Strikers and Renegades lose unbeaten records in successive days

A look at developments in the Big Bash League, including yet another example of a Power Surge blunder.

Today Hobart Hurricanes beat Melbourne Renegades by eight runs, a result that means every team in the Big Bash League has won at least one match and suffered at least one defeat. However as I was only able to follow that game by way of cricinfo and therefore have only a fragmentary picture of it I shall say nothing further about it. Yesterday’s match, between Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat, in which the former lost their own unbeaten record is a different matter, as there was radio commentary on that one.

THE BRISBANE HEAT INNINGS

Having won the toss and decided to bat Heat did not start well, but Sam Billings played a superb knock. They also took their two over Power Surge (see here for my thoughts on this) at a sensible time. They reached 166-7 in the end, with Billings scoring 79.

ANOTHER POWER SURGE MESS UP

Strikers were behind the rate right through the chase, but would probably have won had they taken any of three opportunities to claim the Power Surge with Colin de Grandhomme and Thomas Kelly at the crease. These opportunities would have been claiming the Surge for overs 13-14, 14-15 or 15-16. Failure to take it for the first was semi-defensible, the second failure was crazy and the third downright criminal. Strikers’ exceedingly experienced skipper Peter Siddle should have got a message out to the two batters instructing them to take the Power Surge once they had twice failed to do so. In the event Kelly fell in the 15th over, De Grandhomme in the 16th, with the Surge still unused, which left only lower order batters for the Strikers. Strikers never did get on terms with the required run rate, and it was only Siddle hitting the last ball of the match for six, with the result already settled, that kept the margin to six runs. Michael Neser bowled an excellent 19th over for the Heat, basically closing out the match for them, and finishing with 2-23 from his four overs. Mark Steketee took four wickets but was also expensive. However, batters usually get favoured when there is competition for the Player of the Match award, and so unsurprisingly it went to Billings for his knock. This was the third time in as many days that a team being over cautious about going for the Power Surge were punished by losing the match. In the situation the Strikers were in it was essential to take the Surge when De Grandhomme and Kelly were together. I would have preferred an out and out throw down of the gauntlet, taking it for overs 11 and 12 to the actual over-caution shown by the players. Only Peter Siddle, as experienced as he is, will know why when they weren’t claiming it for themselves he did not attempt to get a message out to the two batters telling them that they needed to do so.

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My usual sign off…

Scorchers Win WBBL07

The final of the Women’s Big Bash League 2021 has just finished. Adelaide Strikers who annihilated Brisbane Heat and then Melbourne Renegades to qualify for the final came up just short against the Perth Scorchers, who qualified directly for the final by virtue of winning the league stage outright.

SCORCHERS INNINGS

Although Tahlia McGrath (4-0-14-1) and Megan Schutt (4-0-19-1) were typically economical, Scorchers posted a respectable 146-5 from their 20 overs with major contributions from Sophie Devine and Marizanne Kapp. Amanda-Jade Wellington, leading wicker of the tournament and joint lead wicket taker of any WBBL tournament had an off day for once.

STRIKERS REPLY

Strikers got off to a horribly slow start and although they subsequently revived their innings well they were always well behind the required rate. With four overs to go they needed 53, and although Madeline Penna counterattacked successfully in the 17th over, the 18th and 19th were both far too economical for that stage of an innings, and Strikers needed 22 off the last over. Peschel bowled two wides in the course of the final over, but the other deliveries were good enough that 14 were needed off the final ball. Only a single eventuated, and Scorchers were home by 12 runs.

A MULTI-TALENTED TEAM

Although she did not play the final today, this part of the post is inspired by an Adelaide Strikers player, all rounder Jemma Barsby. She bowls both off spin and left arm orthodox spin, which is a combination of talents I have not previously come across. I have put together an XI of players who had talents in multiple areas, which I list below in batting order with brief comments on their range of talents.

  1. *WG Grace – right handed opening batter, right arm bowler of various styles, captain.
  2. +George Brown – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, wicket keeper. He was good enough as an opener to be selected for England in that role, he took a decent haul of wickets as a bowler, and Hampshire’s best bowler of his era, Alec Kennedy, rated him the best keeper who ever kept to him.
  3. Garry Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of pretty much every type known to cricket. The most complete player the game has thus far seen.
  4. Wally Hammond – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler, occasional off spinner.
  5. Liam Livingstone – right handed batter, leg spinner, off spinner.
  6. Keith Miller – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, occasional off spinner.
  7. Mike Procter – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, occasional off spinner.
  8. Jemma Barsby – right handed batter, off spinner, left arm orthodox spinner.
  9. Alan Davidson – left handed batter, left arm fast bowler, occasional left arm orthodox spinner.
  10. Len Muncer – off spinner, leg spinner, right handed batter.
  11. Bill Johnston – left arm fast medium bowler, left arm orthodox spinner, left handed batter.

12th: Frank Worrell, RHB, LFM, occ SLA. Honourable mentions: Ellyse Perry, RHB, RFM, also a football international and Cecil Parkin, an off spinner with a raft of variations.

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My usual sign off…

Good Riddance 2020

A farewell to 2020 (don’t let the door hit your bum on the way out), an account of the last cricket match of 2020 and a new year’s message to my readers.

The end of 2020 is now less than ten hours distant (in UK, some of you are already into 2021, and have been able to celebrate New Year’s Eve – well done NZ), and it will be a great relief to see it out, though 2021 offers little sign of immediate improvement for us Brits (although those north of Hadrian’s Wall might do themselves a favour by going for a UDI). A stark indication of quite how badly Johnson and his cronies are letting the country down: yesterday 981 people in Britain died due to Covid-19, while across the Irish sea just nine suffered the same fate.

As a cricket fan, 2020 has been a fine year since the resumption of cricket in the summer (my congratulations to the West Indies, both men’s and women’s teams for making the journey and ensuring the home summer saw some international cricket – as soon as a visit from this island becomes an asset rather than a liability those tours should be reciprocated. I am going to devote most of the rest of this post to covering the last top level cricket match of 2020.

ADELAIDE STRIKERS V PERTH SCORCHERS

This BBL match featured one team doing less well than expected or hoped (Strikers) and a team doing appallingly (Scorchers). Strikers batted first, and every time they seemed be getting going a wicket fell. Finch batted well but could find no serious support. Then, down to him and Rashid Khan (best known for being the no1 rated T20 bowler on the planet but also a more than useful lower order batter whose approach is ideally suited to short form cricket), he was overly timid about claiming the Power Surge, and Rashid fell with it still unclaimed. At the end of their innings the Strikers had 146-9, a total that should not pose the chasing side much of a problem, but Scorchers as mentioned earlier were winless.

Scorchers started the chase well, with Jason Roy doing most of the scoring. However when both openers, Roy for 49 and Livingstone for an unconvincing 8, fell in the same over one had to wonder if the Scorchers were about to suffer another case of the collywobbles. Although a third wicket fell just before halfway, a boundary of the final ball of the tenth over secured Scorchers the Bash Boost point. Some would say that they also delayed claiming the Power Surge longer than they ought, but at least they managed to take it with two set batters at the crease, and by the time it ended the chase had been reduced to 14 off four overs, which would take a lot of messing up.

The 17th over of the innings was Peter Siddle’s third and he made a good fist of it, meaning that the target was still 10 going into the 18th. Successive fours off the third and fourth balls of that over completed the job, giving Scorchers a win by seven wickets and all four points. It was a satisfying end for me on two counts: 1) I had predicted at the start of the 17th that Siddle would not get to bowl his 4th because the game would end before he could and 2) much more importantly it meant that the Strikers were properly punished for mucking up over the Power Surge.

The more I follow of this year’s Big Bash the more I think that it must be better to go for the Power Surge too early rather than too late, which is why I cannot wholly endorse Scorchers waiting until the end of the 15th to go for it, but unquestionably they approached it miles better than the Strikers.

If the Scorchers could contrive to use this hugely impressive victory as a springboard back into the tournament it would represent a comeback to send Lazarus green with envy on their part.

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Just before my usual sign off, which on this occasion includes a video, I have a few final words of 2020 for my readers: thank you all, and here’s to a better 2021

Brisbane Heat Retain WBBL

A brief account of the WBBL final which took place early this morning UK time.

INTRODUCTION

This post looks at the final of the Women’s Big Bash League, which took place in the early hours of this morning UK time.

A SPLENDID FINAL

Sophie Devine had had a dream season for the Adelaide Strikers but had a personal nightmare in the final. The Kiwi fell for just five, before her compatriot Suzie Bates and Tahlia McGrath righted things with a good second wicket stand. Both were out close together and Bridget Patterson and Kayleigh Mack both went cheaply, but AmandaJade Wellington whose previous competition best score was 23 made a splendid 55 off 33 balls to give the strikers a final total of 161-7 from their 20 overs. Maddy Green managed only 11 for Heat in the reply, but then SammyJo Johnson blasted 27 off just 11 balls (including four sixes off Sophie Devine) to put Heat well ahead of the rate. Jess Jonassen made 33 off 28, and Laura Harris was unbeaten on 19, in partnership with player of the final Beth Mooney who anchored the innings with an unbeaten 56, Heat having 11 balls to spare (and six wickets, including Kiwi all-rounder Amelia Kerr, due to come in next) when they completed the chase. To win a big tournament is a fine achievement, but to do so twice running is particularly impressive because on the second occasion everyone else knows that you are the team to beat. Sophie Devine was player of the tournament, but in the final she could only produce five and figures of 1-46 from three overs. It was a highly enjoyable final, but ultimately Brisbane Heat were simply too good for Adelaide Strikers.

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My usual sign off…

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