Some massive sixes and exciting chases brought round one of the 2012/13 KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League to a close.
Stars v Renegades:
It started with the Melbourne Derby-Stars v Renegades at Etihad Stadium. I was at the game, and the 23,584 fans there weren’t disappointed. After a well-made 53 to English import Luke Wright, as well as 42 and 28 respectively to veterans David Hussey and Brad Hodge, the Stars set the Renegades a total of 168 to win.
After a poor BBL|01, the Renegades have assembled a workhorse team, with only the one real big name; Muttiah Muralitharan. Nathan Rimmington and Darren Pattinson, despite some low-wicket figures, displayed great composure and bowled a consistent line and length. The Stars batted without any real trouble, but the score didn’t seem to be enough.Renegades captain and Victorian Bushrangers opener Aaron Finch lead from the front. He scored a superb 111 from just 65 balls, including 4 massive sixes. He and Ben Rohrer took to Stars captain and spin legend Shane Warne (0-41). The highly revered cricketer turned out to be a highlight for the Renegades instead!!
The men in red won with eight wickets to spare, Aaron Finch man of the match. South African test batting hero Faf Du Plessis contributed 14 as Finch stole the limelight.
MELS 5/167, MELR 2/168
Sixers v Thunder:
Attention on Saturday night was at the SCG. Reigning BBL champions the Sydney Sixers made it twelve Twenty20 wins in a row as they restricted cross town rivals Sydney Thunder to just 143, then proceeded to win by seven wickets and eight balls to spare. Nic Maddinson (39), Steven Smith (41) and Brad Haddin (59) were the big run scorers, continually piercing gaps. One Maddinson six was launched 101 metres and crashed into the second tier signage.
Beforehand, the Thunder could not get any batsmen to go and score big. Chris Rogers (23) and Martin Guptill (20) looked solid early but pressure ultimately resulted in loss of wickets. Wicketkeeper Ryan Carters (33) and young allrounder Sean Abbot (24) staged a fightback to close out the innings. It wasn’t enough though, as Haddin and Smith set about cutting the total away. Thunder speedster Dirk Nannes went wicketless but conceded just four runs an over. Mitchell Starc and Luke Feldman took two wickets apiece for the Sixers.
SYDT 5/143, SYDS 3/147
Heat v Hurricanes:
The Gabba produced a great result, but not one that went in favour of the home side. Joe Burns (44) and Dan Christian (49) looked set to post really big scores before going for one too many and holing out. Burns, 23, picked off the Hurricanes bowlers to all parts of the ground, proceeding to hit two big sixes in a fine innings. A cameo knock of 22 from Sri Lankan Thisara Perera helped the Heat post a decent 172.
Hobart, however, had other ideas. After 2 wickets to Michael Hogan and three wickets to Evan Gulbis, the Hurricanes began to put the game out of the Heat’s reach. Keeper Tim Paine and fellow opener Jonathan Wells kept the score rate rocketing along. After Paine was dismissed, in came the big hitting Travis Birt. Celebrating his 31st birthday, the dynamo cracked 57 off only 40 balls, and combined with English import Owais Shah in a crucial 95 run stand. Dan Christian’s bowling performance was well below part, while Ben Cutting (1 wicket) and Shane Watson were the best bowlers for the Heat.
BRIH 6/172, HOBH 2/175
Scorchers v Strikers:
The ‘Furnace’ was certainly hot as the Scorchers hosted the cool blue Adelaide Strikers. With Herschelle Gibbs and Mike Hussey failing to fire, the Scorchers turned to opener Shaun Marsh and middle order batsman Adam Voges. They put on a show, and an 82 run partnership to push the Scorchers to 162 after a slow start. Marsh, out of form and favour, displayed solid form during his 58, belting 3 sixes and looking a much better player. Voges, with 57, also wielded the willow with confidence. Gary ‘Iceman’ Putland finished with 2-39 and looked to be the most damaging of the Strikers bowlers.
Enter Phil Hughes. Looking in fine form playing in South Australia, after switching from New South Wales this season, the left-hander smashed 74 off just 49 balls, but only the one six. His return to form helped secure a six wicket win for the Adelaide men. Fellow left-hander Nathan Reardon chipped in with 42, one of his three sixes a cannon-ball like shot twenty rows back straight down the ground.
Local hero Brad Hogg was at his athletic best, and took 1/33 from his four overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Edmondson and Joe Mennie each picked up one scalp.
PERS 6/162, ADES 4/164