The BBL is back and The Pinch Hitters couldn’t be happier to have cricket on the television each and every night of the summer. Week One has delivered surprise results, match-winning performances with bat and ball and all the action we have become accustomed to from the world’s premier domestic T20 competition. With Six games completed we now take a look at the Hits and Misses from a turbo charged opening week of BBL08.
1. Colin Ingram displays incredible sportsmanship.
On the opening night of BBL08, Adelaide Strikers Captain Colin Ingram turned what was becoming a tale of bewildering human error, into one of sportsmanship and goodwill. Late in their contest against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba, a close run out appeal against James Pattinson was given out by the Third Umpire despite the video evidence being inconclusive at best to the chagrin of the large pro-Heat crowd in attendance. Rather than profiting from this obvious error, Ingram approached the umpires and withdrew his teams appeal allowing Pattinson to bat on. While all cricketers are taught from a young age to accept the umpires decision, that Ingram would choose not to in the spirit of fair play was a wonderful moment in the history of The Big Bash.
2. The Heat’s last wicket stand.
When Majeep Ur Rahman joined Jimmy Peirson in the middle of the Gabba during the Heat’s innings against the Strikers the score was 9-101 and things looked decidedly bleak. By the time the 17-year-old Afghani was dismissed five overs later, the Brisbane team were still outsiders in the contest but after a BBL record 45-run last wicket stand they were at least in the fight. It was a lively stand between the pair with Ur Rahman particularly frustrating the Strikers bowlers with a better than run a ball 27.
3. Melbourne Renegades Fire.
After losing Dwayne Bravo to cross-town rivals the Stars, and openers Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris to Test duty, many including The Pinch Hitters predicted a tough year for the Renegades. After a tough start to BBL08, against last years minor premiers the Perth Scorchers and defending champions the Adelaide Strikers, the Renegades are two from two and looking like a genuine title chance. Against the Scorchers an outstanding bowling performance was supported by free-hitting from Mohammad Nabi and Sam Harper for their first ever victory over the Perth franchise. Away from home against the Strikers, Winviz considered them just a 12% chance at the halfway point of their chase, yet a mature partnership between Nabi and Dan Christian made a mockery of these odds. In just eight overs, the pair put on 94 runs to steal victory with five balls to spare.
4. A young gun fires his first shots.
Knowing the dangers inherent in making grand statements about young players, we will try and temper our excitement when discussing the debut knock of 19-year-old Jason Sangha for the Sydney Thunder against the Melbourne Stars. Already the owner of two First Class Centuries, Sangha’s potential is already well known to most Australian cricket fans despite this there was something extra exciting about him producing his array of shots in front of a big crowd in Canberra and in front of the tv at home. We wont lump any grand declarations upon him but will eagerly watch on to see how his career unfolds.
1. The bat toss.
Look we are sure that the boffins who thought of this one were positive that they were onto a winner here and we are equally sure that there are plenty of people who agree with them. However, when the tradition you are attempting to replicate produces an unfair advantage causing you to toss a bat with two ‘flats’ how did the concept continue past the workshop phase?
2. The Heat’s opening night missteps.
The Brisbane Heat’s batting lineup, headlined by Bash Brothers Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum, is one of the most exciting in the Big Bash. At home and in front of a big crowd on opening night the scene looked set for a big performance from this much vaunted lineup. Unfortunately it was not to be with the innings in total disarray after 12 overs with the Heat in serious trouble at 6-72.
3. Perth Scorchers stuttering start.
One of the powerhouses of the competition, the Perth Scorchers were expected to be contending once again this season but they have looked anything but in their first two matches. Able to muster just 103 runs against the Renegades they were defeated with 28 balls to spare. Things weren’t much better in their clash with the Sixers, despite the best efforts of their bowlers. Chasing the eminently gettable target of 165, the Scorchers top order failed once again and they fell short by 17 runs. Despite it being a longer competition this year, the Scorchers will need to discover their form soon or potentially find themselves in the unusual position of spectators come Semi Final time.
4. Duckworth Lewis.
While unable to nominate a better system, the Duckworth Lewis method for deciding T20 matches appears to be wildly inappropriate. There is no question that a target to be chased in eight overs needs to be a higher rate than that scored in 20, but on face value the 90 off eight overs the Stars were set for victory in response to the Thunder’s 181 off 20 seems a little high. It’s time mathematicians out there come up with a better system.