The third edition of the KFC Big Bash is fully into its stride now with the games coming thick and fast. It’s great news for those of us with nothing much to do during their Christmas holidays but terrible news for those who hate watching cricket every single day. Especially when it’s also stopping their other half from cleaning the barbecue. Or setting up that new hammock. Or rescuing the cat from that enormous spider web in the corner of the garden.
The first game of the round saw the Heat take on the Renegades in the battle of the current/former England ODI wicketkeepers. In the red corner, Jos ‘Judas’ Buttler; in the blue corner Craig ‘Square Faced’ Kieswetter. The atmosphere in the Docklands Stadium was electric, for all 15 or so spectators that actually turned up. Everything was in place for what would undoubtedly be the best game in the history of T20 cricket.
In the end it was a bit one-sided. Buttler went apeshit, clattering four enormous sixes on his way to 61 from 36 balls while Kieswetter made his traditional 10 before chipping to mid-off as the Heat’s attempt to chase down 211 to win predictably fell miles short.
The Renegades were on top from the start with Aaron Finch making 81 (from 51 balls) alongside Buttler before Ben Rohrer slammed 36 from 11 to round things off, Kieswetter being reduced to standing behind the stumps scratching his square chin as the ball disappeared into the empty seats with frightening regularity.
As if to further emphasise his superiority Buttler took a superb catch in the outfield before ending the match by running out Dan Vettori, the great man narrowly failing to make his ground due to the intense wind resistance caused by his lustrous beard.
After successfully managing to defend 117 last time out, the Scorchers again batted as if getting low totals was the cool thing to do, collapsing in Adelaide like a poorly assembled hammock. Nathan Coulter-Nile had missed that last match and therefore presumably hadn’t received the memo, slogging his way to 42* as the lone bright spark.
In reply Alex Hales went cheaply but Michael Klinger made 86* as the home side strolled to victory with a whole over to spare. As New Year’s Eve entertainment goes, it was a rather drab affair with both sides tucked up in bed well before any fireworks started.
Of all the great ideas, starting a Big Bash game before lunchtime the night after a massive piss up is right up there with the best. Hence we missed this one entirely, instead enjoying vivid gin-assisted dreams about Jenna Louise Coleman. Looking at the scorecards, it looks like James Pattinson took a bunch of wickets skittling the home side for just 111 in pursuit of the Renegades’ 162/8.
Quite why the Renegades were playing again already is anyone’s guess. Maybe it was to squeeze one more game out of Jos Buttler before he joined up with England. Or perhaps it was because the Sydney Sixers were unavailable due to their annual pilgrimage to wherever it was in Sydney that Devereux was born.
Another game, another defeat for the Sydney Thunder who continue to act as the foundations of the Big Bash table (i.e. holding everybody else up). They looked a reasonable shout for a fair chunk of this game until Tillakratne Dilshan (a replacement for Chris Woakes, who was probably out celebrating topping England’s Test batting averages for 2013) followed up his duck with one of the great overs, going for 18 runs in the 15th over to put the result beyond doubt.
The real highlights of this game came in the form of two controversies: firstly Matt Wade nicking to the keeper, not being given out and yet refusing to walk before admitting it on TV when his innings was finally over, no doubt leading to eternal damnation in the eyes of the Brisbane Courier Mail. Secondly, a run out that saw the stumps being struck full on yet the flashing bails refusing to fall off despite lighting up and wobbling a fair bit. It’s probably fair to say that the cricketing gods really, really hate the Thunder.