Welcome to the Round 5 BBL05 preview. The Big Bash League flexed its muscle during the fourth round of its fifth instalment. There were brilliant individual performances, tight finishes and truly enormous crowds. It proved that this competition is fast approaching the IPL as the best T20 product in the world and it possesses further scope to become even better.
In a group of matches that conjured many highlights, there were two in particular that stood out above the rest. Travis Head’s century against the Sydney Sixers was as dramatic as you get. Needing 51 runs from 18 balls to win, Head took it upon himself to score all the required runs to get the victory and secure a memorable ton. The other significant occurrence wasn’t on the field, but in the stands. The Melbourne Derby attracted a crowd that not only broke records, but as Stephen Fleming described it, “send absolute shockwaves through the cricketing world”. 80,883 turned up, breaking the previous BBL record crowd by nearly 30,000 people. That amount of people aren’t supposed to attend domestic cricket and the MCG was ridiculously underprepared for the masses. It is a true reflection of the Big Bash growth and it is beginning to ease the fears that cricket is dying in popularity.
Perth to win head to head @ $1.90
BRISBANE HEAT ($2.40) VS SYDNEY THUNDER ($1.57)
AT THE GABBA, SUNDAY 03/01, 19:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Thunder 1/208 (Kallis 97no, Hussey 96) defeated Heat 152 (Reardon 49, Lynn 40, Sandhu 3/19, McDonald 3/20, Cummins 2/21) by 56 runs at ANZ Stadium.
The Brisbane Heat fell to its fourth consecutive loss of BBL05 against the Hobart Hurricanes, going down by 15 runs. Wicket taking was again the downfall for the Heat as Hobart ended its innings at 4/194. Brisbane could have easily fallen away at 2/7 in the second over, but a brilliant century from Chris Lynn gave his side every opportunity for victory. His 101 from 51 balls looked like being enough, but once Cameron Boyce secured the key wicket of Lynn, Brisbane’s chances fell away quickly. It was the first individual century in Big Bash history to not result in a win for that batsman’s team. Without Lynn, it could have been a far uglier night for Brisbane.
The Sydney Thunder have lost its first game of BBL05, going down to the Hobart Hurricanes by 11 runs. The Thunder started well by restricting a strong Hobart batting order to 6/163, but the loss of Kallis and Watson during the opening over of its innings put them on the back foot quickly. Michael Hussey did all he could to keep his side afloat with 71 from 51 balls, but a collapse of four wickets in six balls during the seventeenth and eighteenth overs ruined his earlier good work. Needing only 32 from 21 balls with Hussey and Russell at the crease, the Thunder will be dirty to have let this match slip.
Unfortunately we can no longer get decent odds for games against the Heat. The Thunder should bounce back comfortably.
Prediction: Sydney Thunder to win by 20-25 runs/7 wickets
HOBART HURRICANES ($1.76) VS MELBOURNE RENEGADES ($2.07)
AT BLUNDSTONE ARENA, MONDAY 04/01, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Renegades 7/163 (Stokes 77, Ferguson 31, Hilfenhaus 3/32, Boyce 2/34) defeated Hurricanes 126 (Winter 3/19, Fawad 2/13, Siddle 2/15, Shakib 2/33) by 37 runs at Blundstone Arena.
After opening BBL05 terribly, the Hobart Hurricanes have got its season back on track with three consecutive wins to see it sit equal top of the table. The Hurricanes would have wanted more than 163 against the undefeated Thunder, but another good bowling performance saw to snatch two very important points. Shaun Tait was the match winner with 3/16 from four overs, turning around his poor effort against the Heat. Jake Reed and Cameron Boyce again provided excellent support with 5 wickets between them, including the key wickets of Hussey, Russell, Rohrer and Blizzard. If Hobart can continue producing such disciplined standards with the ball, they will feature deep into this tournament.
The Melbourne Renegades are on the brink of losing touch with the top four after falling to a third consecutive loss. The Renegades are making big enough totals to win games, but they are seriously lacking a genuine strike bowler. The team in red have only taken 3 wickets in its last two games as Klinger and Marsh ran down 170 unbeaten, while the Stars comfortably chased 161 with only three polls lost. The Renegades are probably victims of a changing Australian pace attack. When major list management decisions were being made, there was a good chance that both Pattinson and Siddle would be available for the tournament. But the retirements of Johnson and Harris, plus injuries to Starc, Cummins and Coulter-Nile has meant that Pattinson and Siddle have played more cricket for Australia than even they could have imagined. It isn’t something that is easily fixed either.
Batting wise, these two sides are very similar. It will probably be won with the ball and based on form, Hobart have more wicket taking options.
Prediction: Hobart to win by 10 runs/4 wickets
ADELAIDE STRIKERS ($1.90) VS PERTH SCORCHERS ($1.90)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL, TUESDAY 05/01, 19:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Scorchers 6/151 (S.Marsh 47, Voges 45, Laughlin 2/20, Rashid 2/21) lost to Strikers 6/152 (Jayawardene 42, Ross 38, Willey 2/24, Paris 2/39) by 4 wickets at the WACA.
The Adelaide Strikers won its third game of BBL05 on New Year’s Eve against the Sixers, but it will be the innings of Travis Head that will be remembered forever and go into Big Bash folklore. With the Strikers needing 51 runs off the last 18 balls of the innings, the game looked all but over with Head on only 45
after the 17th over. Little could we have imagined at that time Head would not only go on to score 100% of the required runs to win the game, but a few extra to bring up arguably the greatest century in Big Bash history. His final 56 runs were hit from from 15 deliveries, of which 45 came directly from nine Sean Abbott deliveries. They are numbers deemed even ridiculous in this fast scoring T20 era of cricket. It is probably now time that Adelaide’s top three start living up to its part of the bargain, as the middle order can’t continue saving games at this rate.
The Perth Scorchers are absolutely flying after pulling off consecutive 10 and 9 wicket victories on the back of its outstanding bowling attack. The return of Jason Behrendorff after Christmas has seen the bowlers gel perfectly. They are getting 20 overs out of five bowlers, with Willey, Paris, Hogg, Tye and as mentioned Behrendorff all contributing to the Perth cause. All five operated at 6 runs or under per over against the Sixers, creating enormous pressure on an already weakened batting order. Marsh and Klinger are finishing off the bowlers great work too, having contributed 236 runs together over those last two games. Shaun Marsh will be seen in Perth’s orange for a while longer too after missing selection again for the Sydney Test.
Perth had a stronger line up on paper for its loss to Adelaide earlier in the tournament, but many were coming straight back from longer format cricket and training. The bowlers are now in top notch form and Adelaide surely can’t keep relying on its middle order.
Prediction: Perth to win by 20 runs/6 wickets
MELBOURNE STARS ($1.67) VS HOBART HURRICANES ($2.22)
AT THE MCG, WEDNESDAY 06/01, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Hurricanes 5/190 (Wells 68, Dunk 43, Sammy 38no, Hastings 3/24) defeated Stars 138 (White 62, Hilfenhaus 4/27, Mennie 3/20) by 52 runs at the MCG
The Melbourne Stars are back in contention for the title after a fantastic Luke Wright century against the Renegades in front of a record Big Bash crowd of 80,883. A solid bowling performance, led by John Hastings’ 4/29 saw the Renegades restricted to 7/161, a total the Stars would have always felt comfortable chasing. The Stars were always travelling well, but as the run rate was climbing towards 10 an over, Luke Wright attempted to take on Tom Beaton at long on and was ultimately dropped. It was a big moment as Wright then went on to hit multiple boundaries and kill the game off. The Stars are beginning to awaken and are looking dangerous.
The Hobart Hurricanes hold no fear facing the Stars at the MCG, after smashing 5/190 in the opening week of BBL04 and running away to a brilliant 52 run win. It is difficult to imagine Hobart having it that comfortable again, but you can easily argue that its batting order is stronger this time around, while its bowling attack is hitting form just at the right time. George Bailey in particular has been dominant with 185 runs from four innings, having not scored under 27 and dangerously striking at 160 per 100 balls. He seems to make runs in any situation, which makes him arguably the most vital cog in the Hurricanes talented batting order.
The Stars are just starting to hit some significant form, but Hobart are playing good cricket. Check Hobart’s game against the Renegades before committing to this game. Despite Hobart’s value, it is hard to go against the Stars here.
Prediction: Melbourne Stars to win by 5-10 runs/4 wickets