A look at today’s Melbourne derby in the Big Bash League plus some photographs.
This morning’s live BBL radio commentary saw the two Melbourne sides, Renegades and Stars face one another. Stars following Heat’s win earlier were languishing at the bottom of the heap, Renegades one of a number of sides battling for qualification slots (Only Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers are genuinely comfortably placed to qualify).
THE RENEGADES INNINGS
Renegades batted first, and they started dreadfully, managing just 17-1 from their four overs of opening Power Play. They began to recover in overs 5-10, reaching 63-3 at the halfway stage of their innings. The second half of their innings was a massive improvement, a well timed Power Surge continuing the recovery, and then a magnificent late innings from Jonathan Wells helping to boost their final total to 161-7.
THE STARS RESPONSE
Stars began their reply sensationally, passing 80, with all their wickets standing in just the eighth over. Once the first wicket fell however, they were unable to maintain the momentum, and began to lose wickets at regular intervals. Not even the assistance of two balls hitting the closed roof of the stadium and being thus awarded six a piece did much for the second half of the Stars innings. A succession of overs in which runs weren’t scored and wickets fell ultimately saw the Stars needing 12 from the final over to win. Nick Larkin, the sole remaining batter of any substance, made a complete and utter mess of playing that final over. He declined singles off the first two balls, wishing to keept the strike for himself, but then took the single off the third, leaving a tailender on strike with 11 needed off three balls. A run out off the fourth ball did at least get Larkin back on strike, but 11 were now needed off two balls. Larkin hit the first for four. The final ball of the match was full, just wide of the stumps, but not enough so to be called a wide, and Larkin ridiculously failed even to get bat to it, the resultant dot giving Renegades victory by six runs, boosting their qualification hopes and pretty much exterminating such qualification hopes as Stars had still retained. Arguably Stars were favourites to win right until the start of the 19th over of their innings, at which point they needed 15. Good teams go all out to break the back of things with an over to spare in these circumstances, and it was really this over, with only three runs coming it from it that killed the Stars. This loss will be hard to recover from because Stars will know that they should have been comfortable winners.
A look at the Big Bash League’s great innovation, the Power Surge and how best to use it, with a couple of classic examples of it being misused on successive days.
With the Big Bash League now in full swing this post is dedicated to that competition’s great innovation, the Power Surge (they had two others but have binned both the ‘supersub’ and the ‘Bash Boost Point’). I am writing it because yesterday and today I saw two classic examples of mistiming the Power Surge, whereas in the WBBL earlier this year the sides were nearly all excellent at judging when to go for it.
WHAT IS A POWER SURGE?
Most T20 innings around the world begin with six overs of ‘Power Play’, when only two fielders are allowed to be posted more than 30 yards from the bat and then have 14 overs of regular play when up to five fielders can be outside that 30 yard radius. The Power Surge variation, which I am a huge supporter of, has the innings start with four overs of Power Play, with the remaining two to be taken at the batting side’s discretion at any point after the end of the 10th over.
WHEN SHOULD THE POWER SURGE BE TAKEN?
There are a range of good answers depending on exact circumstances but the key thing to remember is that a successful Power Surge is not just about how many runs you score from those overs, it is about how many more runs you score from those overs than you would have done in regular play. Therefore using it in the ‘death overs’, when you would be scoring very fast anyway is not making full use of it. Ideally you would want both batters to have faced at least a few balls by calling for the Power Surge but if by the end of the 15th over you have not found a really suitable time to take it then take it for overs 16-17 irrespective of anything else, as a launchpad into the death overs.
POWER SURGE FAIL 1: JIMMY PEIRSON (BRISBANE HEAT)
Brisbane Heat made an awful start to yesterday’s match against Melbourne Renegades, losing three early wickets. However at the end of the 10th over, the fourth wicket partnership was still going, and this represented the golden opportunity to take the Power Surge with two set batters there to make use of it. Both batters fell in the 11th over, meaning a spot of retrenchment was needed. At the end of the 14th over the sixth wicket stand was still going, both batters had faced a reasonable number of balls, and this represented what will call the silver opportunity to take the Power Surge – both batters in to an extent, and enough overs left for the Surge to act as a good launch pad. Peirson neglected to call for it, and the partnership was broken in the 15th over. Peirson dithered and delayed over the Power Surge, and only took it when obliged to for the last two overs of the innings. Those two overs did yield a respectable number of runs, but not in my opinion any more than overs 19 and 20 would with regular field placements. Heat finished with 137-8. This looked a good total when Renegades were 9-4 in response, but Andre Russell and Akeal Hosein played excellent innings, while Finch anchored the innings at the other end. Renegades timed their Power Surge better than Heat, and Finch after playing second fiddle to Russell and Hosein stepped up at the death to see his side to a deserved victory.
POWER SURGE FAIL 2: MATT WADE (HURRICANES)
Today’s match (Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes) was complicated by a long rain delay, which reduced it to a 14 overs per side contest, and reduced the Power Play and Power Surge allocations to three and one overs respectively. Sixers won the toss, batted first, and although they missed a golden opportunity, when both openers were still there at the end of the seventh over, they did take a silver opportunity, taking it for the 11th over of their innings. They finished with 137-6 from their 14 overs. Hurricanes dropped behind the rate from the start of their innings, but were incredibly reluctant to use their Surge over. Eventually, they claimed it for the 13th over, but by then they needed 45 off two overs, and although Asif Ali made good use of that Surge Over, 21 were still needed off the final over. When an excellent boundary catch by Jordan Silk put a stop to Ali’s antics early in the final over the writing was on the wall, and only a six off the last ball of the match with it already lost restricted the final margin to six runs. Again the criticism of the Hurricanes approach is that Ali could easily have gone crazy in the penultimate over of the match against regular field placings, and had they taken the Power Surge earlier they may have been in a position when a big penultimate over would actually have put them in charge.
AN ALL TIME FRANCHISE XI
Since I am writing about franchise cricket, which I don’t do all that often I end with a challenge and an example answer: Using your own country as the home country and IPL overseas player rules (i.e. up to four in an XI) name your franchise XI made up exclusively of players from before the franchise era.
Thomas’ sample answer:
Home Country: England
XI in batting order:
G St A Sobers (West Indies, left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket, gun fielder)
G L Jessop (Right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, gun fielder)
F E Woolley (Left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner, excellent close fielder).
D C S Compton (Right handed batter, left arm wrist spinner)
*K R Miller (Australia, right handed batter, right arm fast bowler, gun fielder, captain)
+L E G Ames (right handed batter, keeper)
G H Hirst (right handed batter, left arm fast medium bowler, gun fielder)
J B King (United States, right arm fast bowler, right handed batter)
J C Laker (off spinner, right handed batter)
A Shaw (right arm slow/medium bowler, right handed batter)
C V Grimmett (Australia, leg spinner, right handed batter)