We are halfway through the Big Bash League (BBL) 2022-23 and as we approach the business end of the season, the fight for a place in the finals (top-five) is heating up.
The first week of the tournament was an absolute blast and Anirudh Suresh in his article, summarized all the action. However, what has happened since then?
There have been plenty of moments that have left the cricketing circles in awe, be it awesome catching or big hits out of the park. But before we get into that let’s see how the teams have fared after 30 matches:
Sydney Thunder have been the most impressive side. After winning just one out of their first four matches, they have gone on to win four on the bounce to see themselves second. Sydney Sixers too have done well to stay in contention for a place in the next round, especially after losing their first two games, while Melbourne Renegades in their previous game avoided losing five in a row by successfully defending 141 against Stars.
Now let’s skip to the good part…
What made headlines?
In the Melbourne derby, Stars skipper Adam Zampa was the biggest headline maker when he ran Tom Rogers out at the non-striker’s end. There was disbelief on the face of Rogers but he accepted his fate and began to walk back. However, the umpires wanted the third umpire to make the final call. The third umpire in the replays observed that Zampa had completed his bowling action when Rogers left the crease, and ruled that not out.
That was good enough to rile Rogers up as he decimated Stars’ batting line-up with a dream spell of 5 for 16 to bowl them out for 108, chasing 142.
While Zampa said that he was well within his right to run the batter out, more so, after the latest tweak in the rulebook stating that it was a legitimate way to run a batter out, Stars coach David Hussey though said that he would have withdrawn the appeal if it was given out. Hmmm…The skipper and the coach clearly need to sit and sort that one out.
Of course, we cannot forget the acrobatic Michael Neser catch at the boundary, which will be debated for a long time. According to the rules, as long as the fielder’s first and final touch of the ball is inside the boundary, it’s not a four or a six. Neser did one better, he not just saved the boundary, but held on to the catch as well. That was some way to start 2023, wasn’t it?!
Not too long ago at the Gabba, Matt Renshaw too did something similar, when he took the catch, tossed the ball inside the boundary and while the ball was still in the air, jumped with both feet in the air and flicked the ball to the fielder in play all in one motion. That was adjudged as a fair catch and so was this one by Neser.
It turned out to be an important catch as Jordan Silk (41 off 23) was threatening to take the game away from Brisbane Heat, in pursuit of 225. In the end, Sydney Sixers could manage just 209.
That’s on the roof!
On new year’s eve, Alex Ross came in at a time that was tailor-made for him with 20 balls left. Having smacked a six already, Ross went one step further: he not just hit a six, he cracked a 103M hit that crashed into the roof of the Lavingston Sports Oval.
Just about 550 kms north-east, a few days later, another hard-hitting batter Colin Munro smashed the roof at the North Sydney Oval en route his 14-ball 38, just flicked Sean Abbott on the roof over deep mid-wicket. Nothing outrageous about it, but just pure timing.
The match also saw the best of Neser with the bat. In a rain-curtailed Neser smashed five fours and three sixes to register his highest T20 score of 45* off 18 deliveries. You just can’t keep him out of the game, can you? However, despite Heat reaching 147 for 6 from 13 overs, the match was called off due to rain.
It’s a Tye!
Andrew Tye has done a brilliant job in the BBL with 13 wickets at 16.23 for Perth Scorchers so far. Over the years, he has proved to be a clever bowler with his variations but the one thing that caught our attention this time around is off-field antics.
In case you missed that, as impossible as it is, here’s another stare-down by the pacer, not on the pitch where he’s bowling an intimidating spell, but in the comfort of his dugout. Make of it what you want!
Former Australia captain Tim Paine returned to the BBL for the first time in five years after Matthew Wade was slapped with a one-match suspension. Paine took the gloves for the Christmas Eve clash against Melbourne Renegades.
Since his last game in the BBL, he took over as Australia's captain, lost a Test by over 400 runs, Steven Smith and David Warner returned to international cricket, retained the Ashes in England, lost two home Test series to India, Australia won their maiden T20 World Cup, and even stepped down as captain under embarrassing circumstances.
Ramp shots galore
Speaking of Wade, over the last two years or so, he has turned Australia’s designated finisher, coming down the order to take his side over the line. However, he plays a different role with Hobart Hurricanes, coming up the order in a bid to maximize scoring opportunities.
In one such encounter against Sydney Thunder at Albury, Wade whose side were chasing 229 decided to have a bit of fun. He smashed Brendan Doggett for three sixes. I know what you’re thinking. So what right?
What if I tell you all three were ramp shots played behind the wicket?
A thousand words…
Christian’s still got it
Dan Christian has won T20 titles all around the world and the all-rounder barely has anything to prove anymore. Since then, he has even taken up coaching jobs, although for a brief period with the Netherlands side, ahead of the T20 World Cup.
With 15 needed off 17 deliveries, the sensible thing may have been to perhaps do it with ones and twos. But four deliveries are all the 39-year-old needed as he dispatched Kane Richardson to the fence with utmost ease.
Matthew Short who has had a sensational tournament so far, scored an unbeaten ton as he led Adelaide Strikers to a successful massive run-chase against the Hurricanes. Chasing 230, Short and Chris Lynn, two of whom are fighting for the top two spots for the leading run-getter put on 124 off just 58 deliveries to set up the platform. However, it was Short who batted through to hand his side a seven-wicket victory with just three balls remaining.
In fact, Short got to his ton with a boundary when there were four runs required to win and registered the highest successful run-chase in BBL history.
Michael Neser, in the form of his life — with bat and ball
Dissecting Australia’s WTC, Ashes squad ft Warner, Marsh and Neser
Decoding Matthew Short, Punjab’s latest recruit
Adam Zampa: Disappointed with snub but Test cricket remains a burning desire
Sparkling Smith ton headlines eventful week in BBL 12
What happened in week one of the Big Bash League?
A lit BBL season of thunderous batting, electrifying fielding and close finishes
Game of the tournament, unbelievable catches and a historic hundred
BBL 2021/22: Low down for every team