More fixture madness in the Big Bash this week, with five games squeezed inbetween Christmas and New Year. In our typically professional fashion, we’ve tried to watch them all, albeit with mixed results. In one case the Sky+ didn’t work at all, due to being crammed full after somebody accidentally put Eastenders on series link. See if you can guess which game it was!
It’s all gone horribly wrong for the Sixers over the last few weeks and they crashed to another defeat at home to the Hurricanes despite Steve Smith top-scoring yet again. Devereux made 34 in the Sixer’s 154/8 before losing his off-stump to some guy called Ben Laughlin. We’ve never heard of Laughlin before but he picked up four wickets before presumably being drafted straight into the Australian Test squad.
The Hurricane’s reply was a calm, composed affair. Aiden Blizzard made 48 and Ricky Ponting an unbeaten 63 to take them to the brink of victory. A couple of brainfades from Travis Birt (18) and Owais Shah (13*) threatened to undo all the good work in the last couple of overs but in the end the away side emerged victorious with a whole one delivery to spare. Despite the Sixers using six bowlers, none of them was Steve Smith. And they wonder why they keep getting beaten.
An actual decent finish and close game saw the Strikers narrowly fail to chase down the 176 they needed to beat the Stars. Kieron Pollard’s attempts to do it all in sixes eventually proved inadequate, even though he finished on 65* from 43 balls.
In the absence of Super Luke Wright (who had a sore hamstring after ripping shit up in India for a week or so), the Stars used Brad Hodge as opener, a decision that looked rather clever when he made 88. Another player missing, for distinctly less acceptable reasons, was Shane Warne who had flown to England to hang around with his missus. It’s probably fair to say that not everyone was totally enamoured with his decision.
A true battle of the giants at the WACA as the Scorchers (two consecutive wins) took on the Renegades (four consecutive wins) in a battle to see who could survive the mental heat of the West Australian summer for the longest. In temperatures up above the 40 degree mark, the Scorchers bashed their way to the highest score of this year’s competition, making 187/3. Herschelle Gibbs made 56, Adam Voges 40 and Shaun Marsh a superb 85, leading to literally no calls for him to be reintroduced to the Test squad.
In reply the Renegades got off to a disastrous start, presumably due to them all suffering from heatstroke by this point. They were 24/3 in no time as Alfonso Thomas (4/8) and someone called Jason Behrendorff (3/44) blew the top order away. From there it was just a matter of time and the Renegades finished on 136, losing by 51 runs.
One of the great occasions in Australian cricket as the two Sydney sides went head to head to see who was truly the worst. Of course the Thunder won that particular battle, losing their sixth consecutive game of the season, eleventh if you add on the five from the end of last season. Either way this was a rubbish game, albeit one that somehow drew a crowd of 21,000 people.
The main highlight of this match was a spat between Brad Haddin and Chris Gayle, as they argued about who had contributed the least to their two sides’ respective disastrous seasons. Gayle at least managed to get Haddin out before taking to Twitter to write some incomprehensible gibberish about something or other.
The Thunder’s batting was yet again woeful, with only Usman Khawaja (66) able to get the ball off the square. A score of 132 was always going to be below par and the Sixers overhauled it with an over to spare thanks to 51* from Dan Hughes. Devereux made 14 and suffered a suspected broken rib after someone, jealous of his talents, chucked the ball at him for no apparent reason.
With just a handful of games left to go it looks like any four from six could still make the semi-finals. The two Melbourne sides sit top of the table with the two Sydney sides at the bottom, out of contention. This will no doubt be significant to some people somewhere but we’re not really that bothered – the Big Bash is rapidly slipping down our list of things that we look forward to and now stands just above cleaning up the pile of what appears to be vomit that has mysteriously appeared in the lounge since yesterday.