The Big Bash is back, last year’s undefeated team has lost two in a row, the Thunder won something, and a bunch of guys made 90+ including some guy called Jacques Kallis.
Here’s Round 1 in review.
Adelaide Strikers versus Melbourne Stars (Adelaide Oval)
Two words. Tim. Ludeman. We’d seen the potential of his talent with a 43-ball 71 back in BBL02, but he only compiled 84 runs across the whole of BBL03.
Smash 91, hello fastest fifty in the BBL, goodbye Stars. Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen looked good for the Stars, but with tiny contributions from everyone else their 148 never looked like being enough.
Sure enough it wasn’t, the Strikers wiped them out in just 12.3 overs going at a lazy 11.93rp/o. Unexpected, but very entertaining.
Sydney Sixers versus Melbourne Renegades (SCG)
Matt Wade, Aaron Finch and Callum Ferguson all made starts at the top of the order, with some late hitting from the West Indian pair of Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell lifting them to 154.
On paper their bowling looked like it might have just enough to defend that total, but Nic Maddinson had other ideas, belting an unbeaten 84 off 54 balls to guide the Sixers to a relatively easy victory with an over to spare.
Melbourne Stars versus Hobart Hurricanes (MCG)
Most of the Hurricanes innings was pretty sedate until Darren Sammy went ballistic in their final couple of overs.
Jonathan Wells made 68 off 44, but at the other end it was Sammy’s 38 off just 12 balls, helping the Hurricanes pile on 47 runs in the last two overs, that was the difference. Poor Dan Worrall finishing with 0/60 off his four overs as a result.
Cam White was back in the runs with a solid 62 for the stars, but didn’t get much help from his team mates, in the end falling 52 runs short of the Hurricanes’ 190.
Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat (Stadium Australia)
Two old guys had a field day in lime green on Sunday night, both of them just missing out on tons. Mike Hussey holed out for 96, and once he departed Jacques Kallis turned it up to 11 to finish 97* at the end of the Thunder’s innings of 1/208.
The loss of early wickets saw the Heat’s required rate rocket, and they couldn’t pull it back. Chris Lynn and Nathan Reardon looked good, but both fell before reaching their 50s. The Heat lost their last six wickets for just 19 runs to lose by 56.
Sydney Thunder remain undefeated in BBL04.
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Round 2 tips
So my tipping in Round 1 was abysmal, picking just one out of four, and that one being the Thunder. Round 2 doesn’t look any easier to pick given that we haven’t seen the Scorchers yet, and two teams have double headers, but here goes.
Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers (WACA)
The Scorchers will kick off their title defence at home against the Strikers. Brad Hogg is out for the Scorchers, and Tait is out for the Strikers.
The Scorchers are very strong at home, and will be looking to prove that a few fresh faces in their squad won’t change their winning ways. Scorchers to win, provided Tim Ludeman doesn’t go mental again.
Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers (Blundstone Arena)
Recent contests between these two have been tight, with the head-to-head sitting at two-all. Hales, Paine and Bailey only contributed 21 between them in their first match, if they switch on, look out.
Hurricanes will be too strong at home.
Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades (WACA)
This one looks like becoming a regular Boxing Day fixture in the West. The Renegades are yet to get a win against the Scorchers, and they’ll need to bowl better than they did against the Sixers if they are to break that streak.
However, I’m going to go against what my brain is telling me and pick the Renegades.
Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers (Stadium Australia)
The Thunder will be pretty pleased, having back-to-back games at home, especially after handing the Brisbane Heat a big loss on Sunday.
Big question is, can the men in green pull off consecutive wins? Let’s be daring and say that they can, especially if the old boys at the top of the order are still seeing them like beachballs. Thunder to go 2-0.