One of the downsides of buying enormous buckets of fried chicken is that once you’ve bought one there’s always such an urge to get your money’s worth that you end up eating far more than you should. It’s only when the bottom of the bucket is reached that you realise that you’ve probably just taken years off your life. In a slightly convoluted way, that bucket of chicken metaphorically (although it’s far from metaphorical: there are empty chicken buckets scattered liberally around the 51allout garden) represents us. Having started writing about the early rounds of the KFC Enormous Pummelling we now find ourselves compelled to carry on, even though we’re well into the bloated, coughing up grease phase.
So what’s happened in the latest round of fixtures? Well, let’s start with the big one, Wednesday night’s game at the WACA. Your correspondent braved the sweltering heat and mid-strength beer to watch this one in person and it turned out to be a pretty decent game, the Perth Scorchers beating the Brisbane Bogans by 10 runs. This was mainly thanks to an excellent opening partnership between Herschelle Gibbs (38 runs) and Ashes star Marcus North (40). Mitchell Marsh chipped in with a useful 33, despite being felled by what we’ll politely describe as ‘a high speed full toss in the bollocks’. Paul Collingwood continued his pleasant summer holiday, making 14 before not bowling. He also wore a hat throughout the entire game, preventing any number of hilarious jokes about his hair matching his kit.
In reply Brisbane were never really in the hunt, falling behind the run rate early on and never managing to catch up. Pick of the bowlers was actually 71 year old Brad Hogg: until you’ve seen Matthew Hayden run straight past Hogg’s nicely flighted chinaman you’ve probably not lived.
In the previous day’s game, we actually had the first useful contribution from the England brigade, Owais Shah making an impressive 36* off 18 balls to lead Hobart Hurricanes to victory over the Adelaide Serial Killers. Hobart’s hero with the ball was Ashes star Xavier Doherty, who took 4-17, presumably propelling him back into the role of the new Shane Warne.
Speaking of Shane Warne, he was one of three legspinners to play in the round’s opening game, as the Melbourne Stars visited the Sydney Sixers. Warne finished with 1/27 from his four overs, narrowly outperforming Stuart MacGill (1/36). However, the king of the legspinners (and therefore the new new Shane Warne) was Steve Smith, taking 2/27. We nearly coughed up a lung in disbelief.
Smith’s contribution was enough to edge the Sixers home by two runs in a dramatic finale. Luke Wright made a fairly epic 9 from 6 balls after bowling just a single over (0/12). It’s fair to say that his combination of power hitting and waddling to the crease has yet to take Australia by storm. Still, he’s doing better than Jade Dernbach, who was reduced to carrying the VBs after his greasy-fingered fielding display of the previous round. Michael Lumb also made a short and sweet 18 at the top of the order, but we do tend to forget that he’s technically English quite often.
The final game of the round provided a masterclass in how to completely balls up a run chase, Sydney Thunder dismally failing to reach their modest target of 141. The plan of leaving it entirely to Chris Gayle (75 from 54 balls with 3 fours and 5 sixes) worked brilliantly until he was out with ten balls to go. The rest of the side (48 runs and just 5 boundaries between them) have to shoulder the blame, with the obvious exception of Usman Khawaja, who produced one of the great 17’s. His mum must have been so proud.
The standout bowler for the victorious Melbourne Renegades was Shahid Afridi (3/24) but we particularly enjoyed the contribution of Shaun Tait, especially his first ball, a filthy set of five wides down the legside.
Three rounds in and the Big Bash still seems to be capturing the public’s attention – crowds have been very good and the games have mostly been entertaining, with few one-sided snoozefests. The main disappointment for this correspondent was the selection of chicken-based foods available at the WACA: Chicken Treat or nothing. We obviously chose nothing. As super-greasy chicken snobs, a unique ‘Rotisserie’ cooking method just doesn’t cut it.
We’ll be back with more KFC Big Bash reviews in 2012, high cholesterol issues non-withstanding. Happy new year everyone!