Scorchers Shamed

An account of today’s BBL ‘Qualifier’ between Sixers and Scorchers, including a disgraceful incident involving AJ Tye, and thoughts about the Power Surge.

The title of this post, devoted to today’s #BBL10 qualifier is dual purpose, relating both the Scorcher’s overall performance today and to the incident that ended the match.

SIXERS SLAM SCORCHERS

Scorchers batted first and started slowly, Roy falling in the third over for a nine ball three. They finished their Power Play overs strongly, taking 25 off the last 11 balls to be 30-1 after four overs. The second phase of their innings was solid, overs 5-10 inclusive yielding 44-1, to give a halfway score of 74-2, with two well set batters, one the very dangerous Colin Munro, together at the crease. It was a situation that demanded an early use of the Power Surge to launch the second half of the innings, but Scorchers did not take the opportunity, and they paid for their voluntary surrender of the initiative lest the Surge cause a fall of wickets, as the third quarter of their innings was an unqualified disaster, yielding them 24-2 to reach the three-quarter way stage at 98-4. At that point they did take the Power Surge (leaving it any later would have been truly appalling). They made superb use of those two overs, scoring 34 off them, a gain of at least 20 on what they would have scored from those overs in ordinary play. They then kept the momentum going to finish their 20 overs with 167-6, a defensible looking total. Their top scorer was Josh Inglis, a wicketkeeper, who as Yorkshire-born Aussie may potentially follow in the footsteps of Hanson Carter, the best Aussie keeper between Jim Kelly and Bertie Oldfield, who was also born in Yorkshire.

Sixers started brightly, taking 13 off the first over of the reply, and being 43-0 at the end of the Power Play, 13 runs and one wicket to the good. They lost Philippe late in the first half of their innings, but still had a superb overs 5-10, scoring 61-1 in that period, 17 more than Scorchers had managed, in what had been a good period for them. I would have thought an early Power Surge was called for, but Sixers did not go for it. By the the end of the 15th Scorchers were 151-1 and the only question was whether James Vince, by then on 89, would reach a ton before the end. Although Daniel Hughes hit a boundary to level the scores with Vince on 98, he then avoided scoring off any of the last three balls of that over. The 18th over began with the scores level, setting the stage for…

AJ TYE’S ABJECT ASSAULT ON THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET

Tye, an experienced and successful bowler, bowled to Vince with the scores level and Vince 98 not out. He produced what was blatantly obviously a deliberate wide, a mean and petty ‘dog in the manger’ type gesture that denied Vince any chance to complete a century that would have been thoroughly merited. I have umpired a few games at a low level, and temporarily donning my umpire’s hat, I would have been tempted to tell Tye loudly that I was not going to oblige him by calling a wide and that he better bowl the next one straight. I certainly think the Scorchers should drop Tye for their next game, which will be against the winners of the match between Thunder and Heat, and the winners of that will take on Sixers in the final. I will certainly be rooting against the Scorchers when the time comes. Is my dim view of this just because the offender is an Aussie? No, and I offer as evidence to back up my own criticisms the fact that one Richard Thomas Ponting, not normally known for Aussie bashing, is on my side as well. Very little in cricket is new, given the game’s long history, and there was an incident in a long ago ODI when David Gower, called up to bowl by way of a concession of defeat, again with a batter, this time Greg Chappell, on 98, bowled a deliberate no-ball. Gower’s behaviour then was marginally less inexcusable than Tye’s today because he was a non-bowler and one can understand him not being impressed by being made to act as a sacrificial offering.

THE POWER SURGE

I have stated my thoughts on the taking of the Power Surge before, but I am going to extend on them here. Firstly, I am more and more convinced that one should have a good reason for not going early, rather than allowing caution to dictate. Scorchers paid for their failure to go when in a perfect position to do so, and it was only Sixers utter dominance that enabled them to get away with delaying their own surge. The extra point about the runs from the surge overs is that is not just a question of how many do you get from them, it also a question of how many would you have scored anyway from those overs even without the surge, and that is where leaving it late is a definite loser – you will be throwing the bat at pretty much everything in the closing stages of a T20 innings anyway, so would be scoring faster than at other stages of the innings. Scorcher’s surge was worth about +20 to them compared to two ordinary overs at that stage, because they did make it count when they finally took it. Had those two overs been, to take the extreme, the last two of the innings, then they would have been maybe +10 had they scored the same 34. However, had Scorchers gone in overs 11-12, when they had two top batters together, including the potentially devastating Munro, those same 34 runs would have had them 108-2 with eight overs to go and a total of 180 a definite goal, with more a distinct possibility. As it was, timing it when they did, even that huge surge only brought a total of 170 on to the horizon, and in the end they were just short of that. Here as a reminder is a Power Surge inforgraphic I created earlier:

PHOTOGRAPHS

My parents are in King’s Lynn because my aunt is undergoing a medical procedure and needs to be kept company for 24 hours. They arrived yesterday, and we had a chat over my back garden fence, and I took delivery of a glass vessel which bears my name, and is now the only one of what was a pair, due to a recent accident, and it dominates today’s photo gallery…