What a week it’s been for 51allout. Not only did England actually win a game in Australia (beating the Prime Minister’s XI by a whopping 172 runs), but we received actual praise from one of our all time heroes, one Liam Plunkett. And what did the great man have to say? Basically, he told us that what we were doing was brilliant and that we should never change.
But perhaps even more shockingly than either of these things, the Sydney Thunder also managed to win a game of T20 cricket for the first time in well over two years. In that time Australia have been through three (or possibly four – it’s hard to keep track) prime ministers, Devereux has risen from comedy figure to all-round legend and Jimmy Savile’s stock has fallen quite a bit.
Of course, such a remarkable result deserved to be marked by a truly great celebration. And indeed it was, with the 51allout gin drinking competition lasting for the best part of a week and utterly destroying any hopes of the sixth round of fixtures being reviewed on time.
Of course, before the feelgood ending of Return Of The Jedi, there needs to be a super-dark The Empire Strikes Back and for the Thunder this took the form of being bowled out for just 94 by Hobart. The brilliantly named Ben Dunk slammed 96 in the home side’s 167/5 and then Mike Hussey got out early, basically ending the game after 22.1 overs.
A thriller at the Gabba saw the Melbourne Stars sneak home to retain their 100% record in this year’s tournament. Chasing the Heat’s 144/7, the Stars were indebted to Luke Wright, who top-scored with 37, and John Hastings, who carted his second ball twenty rows back to seal the game in the final over. This not only annoyed Heat fans but also 51allout writer James, who has a weird hatred for Hastings, causing him to write this no holds barred attack a while back.
And so it came to pass that it was the Renegades who finally had to face the shame of losing to the worst team in the history of everything ever. Despite boasting the likes of Aaron Finch, Murali and Fawad Ahmed in their side, they also managed to lose in style, being skittled for 104 and losing by nine wickets in less than 12 overs.
For the Thunder Dilshan made 46, Don Khawaja 46* and Mike Hussey a mighty 9*. It was, quite literally, the greatest day ever in the history of the Thunder.
Devereux did what Devereux does in this game, caressing 52 of the most beautiful runs you could ever expect to see to steer his side to 179/6, a total that remained just out of reach for the Hurricanes who finished seven runs short. Devereux also took two catches and the man of the match award.
That was round six. Before we get onto round seven, there’s just time for a quick pick-me-up in the form of a picture of Margot Robbie.
Genuinely exciting T20 matches are pretty rare but this was clearly one, as the Strikers fell just five runs short of the Scorcher’s 203. Craig Simmons, a 31 year old chubster that no-one had ever heard of, hit a century from 39 balls, stealing Luke Wright’s record for the fastest Big Bash hundred away in the process, and it proved just enough as the Strikers faltered in the final overs.
That rarest of happenings, Craig Kieswetter actually coming off at the top of the order, was enough to edge the Heat to a comfortable win against the Strikers. The home side struggled terribly in their pursuit of 130, eventually being bowled out for just 97. It was still the most exciting thing happening that weekend in Adelaide.
Another tense win for the Sixers, edging past the Renegades by just two runs. That makes it sound a bit closer than it actually was, with 17 required from the last over and nine from the last ball, but among Devereux’s many talents is captaining to get the most out of a game for the crowd. God he’s amazing.
Another game, another win for the Melbourne Stars and another man of the match performance for Luke Wright. He took a catch off the very first ball, bowled one very tidy over and then clobbered 52 of the queen’s runs as the Stars comfortably chased down 132 for victory, their seventh in as many games this season.
The end result of all that madness is that the Melbourne Stars (14 points from seven games) will definitely top the table and play a home semi-final, regardless of the result of their final game against the Perth Scorchers. The Scorchers (10 points) will likely finish third, given that the Sixers (also on 10 points) play the Thunder in their final game. The final semi-final place will probably go to the winner of the Hurricanes vs. Heat game, according to our slightly dodgy maths.
Following the final round of games there’s then an entire week off before the semi-finals, which will at least give us a chance to watch Wolf Of Wall Street a few more times.