Last year the Big Bash seemed to take place in nice neat little blocks of four matches. This made life so much easier when it came to reviewing the matches. This year things are very different with fixtures seemingly scattered all over the place like that time we dropped Editor Steve’s munchie box all over the carpet. (Don’t worry – we just sort of shovelled it back into place and our esteemed overlord was none the wiser).
Hence after four games in the first round and five games in the second we have seven in the third. And what a set of games they’ve been. Apart from the crap ones, obviously. Let’s start at the very beginning, with the rubbish/brilliant Perth Scorchers:
The British view of the Australian summer is – because it never ever rains on Ramsey Street – somewhat misguided. In fact it does occasionally rain, mainly during cricket matches, and Duckworth/Lewis reared its ugly head once again at the Gabba. Batting first the Heat lost three early wickets before recovering to reach 109/4 from 13.1 overs before the heavens opened. It looked like the rest of the match would be washed out, but there was just time for a five over slog in reply.
Chasing 51 from those five overs the Scorchers got off to a slow start before Nathan Coulter-Nile, promoted up the order due to the rest of the side already having gone to the pub, went ballistic, scoring 23* from just six deliveries. Pretend cricketer Dan Christian was the main culprit, being carted for 20 runs from his four deliveries to Coulter-Nile. Not that hitting Christian for six is anything to particularly shout about.
In the end the Scorchers reached their target with four balls to spare, completing their second consecutive win.
Despite having the most ridiculous name in the history of sport, the Renegades are this year’s form team and they comfortably dismantled the Hurricanes, keeping them to 102/9 from their 20 overs before knocking it off with nearly seven overs to spare. It’s hard to imagine a more comfortable victory, at least until England complete their 2013/14 10-0 Ashes whitewash spectacular.
The highlight of this game was Aaron Finch hitting an enormous six that was called a dead ball because it hit the roof, which also denied him a half-century. Cue laughs all round from the tiny 8,000 crowd.
The Syndey Thunder are bad. Seriously bad. We’re talking Jamie Dalrymple levels of bad. This was their third defeat in three games this season (to go with five in a row to finish last season) and was never in doubt. Adelaide piled up 177/6, Chris Gayle got out cheaply and the rest was a procession, the Strikers winning by 51 runs.
One highlight for the Thunder was a first BBL appearance for young legspinner Adam Zampa who bowled three tidy overs (talking 1/15) before getting clattered all over the shop in his fourth, conceding another 23. Still, expect to see him on the scrapheap of failed new Shane Warnes shortly enough.
Speaking of Shane Warnes, the original was back in action, picking up two more wickets to inflict a second consecutive defeat on the once awesome Sixers. The home side made 177/6, a popular score this week, thanks to 51 from Brad Hodge and 82 from Ged Maxwell, Alan Partridge’s number one fan. Despite, or perhaps because of, the best efforts of Dan Smith (32 from 31) at the top of the order, there was simply too much left for Steve Smith (13* from 14) to do and the Sixers finished 21 runs short.
For those who’ve managed to keep up, the Renegades are the official good side in this year’s competition. Their fourth consecutive win was the dictionary definition of routine. Hence we’ll just describe it as a customary or regular course of procedure and move straight on.
Another comedy defeat for the Thunder, this time by the not insignificant amount of 30 runs. The Hurricanes piled up the now standard 177/4, with Ricky Ponting making 63 from beyond the grave. In reply the Thunder did exactly what they do every week: threatened with a few decent starts before collapsing in a heap. Again, Adam Zampa did quite well, picking up 3/26 completely in vain.
Talking about how useless the Thunder have been is a little tiring. Unfortunately it’s very, very true.
We’re somewhat torn when it comes to talking about the Sixers: on one hand we love Steve Smith so much that it hurts sometimes but on the other they seem to be utterly rubbish these days. The latter was distinctly in evidence here as they stumbled to 135/6 despite the best efforts of our favourite Devereux, who made 58.
In reply Adelaide put on 125 for the first wicket, again despite the best efforts of Devereux, who turned over his arm for a couple of overs, taking 0/16. Dan Smith, our least favourite of the Smiths (apart from Morrissey, who’s just very miserable) made a six ball duck. It’s probably not unfair to say that we don’t like him encroaching on Steve’s space.
Now that every team has played four games (in three rounds!) a clearer picture is beginning to emerge. Basically the Renegades are good, the Thunder are crap and everyone else is jammed into the middle. Happy Christmas everybody!