Day-4 of the 2016-17 Big Bash League had two one-sided games with the Hobart Hurricanes starting their campaign with a 60-run victory over the Sydney Sixers at Sydney, while the Adelaide Strikers succumbed to their second successive defeat of the league with a 48-run defeat to the Perth Scorchers at Perth.
In the first match of the day, the Hobart Hurricanes got off to a brilliant start after Sydney Sixers skipper Moises Henriques sent them to bat. Skipper Tim Paine and Twenty20 debutant D’Arcy Short put up an 81-run stand for the first wicket before Short was dismissed for a 29-ball 61. Paine made 63 before being dismissed by Sean Abbott in the 17th over.
The remainder of the Scorchers’ batting did not have much to offer and they finished at 200 for 6 at the end of 20 overs. Barring Johan Botha, who conceded only 21 runs and took a wicket in his four overs, all the Sixers bowlers went for over 7.5 runs an over.
In reply, the Sydney Sixers were losing quick wickets, but opener Jason Roy’s hitting gave them a ray of hope before the England opener was stumped by Tim Paine off Cameron Boyce’s bowling. Sam Billings tried to keep the Sixers in the match but he was falling short of assistance at the crease as all his other teammates gave away their wickets quickly.
The Sixers were eventually dismissed for 140 in 16.2 overs and the Hobart Hurricanes began their Big Bash League on a winning note. Shaun Tait was the pick of the bowlers for the Hurricanes with three wickets while Clive Rose and Hamish Kingston picked up two wickets apiece. For his quick-fire 61 off 29 deliveries, D’Arcy Short was adjudged Man of the Match.
In the second match of the day, the Adelaide Strikers won the toss again and as in their previous match against Brisbane Heat, Brad Hodge put the Perth Scorchers to bat first. The Strikers got an early breakthrough as opener Michael Klinger was dismissed for 1 in the first over. His co-opener Sam Whiteman was joined by former England batsman Ian Bell who was making his BBL debut. The duo put on 57 for the second wicket before Whiteman was dismissed for 22.
Ian Bell batted brilliantly and he got good assistance by Mitch Marsh who scored 31 off just 19 deliveries. Bell was eventually dismissed for a well-made 61 off just 42 deliveries. After Bell’s dismissal, Ashton Turner took charge and made a brilliant cameo of 44 off just 19 deliveries as the Scorchers ended their innings on 197 for 7.
The Strikers were never in the run chase as barring captain Brad Hodge and Kane Richardson, none of the other batsmen could stay in the crease for long. Hodge made 56 off just 33 deliveries and after his dismissal, Kane Richardson did some late hitting to lessen the embarrassment for the Strikers, scoring 45 off 28 deliveries. The Strikers eventually ended their innings on 149 for 9 and lost their second match on the trot.
For the Perth Scorchers, Mitchell Johnson was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets while David Willey bowled a very economical spell, conceding only 15 runs in his four overs and capturing the wickets of both the openers who were sensational in their previous match. For his brilliant cameo of 44 in addition to bowling two very economical overs, Ashton Turner was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Brief Scores: Hobart Hurricanes - 200/6 in 20 overs (Tim Paine- 63, D’Arcy Short- 61, Sean Abbott- 41/2); Sydney Sixers- 140/10 in 16.2 overs (Sam Billings- 42, Jason Roy- 40, Shaun Tait- 32/3)Result: Hobart Hurricanes won by 60 runs
Brief Scores: Perth Scorchers - 197/7 in 20 overs (Ian Bell- 61, Ashton Turner-44*, Michael Neser- 37/2, Chris Jordan- 48/2); Adelaide Strikers- 149/9 in 20 overs (Brad Hodge- 56, Kane Richardson- 45, Mitchell Johnson- 33/3)Result: Adelaide Strikers win by 48 runs
Both matches had a number of exciting moments that mesmerized the crowd. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at the five best moments of Day-4 of the BBL.
#5 It wasn’t quite Ben Dunk’s night
Ben Dunk scored a brilliant 85 in Adelaide Strikers’ previous match against Brisbane Heat and his dismissal was the turning point of the match. However, tonight wasn’t quite Dunk’s night as apart from a diving catch to dismiss Scorchers’ captain Adam Voges, he endured a disappointing outing, both on the field and with the bat.
During the 19th over of the Scorchers’ innings, Ashton Agar slapped a full delivery from Chris Jordan to deep point and after taking a single, he was eager for a second run but his partner Ashton Turner wasn’t. There was complete miscommunication between the two Ashtons and Agar was on the verge of being dismissed but Dunk mishandled the throw and the ball went from between his gloves to backward point where it was sent even further away, converting a single and a wicket into three runs and no wicket.
During the run chase, Dunk was dismissed for zero in the first over after unnecessarily hitting a wide, outswinging delivery from David Willey to Michael Klinger. To sum it all up, Dunk had a miserable match but he will be looking to come back strong in the Strikers’ next match against the Sydney Sixers.
#4 Jason Roy’s importance at the top order for the Sydney Sixers
During the World T20 earlier this year, England reached the final of the competition after defeating a strong New Zealand team in the semi-finals. The architect of this victory was Jason Roy, who struck a smashing 78 off just 44 deliveries. The 26-year old is an integral part of England’s limited-overs squad due to his aggressive batting up the order which
Roy is playing his first BBL this season as a part of the Sydney Sixers, and in the season opener against Sydney Thunder, Roy gave a swift start to the Sixers’ run chase. The Englishman looked dangerous before he was dismissed in the sixth over, having scored 27 off 18 deliveries, hitting four boundaries and a six.
The Sixers had to chase down a total of 201 against Hobart Hurricanes and Roy gave the Sixers the best possible start, hitting three boundaries and a six off Shaun Tait in the first over. He looked dangerous but wickets kept falling at the other end. The opener was eventually dismissed for 40 off 22 deliveries while attempting to sweep a quick and wide delivery from Cameron Boyce only to be stumped by Tim Paine.
Roy has been able to get good and quick starts for the Sydney Sixers so far and provided he is able to convert these starts into big scores then the Sydney Sixers could well be a contender to win this season’s BBL.
#3 Veterans shine for Scorchers
Last season’s semi-finalists Perth Scorchers began their Big Bash League with a 48-run win over the Adelaide Strikers, who succumbed to their second consecutive defeat of this season’s BBL. Two veterans played a major role in their victory, one with the bat and the other with the ball – Ian Bell and Mitchell Johnson.
While the 35-year old Johnson has already retired from the national team, Bell is still in contention for a spot in the English team, but hasn’t played a match for England since November 2015.
When the Perth Scorchers lost Michael Klinger in the first over, Bell came in to join Sam Whiteman on the crease. In his very first delivery of the BBL, Bell was given a second life as a top-edged pull from him was dropped by Jake Weatherald at midwicket. Bell took full advantage of this as he played a well-made 61 off just 42 deliveries, hitting 6 fours and two sixes that included a brilliantly lofted six over extra cover from a full and wide delivery from Chris Jordan.
In the bowling department, it was Mitchell Johnson who did the most damage for the Scorchers, picking up three wickets for 33 runs in his four overs, including those of Kieron Pollard and Brad Hodge, who was looking very dangerous at the crease despite the Adelaide Strikers losing wickets quickly.
These performances are enough to say that both these players still have a lot of cricket left in them despite not being a part of the national team for more than a year, and that both Bell and Johnson will be crucial to the Perth Scorchers chances of winning the BBL.
#2 Ian Bell may have a year or two of international cricket left in him
The last time Ian Bell featured for England was in November 2015 during the Test series against Pakistan at the UAE where he performed inconsistently and was dropped from the side following the series which England lost 2-0.
Bell, who retired from ODIs earlier that year, still aims to return to the English Test side and has stated his desire to do so in an interview with BBC Sport a month ago.
The Englishman, who did not perform very well for his county side Warwickshire, averaging 33.47 in first-class cricket, made his BBL debut for the Perth Scorchers against Adelaide Strikers and was dropped on the very first delivery. What followed was an innings full of class and composure as Bell played brilliantly, scoring 61 off 42 deliveries before being dismissed. His innings played a very crucial role in the Perth Scorchers’ victory.
Even though this innings is only a tiny fraction of what Bell should do to make a return to the Test team, it shows that at 34, Bell still has it in him and provided he has a good BBL, it could well boost his morale which could benefit him in County Cricket and may bring him back on the selectors’ radar.
#1 Tait’s late but crucial comeback
After putting up 200 on the board, thanks to some brilliant batting by openers Tim Paine and D’Arcy Short, the Hobart Hurricanes did not have a very good start to their defence as Shaun Tait conceded 20 runs off the opening over where Jason Roy hit three fours and a six off his bowling. Tait bowled an economical seventh over, conceding only five runs.
The Australian wasn’t brought back to bowl until the 14th over with the Sixers at 127/5, needing 74 runs off the final six overs. His first delivery was smashed past mid-off for four by Steve O’Keefe, however, Tait trapped him lbw the very next delivery. Tait soon dismissed Sean Abbott before capping off an excellent over by getting the crucial wicket of Sam Billings which put paid to the Sixers’ chances of winning the match.
The Hurricanes eventually won the match by 60 runs and Tait finished with figures of 31/3 from 3.2 overs. His over in the 14th over of the innings was a very decisive one which turned the match in the Hurricanes’ favour.