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Maiden hundreds, a stunning catch and stubborn bails

Last updated on 16 Dec 2021 | 09:54 AM
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Maiden hundreds, a stunning catch and stubborn bails

With no Big Bash action for a few days, we look back at some top moments from the first 13 matches of the 2021/22 season

The 2021/22 season of the Big Bash League (BBL) had a dull start. In the lung-opener, despite a batting masterclass from Josh Philippe and Moises Henriques, it wasn’t a desirable cricket spectacle as Melbourne Stars were bowled out for mere 61. There was a clear absence of competitiveness. David Hussey, the Stars’ coach didn’t mince words in admitting that they were playing with a bunch of kids. They were missing Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile and their overseas signings in Qais Ahmed and Andre Russell. 

The league has since picked up pace, thanks to the batters who lit up the stage. In the five days before the break in the league, we witnessed three hundreds and two scores in 90s.

The first of these hundreds came from Colin Munro, in Match 9 against Adelaide Strikers. It was a strange knock. It attracted quite a bit of criticism to begin with. Yes, the Strikers offered free runs as extras but Munro managed only 18 runs from his first 30 balls. Such kind of starts are tricky because if you don’t make up for the apathy in the end then your contribution goes south. But Munro recovered and he recovered alright. 

He faced 43 more deliveries and smashed 96 runs off them, thus amassing his maiden BBL ton. Finishing at 114*, Munro now holds the highest individual score for a Perth Scorchers’ batsman. 

Three days later, Mitchell Marsh arrived at the BBL and took it by storm. Serving his time with Australia A, where he scored a blazing half-century against England Lions, he just continued from there, amassing his maiden BBL ton. It was also a throwback to his knock in the victorious T20 World Cup final. Both the innings took off with a six and a four, despite coming early in the innings. Here, he walked out in the first over itself and cleared his intentions. Alongside, he also anchored Scorchers to a match-winning score and brought up his hundred on the penultimate ball of the innings. 

In the subsequent game, it was Glenn Maxwell’s turn to bring up his maiden BBL ton. With the team losing early wickets, Maxwell first anchored the innings. He brought up his slowest BBL half-century, in 36 balls, which is still pretty fast. His next 50 came in only 18 balls. The Big Show displayed his full range of innovation.

Yet, the team reached only 178 as the others contributed only 65 off 63 balls. On a good pitch, Philippe turned the chase into a cakewalk. He finished it with a six, ending the game at unbeaten 99. 

Not to forget Matthew Wade’s 93 right before Munro’s ton. He was involved in a 111-run opening stand with DArcy Short which was reminiscent to many of our college projects where one guy would do a majority of the work. 

Except a shocking drop by Rashid Khan, the catching standards have been quite high this BBL, set by the 19-year old Jake Fraser-McGurk himself. He certainly enjoyed catching this one out of thin air.

But the same should not be attempted by the untrained hands in the stands. Maybe it is time to distribute helmets to the crowds. It is never a pretty sight when this happens.

In miscellaneous moments, here is Qais Ahmad acknowledging a wicket with socially distant celebration. Him and Andre Russell, the overseas signings of the squad joined the league late. They are allowed to play but are advised not to come close to anyone, even if that is on the field. It makes less sense but it is what it is. 

In the same match, the zing bails refused to budge. In an excellent setup, the young leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha was summoned to counter the beat of Russell, that too in the surge over. The youngster did quite well, conceding only 8 runs off his first five balls. On the last, he almost had the better of the batsman. His flighted delivery found its way to hit the stumps on the front. But the bails didn’t fall. 

“The ball hit the stump like hard, happy to still be batting and have a laugh about it,” admitted Russell after the match. He also applauded Sangha’s brave heart. “He was doing really well, (bowling) into my body and mixing up his pace. He has a bright future. He’s not afraid to bowl in the power surge over to me. He did well, so hats off to him,” concluded Russell.

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