RIGHT: Tom Cooper hits over mid-off during his lightning innings for the Renegades against the Hurricanes in Melbourne on Thursday night.
RIGHT: Tom Cooper hits over mid-off during his lightning innings for the Renegades against the Hurricanes in Melbourne on Thursday night. JULIAN SMITH

Cooper simply super in BBL

FORMER Lismore cricketer Tom Cooper produced his best batting performance of the Twenty20 season with an unbeaten 53 in the Big Bash League on Thursday night.

Coming to the crease for the Melbourne Renegades at 2-116 after 12 overs, Cooper wasted no time in scoring his runs off just 24 balls.

The hard-hitting innings included seven fours and two sixes and was the catalyst for the Renegades surging to the highest team total (222) in the six-year history of the BBL.

He also took two wickets opening the bowling with his off-spinners, however it was not enough with England's Stuart Broad hitting the winning runs in a thrilling last ball win.

Cooper has been bowling some overs in the BBL after overcoming a hand injury and could have bowl- ed more after taking 2-12 off two.

The half century came on the back of Cooper playing his 100th game of domestic Twenty20 cricket against the Sydney Sixers on Monday night.

Big scores were the order of the night against Hobart with Hurricanes batsman Ben McDermott scoring a blistering 114 in a record-setting run chase.

Melbourne captain Aaron Finch top-scored for the Renegades with 63 and was full of praise for Cooper after the match.

"I thought we batted outstandingly well; the way guys approached the innings and the way Tommy Cooper played,” Finch told Renegades media.

"We know he is a hell of a player and to pull out a knock like that was unbelievable. Fifty-odd off 24 was right out of the top draw.

"He's better than (a part-time bowler). He's picked up four wickets now in the powerplay, and he's bowled outstandingly well.”

Cooper has played every BBL season since its inception in 2011-12 with stints at the Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades.

The 30-year-old has also played T20 internationals for the Nether- lands and for Somerset in English county cricket.

He has played four seasons with the Renegades and is among the leading run-scorers in the team along with Finch.

Cooper will come up against his former franchise when they play the Strikers on Monday night before he finishes the competition rounds closer to home against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Friday.

Former Lismore all-rounder Simon Milenko is in the Hurricanes squad but has played only one game this season.



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