the box seat for almost all of Bathurst’s chase.
VIDEO: Watch the tense finish to Sunday’s game, the super over:
Cavaliers’ Matt Corben was Orange’s best with the bat, making 25 to boost his side to 8-100 after the Bluebaggers were languishing at 5-47.
Then, Bathurst crumbled early.
They lost Josh Toole (1), Nic Broes (0), Derryn Clayton (10), skipper Jameel Qureshi (3) and Imran Qureshi (2) early to be reeling at 5-16.
Orange took its foot off the gas though and Sam McPherson (29) and Connor Slattery (21 not out) took advantage, working their way to 8-100 and sending the game into a super over.
They were held by some sloppy Orange fielding in the final over, which included two overthrows as they looked for a match-winning run out.
“We took our foot off the throat a bit in the 13th over and leaked a few runs, they took their chances and did well to end up tying the game. We should’ve scored more really, but Bathurst did bowl well,” Kennewell explained.
Toole (0), McPherson (6 not out) and Clayton (2) were Qureshi’s choice in the super over, making nine. Corben produced a run out and Morrish bowled Clayton from the final ball.
Turner hit a two from the first ball of Luke Powell’s super over, then a crucial boundary through the covers. He and Doherty ran a leg bye from the third ball and Doherty took a two from the next.
The fifth was a dot, creating a nervous one run from one ball situation.
With Bathurst’s field entirely in the ring, the burly Cavaliers all-rounder slapped a boundary through mid-wicket to get the Bluebaggers over the line.
“I love the pressure,” Doherty laughed after the game.
“You can go from hero to zero or vice-versa quickly in those situations, so it was great for Deano and I to be able to get the boys over the line.”
Kennewell lauded the entire Orange playing group, the one that turned out on Sunday and those who have donned the baggy blue throughout the summer.
“This group has really dug in, everyone who played during this tournament and the entire representative season,” Kennewell said.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with everyone who put their hands up. We’ve always got 11 or 12 blokes on the paddock who want to be there, so we’re not losing out there or anything. It’s great.”
Kennewell pointed to the Royal Hotel Cup as one factor in Orange’s strong T20 performances. Bathurst doesn’t have a club competition in the shortest format and as such, the Bluebaggers are far more experienced in that version of the game.
“I don’t think Bathurst plays that much T20. It’s a lot faster pace and we do play a lot more of it, so you could say that’s a factor and experience in this format played a role,” he said.
It was the second time this summer Orange sprung an upset on Bathurst, after also defeating the side in a President’s Cup preliminary fixture. However, Bathurst earned revenge in the final of that tournament.