BBL|04: The big final heads to Canberra and neutral territory

Nic Maddinson at the MCG (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Nic Maddinson at the MCG (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Manuka Oval.  The “one in the middle of nowhere”, as most cricket purists and watchers might say.

For the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers, the middle of nowhere is home tomorrow night.  One of the two sides will be vying for their second Big Bash League trophy, though the Scorchers won’t want to lose hold of their defending champion’s title.

Last time they met, at the Sydney Cricket Ground before the New Year, the Scorchers upset the Sixers, much to the chagrin of the home fans.  It was a night for the bowlers, with no batsman scoring over 36. Continue reading

BBL|04 delivered, sparkled, thrilled and excited: the moments of madness, records and big, big scores

Ben Rohrer takes a bouncer on the rise against Brisbane (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Ben Rohrer takes a bouncer on the rise against Brisbane (photo: Davis Harrigan)

When the competition was a fledgling hatched from the egg, now all the way back in the 2011-2012 season, the criticism that a city-based team tournament wouldn’t work came from every which way.  Geoff Hutchison, writing for ABC show The Drum a little over three years ago, wrote that “At the Big Bash, anything goes.  Everything is great; but the cricket was secondary to everything else.”

Everything about it has gone upwards and onwards – not to stardom, but to a level where the fans are breaking ground crowd records, and the overseas imports have been stepped up a level. Continue reading

Super Over seals the deal for Stars against the Sixers

Michael Lumb scored 80 off 61 (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Michael Lumb scored 80 off 61 (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Having won the toss and deciding to bowl on a flat, hard MCG pitch, the Melbourne Stars needed early wickets to keep the Sydney Sixers on a leash.  No-one expected what was to come, or the Super Over.

After a last-ditch effort to score 15 runs in the final over of their innings, the Stars finished 4/150 – equalling the Sixers 6/150 earlier in the night.  The 22,098 fans in the stands made the noise of 50,000, such was the intensity of the Super Over. Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Round One View

The star of BBL|03 round 1, Chris Lynn (ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

The star of BBL|03 round 1, Chris Lynn (ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

The entertainment started on Friday, December 20, and concluded two days later.  It was not the smoothest opening round, with the Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers match washed out in Hobart. Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades: the keys

Stars v Renegades banner (Google Images)

Stars v Renegades banner (Google Images)

In BBL|03, the Melbourne Stars slogan is: “all or nothing.”  Across the city in Docklands, the Melbourne Renegades want you to “get on red.”
Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Season Three: the attraction

BBL 03 teams (photo from icricketbuzz.com)

BBL 03 teams (photo from icricketbuzz.com)

SHOWTIME

The Big Bash League (and a full-on summer of cricket) is ready to grab our attention once again.  Seven weeks of action include 32 group stage matches and three finals, from December 20 2013 to February 7 2014.

Reigning champions the Brisbane Heat have compiled another strong squad; the Melbourne Renegades continue to attract fans after a surprise BBL|02, and the Sydney Thunder have recruited batting superstar Mike Hussey. Continue reading

Cricket: State v State back again after the Big Bash Final

Usman Khawaja, for the Sydney Thunder, 8 Jan 2013 (photo mine)

Usman Khawaja, for the Sydney Thunder, 8 Jan 2013 (photo mine)

The bright colours will be gone next week from the Australian state scene, with domestic one-day cricket and first-class competitions kicking off after the furious Big Bash League.

Even with the quality of cricket on show for the better part of six weeks, it will be a welcome switch for a lot of the traditional cricket fans out there.  State cricket is by no means dwindling, and seriously needs to be the platform from where the next generation of cricketers are selected.

Now, I have nothing against the Big Bash; it’s fun, allows a whole heap of players to get a taste of top level cricket, and can draw some big crowds and new faces. Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Home and Away Team Reviews

Brad Hodge v Melbourne Renegades, Jan 6, 2013 (photo mine)

Brad Hodge v Melbourne Renegades, Jan 6, 2013 (photo mine)

It was a competition full of surprises, monster sixes, and above all, some great cricket (even if there was a bit of controversy, but hey, that’s normal!)

In this review I’ll take a look at all eight teams during their ‘home & away’ campaign during their eight matches.  There was a whole lot of mayhem throughout.  On the upside, TV ratings for the Big Bash were fantastic.  The crowds were also very engaged, especially at the two Melbourne Derby clashes.

Fox Sports once again has provided us with excellent, if not biased, coverage of every game.  The insights that the likes of Damien Fleming and Brendon Julian offer is second to none.

Continue reading

Cricket: Round 1 Big Bash League action wrap-up

Aaron FInch bats against the Melbourne Stars (sourced from The Australian)

Aaron FInch bats against the Melbourne Stars (sourced from The Australian)

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. Continue reading

Cricket: Under The Microscope: Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers

Perth Scorchers

Perth Scorchers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this final Big Bash League series of previews, the Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers go under the hammer as we near the start of BBL|02.

The Strikers had a strong team but were somewhat underwhelming in terms of results.  The Scorchers, meanwhile, made the BBL|01 and took it right up to eventual champions the Sydney Sixers.

The Strikers will be facing some tough competition, after losing key all-rounder Andrew McDonald to injury.  The Justin Langer (coach) lead Scorchers have got firepower once again.

Key players include: Continue reading