Picking out the gems in the Big Bash
Big Bash League's Perth Scorchers (Image: Tenplay)
The Big Bash is the big thing in domestic cricket. T20 has captured the athleticism and freneticism of world cricket and the Ryobi and Bupa competitions pale in comparison.
James Pattinson looked especially zippy and took 4/24 in a match winning effort for Melbourne Renegades against the Hurricanes at Blunderstone. That is the only headline the Aussie selectors will cherish.
But Muttiah Muralidaran took 2/15 in three and only one over had more than eight taken from it in the Hurricanes’ innings of 111.
Tim Paine’s name keeps cropping up – 35 in that poor total was top score.
Aaron Finch registered yet another 50 in the Renegades’ effort of 161 and Ben Laughlin and Doug Bollinger were restrictive and dangerous, with five wickets between them.
Former Australian under 19 star Mike Hill had 40 in 29 balls to set a winning score for the Renegades with Aaron Finch. The latter is always considered for Australian T20 and one day selection. I wonder if he will ever experience Test cricket?
Shaun Tait, Johan Botha and a phenomenal effort from Mike Klinger were notable in the Strikers’ comfortable win over the Scorchers. Klinger totalled 86 no and was flawless.
The Scorchers’ total of 159 came thanks to the efforts of a resurgent Nathan Coulter-Nile’s late bash.
42 runs for the demon quick is something he has needed to do badly. It could be if he defends his wicket that well he will be in line for a batting promotion – and a place in the Aussie team to tour South Africa.
Certainly the Scorchers have lost two very close games to Brisbane and Adelaide when 10-15 runs more from their batsmen would have made all the difference.
Botha and Tim Armstrong’s fielding might have been an unlikely highlight of a hot night, but certainly Klinger was the difference. He is not out of Test cricket contention, or limited overs for that matter, with Australia.
Interesting that Adam Zampa continues to take wickets. He is a terrier, a determined individual with great buzz about him. Who knows where his leg spin will lead him?0
Shaun Tait was frighteningly wild and quick with 2/27 in four and Mike Nesser also has terrier qualities. His 3/27 in four stifled any hopes the Scorchers may have had of 170-200.
Perhaps the run out of Australian ODI selection, Shaun Marsh, was the deciding factor in the game. Still the Scorchers will think that Ashton Turner is coming on, Sam Whiteman too, and the bowling of Hoggy, Coulter-Nile and all-round efforts of Mitch Marsh are very heartening.
If Mike Hussey and Marcus North were in this Scorchers Squad they would be unstoppable.
Hussey experienced the highs and lows of a run chase against the Melbourne Stars for the luckless Sydney Thunder. His 66 had no support in a total of 155.
Tillakaratne Dilshan went for a blob which hurt. Jackson Bird and John Hastings put a clamp on the runs and took four wickets.
In reply the Stars cruised home when Brad Hodge cut loose in the late overs. Matt Wade hit a morale boosting 44 and Hodge had four sixes and five fours in his 64.
Dilshan and Scott Coyte went for 75 in seven overs when Hodge and David Hussey got on a roll. The Stars lost only three wickets in the chase on a rain affected night.
The Thunder’s life doesn’t get any easier. Mike Hussey has been recruited to bolster a line-up which lacks power hitting and wicket takers.
They might get luckier this Friday against the Scorchers in Perth. The reception will be especially hot for Hussey and so may the wicket and the conditions.
Batting first was not a panacea for the Scorchers last time they played at ‘the Furnace’ – they defended 117, the lowest winning total in Big Bash history.
Expect the quicks, such as Beherndorff and Marsh, to want to attack in the absence of Coulter-Nile.
That might play into Dilshan and Hussey’s hands.