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Big Bash League 06 Week 1 Review

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The second most attended cricket league on the planet is back and it surely has been an action-packed first week in Australia!

 

Match 1: Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers (20th December, 2016)

 

Starting off with a cross-town derby, Thunder made a very sobering start to their title defense as they were tamed by the Sixers comfortably with a margin of 9 wickets.

Sixers skipper Henriques led in a magnificent manner, taking all the right decisions at the right times. Rather than panicking when Thunder were carving out the Sixers bowling attack, he turned the innings on its head with the use of spin on a rather tacky surface. He was rightly named the Man of the Match.

Also making its debut was Andre Russell’s black bat. The bat surely made a lot of buzz as Sixers’ keeper Brad Haddin pointed out that the bat was leaving some black spots on the ball on contact. However, Russell failed to make an impact with his special bat as he only managed 9 runs off 7 deliveries. The bat was banned for the time being by Cricket Australia. But after certain modifications from the bat manufacturing giant Spartan, the bat was given a green light.

All in all Sixers surely managed to get better of their cross-town rivals after a long time.

Score: Sixers 160/1 (18) beat Thunder 159/8 (20).

 

Match 2: Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat (21st December, 2016)

 

Ben Dunk surely turned on the ‘HEAT’ in the Adelaide Oval with a blitzkrieg 52-ball 85. But it was in vain as the middle order failed to capitalize on it. They slowed down after Dunk’s dismissal and thus failed to chase a challenging 207-run target. Besides Dunk, Pollard also took two wickets on two consecutive deliveries. However, all this wasn’t enough for a Strikers’ victory.

It looked as if the match was a catch galore. First, was a stunner plucked by Kieron Pollard off Chris Jordan’s bowling in the 15th over. Chris Lynn wasn’t able to believe his eyes. The second wasn’t by one of the players but by an on duty security guard Vikas Chhikara. Sitting in a plastic chair, side on, up against the fence, the security guard showed off what could well be the safest pair of hands in Adelaide, nonchalantly catching a big six without so much as moving a muscle in his lower half.

There were surely some brilliant individual performances from the Heat camp, however McCullum’s boys denied them victory with a perfect team performance.

Score: Heat 206/5 (20) beat Strikers 196/6 (20).

 

Match 3: Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder (22nd December, 2016)

 

The Thunder’s title defense faced another slump as they were defeated for the second time this week.

Leading the Renegades’ batting attack was the second ranked T20 batsman in the world and their skipper Aaron Finch. He bashed the Thunder for a 37-ball 63 before getting out in the 12th over. Finch proved why he was the best-ranked Australian T20 batsman with his performance. After releasing Chris Gayle due to the pitch-side controversy in the last season, the Renegades’ captain surely has an increased responsibility.

It was a disappointing night for the Thunder’s 18-year old Arjun Nair after he was taken off the attack after just one over in which he conceded 14 runs. He stated that he had learnt bowling by watching Sunil Narine’s bowling videos on YouTube. His teacher Narine, on the other hand, had a decent game with figures of 2 for 32 in four overs.

Thunder, however, can expect their woes to end as Shane Watson is making a fast recovery from the calf strain he suffered against Cantebury in a warm up game. Also, Pat Cummins has been disciplined with his bowling and crucial with his bat. Surprisingly, he is currently the leader on the Sixes Leaderboard with 7 big ones.

Score: Renegades 179/7 (20) beat Thunder 130/10 (19.1).

 

 

Match 4: Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes (23rd December, 2016)

 

Debutant D’Arcy Short was the hero of the match for Hobart with his quick fire 61 off 29 deliveries and also a wicket with his left-arm spin.

They posted a challenging total of 200 with help from skipper Paine’s 63.

Sixers had a slight hope of winning after a 20-run first over. However, the run rate started gripping from there on as Cliver Rose scalped 2 wickets for 14 runs. Broad didn’t have a memorable debut as he was thrashed for 35 runs in his 3 overs. Shaun Tait fired up late, picking up 3 wickets. He ended up with figures of 3-32 in 3.2 overs, a great recovery after the 20-run first over.

Score: Hurricanes 200/6 (20) beat Sixers 140/10 (16.2)

 

 

Match 5:  Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers (23rd December, 2016)

 

This week wasn’t good for the Strikers as well, as they lost to Scorchers by a 48-run difference.

The recent drop out from the English Test Team, Ian Bell showed his class with a 42-ball 61. Another highlight for the Scorchers was Mitchell Johnson, who returned to competitive cricket after an 18 month gap with a bang. He had 3 scalps to his name and was looking in good touch even after such a long break.

The only man who provided resistance for the Strikers was skipper Brad Hodge with a 33-ball 56. He slammed four consecutive fours off Richardson.

While Scorchers showed that they are the most consistent team in the league for a reason, Strikers’ next chance to get back on track will be against the Sixers in the next round.

On a lighter note, we got to hear Ricky Ponting sing Mark Waugh’s song.

Score: Scorchers 197/7 (20) beat Strikers 149/9 (20)

 

Match 6: Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars (26th December, 2016)

 

It was a Boxing Day opener for the Melbourne Stars and they delivered a good result. Even though they were missing their overseas star Kevin Pietersen, they performed pretty well.

The first innings was a roller-coaster ride for Hobart as they were down to 32-3 in the 5th over, thanks to Hilfenhaus’ two consecutive strikes. However, it was a Paine Train for the Cane Train. Skipper Tim Paine played a brave knock of 91 to keep his drowning team afloat. He was supported amazingly by the ever-smiling George Bailey with another good knock of 74. Even after their initial slump, Hurricanes posted a challenging total of 188 on the board.

Rob Quiney had made up his mind and went on the attacking front right from the start. He played a man of the match award deserving innings of 75 from 66 balls. Supported by a quick 48 from Englishman Luke Wright and Glenn ‘The Big Show’ Maxwell’s 58, the Stars cruised to a comfortable 7-wicket victory.

Score: Stars 191/3 (17.4) beat Hurricanes 188/4 (20).

 

 

Match 7: Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers (27th December, 2016)

 

Perth Scorchers showed a dismal performance, having been defeated by the Sixers by 6 wickets.

It was a low-scoring fixture, with Scorchers only managing 130 runs in their 20 overs. The entire Sixers bowling unit contributed to restricting the two-time champions to a small total. Henriques once again displayed marvelous captaincy. Also, Johan Botha pulled of an excellent boundary catch to get Whiteman out off Abbott in the 9th over. He was awarded the Man of the Match award for his all-round performance.

The Sixers’ innings was a slow one as well. They looked in no hurry to finish off the game. The highest scorer for the Sixers was Billings with a 30-ball 40. The Sixers’ avoided taking any risks and cruised comfortably towards victory.

This is going to be a major boost for the Sixers as they have comfortably beaten the two time champions.

Score: Sixers 132/4 (18) beat Scorchers 130/8 (20)

 

 

The current standings are as follows:

 

 

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