Round 2 of the Big Bash league produced a mix of outstanding individual performances, edge of your seat finishes and some downright ugly cricket/situations.
Lasith Malinga produced one of the most dominant individual efforts T20 cricket has ever seen. His final figures of 4 overs, 1 maiden, 6 wickets for 7 runs were the second best ever recorded in domestic T20s and the best taken in the Big Bash. Four of those wickets came from his apparent unreadable slower ball that made batsmen look foolish more often than not. But the batsmen going out to Malinga weren’t the only ones to look silly on the night after the match referee incorrectly sent the players back onto the ground to face one delivery after a rain delay. The Duckworth/Lewis method deemed that the par score after 5 overs was 20 and Melbourne was already on 29, meaning the extra ball wasn’t required. The incorrectly bowled extra ball was expunged as it affected the net run rate, while the original result of 10 wickets was changed to 24 runs to replicate the 2 over par score target of 6. It was an extremely messy situation that even affected some betting markets.
Thankfully, the Strikers vs Heat game got the Big Bash back in the good books of the cricket world with occurances that had to be seen to be believed. It had it all, high scoring, brilliant death bowling, spectacular catches and a dramatic last ball finish. Chris Hartley hit the last ball for four after it appeared Callum Ferguson had successfully dived and fielded the stroke, but the cameras revealed the truth, just adding to the match situation theatrics. What else could you ask for?
Sydney Sixers ($1.50) vs Perth Scorchers ($2.55) at the SCG, Sunday 16th December.
Starting Time: 19:00 (local)
Sydney Sixers lead all encounters 2-0.
Last encounter (28th January, 2012, BBL01 Final)
Perth Scorchers 5/156 from 20 overs (M Marsh 77no, Collingwood 32, North 2, Lee 2/21, Starc 2/40)
Sydney Sixers 3/158 from 18.5 overs (Henriques 70, O’Keefe 46, Smith 21no, Edmondson 2/30)
Sydney Sixers won by 7 wickets
The replay of last year’s BBL01 final doesn’t quite have the same attraction with the Scorchers starting the new season in horrible form. Perth succumbed to a record Big Bash low of 69 against the Stars in round 2, being the merciless victims of Lasith Malinga’s slower balls that couldn’t be read. Although there is some positive news with the confirmation of Shaun Marsh being available after a hamstring strain. T20 death bowling specialist Alfonso Thomas will make his debut and should have an immediate impact. This is the first of two consecutive east coast games for the Scorchers that will be played over 3 nights.
The Sixers have lost David Warner and Mitch Starc to the Test against Sri Lanka but will be excited to see West Indian mystery finger spinner make his debut for the franchise. His T20 stats speak for themself and he is sure to be one of the biggest recruits of the competition.
Despite the inclusion of Shaun Marsh, the Scorchers still look far too short for depth in the batting department. The Sixers should knock them off convincingly. The $1.50 odds are value.
Prediction: Sydney Sixers by 40 runs/3 wickets
Brisbane Heat ($?) vs Perth Scorchers ($?) at the GABBA, Tuesday 18th December.
Starting Time: 18:30 (local)
Only Previous Encounter (29th December 2011)
Perth Scorchers 8/162 from 20 overs (North 40, Gibbs 38, M Marsh 33, Neser 2/23, Christian 2/27)
Brisbane Heat 6/152 from 20 overs (Forrest 59, Hayden 33, Edmondson 2/33, Rimmington 2/36)
Perth won by 10 runs.
The Brisbane Heat are coming off one of the greatest victories you could ever hope for. Needing 15 runs to win in the last over, it got down to 4 off the last delivery with Chris Hartley on strike. He successfully hit the winning boundary through the off side despite the best efforts of Callum Ferguson. The Heat are sure to be on a high after such a performance and will carry serious momentum into this game. They are likely to keep a very similar line up. Kemar Roach has finally arrived after being stranded in transit and will make his debut for the Heat. Mitchell Johnson will not be available for selection after the birth of his first child.
Not much more to add about Perth apart from this being the 2nd game of a tough three night east coast stint.
Again, the Scorchers will be struggling to make enough runs. Bowling is certainly the strength of the Heat.
Prediction: Brisbane Heat by 30 runs/4 wickets
Melbourne Renegades ($?) vs Hobart Hurricanes ($?) at Etihad Stadium, Wednesday 19 December.
Starting Time: 19:00
Only Previous Encounter
Melbourne Renegades 4/173 from 20 overs (Finch 67, Hodge 63, Krejza 3/39)
Hobart Hurricanes 3/174 from 19.5 overs (Wells 72, Shah 49 no, Birt 25)
Hobart won by 7 wickets.
The Melbourne Renegades have certainly been the surprise packet of the competition and continue to lead the points table. While the pace bowling still appears to be the Renegades main weakness, the spinners have certainly had a huge impact. O’Brien, Murali and Samuels took 6 of the 7 wickets against the Thunder, with all three operating at very respectful economy rates. The drop in pitches of Etihad Stadium and ANZ Stadium appear to be helping these types of finger spinners. Finch and Rohrer again got the bulk of the runs, but there were encouraging signs from Cooper, Nevill and Sheridan in the middle over to guide them home.
The Hurricanes fought hard against the Stars after being restricted to 134 due to some excellent bowling. The impressive reverse in fortunes of Doug Bollinger and Ben Laughlin were the catalyst for the game going into the final over. They combined for 5/36 from 8 overs and if that form continues, they are every chance to knock off the league leaders.
This looks like the match of the round. You could really go either way. Slightly favouring the Hurricanes due to a stronger pace attack. The Finch/Samuels and Birt/Shah wickets will be critical as usual.
Prediction: Hurricanes by 5 runs/4 wickets
Sydney Thunder ($?) vs Adelaide Strikers ($?) at ANZ Stadium, Thursday 20th December.
Starting Time: 19:00 (local)
Only Previous Encounter (23rd December 2011)
Adelaide Strikers 8/155 from 20 overs (Botha 41, Borgas 24, Blizzard 20, Abbott 2/20, Edwards 2/35)
Sydney Thunder 4/156 from 18.3 overs (Gayle 100no, O’Brien 3/26)
Thunder won by 6 wickets
This is an important game for the Thunder as a loss will make it very difficult to catch the Top 4. At this early point of the tournament, they don’t have any names in the leading 15 run scorers of the tournament, nor do they feature in the Top 10 wicket takers. The early wicket of Gayle against the Renegades put them on the back foot quickly. Despite batting the full 20 overs, they couldn’t even manage a run rate over 6 per over. Gayle does enjoy batting against the Strikers, having produced an unbeaten century at last year’s corresponding fixture.
The Strikers will be looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking final ball loss to Brisbane. Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives to take out of the game including the brilliant death bowling of Kane Richardson. He continuously landed his fast yorkers, reaching speeds of 147.50kmph. Kieron Pollard looked dangerous on his return to Adelaide with 48 from 23 balls, even while struggling to hit the middle of the bat. It would be great viewing to see Pollard and Gayle fire on the same night.
The Strikers look in good form and should be too good. But if Chris Gayle can produce similar results to last year’s game, the Thunder are sure to win again.
Prediction: Adelaide by 20 runs/6 wickets.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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