The 22-year-old stole the show in just his second match for the Hobart Hurricanes, hitting 114 off 52 balls to help his side to a remarkable win over the Melbourne Renegades last night.
Chasing a record 223 to win at Etihad Stadium, the Hurricanes looked to have little chance after losing two early wickets.
Enter McDermott, whose blistering knock – the second-highest score in BBL history – set up the Hurricanes to pull off the unlikeliest of victories and keep their season alive.
Speaking after the match, the son of former Australian Test paceman Craig McDermott didn’t hesitate to label it his best ever innings.
“Certainly, by a long way,” McDermott said.
“I’ve never got a hundred in Twenty20 cricket. To do it on the big stage was awesome.
“It’s almost better just going into this big run chases. You’ve just got a bit of freedom to go really hard.”
With 16 needed from the final over at Etihad Stadium, Cameron Boyce was run out by Sunil Narine to give the Renegades hope of saving the game.
But England paceman Stuart Broad hit the winning runs to secure victory and keep the Hurricanes’ season alive.
The 22-year-old McDermott belted nine sixes and eight fours before being trapped LBW by Narine, just three runs short of Luke Wright’s BBL record score of 117.
Renegades spinners Brad Hogg and Narine each took wickets in quick succession to leave the game in the balance before Broad saved the win.
George Bailey made 59, while Narine took 3-27 for the Renegades, who earlier looked well-placed after posting a BBL record 4-222 – helped by half-centuries from Aaron Finch and Tom Cooper
It was another impressive performance from Finch, who responded to being dropped from Australia’s one-day squad with 57 during the Renegades’ loss to the Sydney Sixers on Monday.
Fellow veteran Cameron White chipped in with an entertaining 34 with the Hurricanes bowlers offering little resistance.
But they were soon overshadowed by McDermott’s heroics.
The son of former Australian Test quick Craig McDermott, he joined the Hurricanes after stints with the Renegades and the Brisbane Heat.
He said he had felt under pressure early in his innings before some calming words from veteran George Bailey helped everything to click.
But it was nothing compared to the pressure of replacing out-of-form Sri Lankan great Sangakkara against the Sydney Thunder earlier in the week.
“I was listed to bat six for the last game and ended up going up to three just before we went out,” he said.
“It was a little bit more pressure once I found out I was batting three and actually taking Kumar’s position in the side.”
While the win over the Renegades is a huge morale-booster for the Hurricanes, they’re far from certain of making the finals with three wins to their name and one game remaining.
The equation is likely to be clear by the time they face the Perth Scorchers on January 21 after an unusual week-long break.
“It is a big break. It’s been congested a little bit so far but it’s OK,” McDermott said.
“We get a bit more time to reassess and debrief this game and try and do it again next game.”
Renegades captain Finch had few answers for the turn of events after a strong start by his bowlers.
“The guys who bowled in the power-play did an amazing job. I couldn’t ask any more from that start,” he said.
“It’s just the way it is. That’s T20 sometimes. When you have a guy play an unbelievable knock like that … hats off to him. That was an incredible display of hitting.”
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