Chris Gayle equalled Yuvraj Singh's record for Twenty20 cricket's fastest fifty, but it was not enough to prevent Melbourne Renegades from suffering Big Bash League elimination at the hands of top-ranked Adelaide Strikers.
The Renegades were left with the stiff task of scoring 171 runs in 16 overs to sneak into the Finals on net run-rate, but Gayle's 12-ball half-century provided an astonishing platform in front of a fervent Etihad Stadium.
However, the powerful West Indian soon perished after a whirlwind 17-ball cameo and the Renegades' remaining batsmen failed to pick up where Gayle had left off, slumping to 143 all out.
As a result, Sydney Thunder held on to the fourth Finals spot and the Strikers affirmed their standing as the team to beat with seven wins from eight home-and-away matches.
Strikers openers Tim Ludeman and Jono Dean fell one and two runs short of half-centuries respectively as the home team failed to make an early impact with the ball and an 85-run opening stand put their backs against the wall.
Though recent Australia call-up Travis Head posted a two-ball duck, the end of Adelaide's innings was just as impressive - captain Brad Hodge (37 not out) and Jake Lehmann (24) adding 55 for the fifth wicket as the Renegades were set a daunting target for qualification.
Needing more than 10 runs an over to progress, Gayle got things off to a blockbusting start, hitting the final four balls of Greg West's opening over for six before blasting 17 runs from four Ben Laughlin deliveries to equal Yuvraj Singh's T20 record for a fastest fifty.
Predictably, Gayle was determined to carry on at the same pace, but he could only launch Head (3-16) into orbit, with wicketkeeper Ludeman gleefully taking the high catch and reducing the hosts to 74-4.
Australia Test keeper Peter Nevill (21) looked to take the mantle but wickets five to eight fell for only five runs, with Nathan Rimmington (26 off 19) and Cameron Gannon's (23 off 15) late efforts in vain as the Renegades' campaign came to a wildly erratic end.
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