Off to Perth we go again

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Luke Wright of the Melbourne Stars raises his bat after scoring 50 runs during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Sixers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 21: Luke Wright of the Melbourne Stars raises his bat after scoring 50 runs during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Sixers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Here we are again.

The Big Bash League finals have descended after a spellbinding few weeks.  Rivalries are made in these times.

Notice one common thing: the Melbourne Stars are yet again travelling to Perth for a semi-final.  Continue reading

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WNCL: The sting finally gets its reward

2015 WNCL victors South Australia Scorpions. Source: Cricket Australia

2015 WNCL victors South Australia Scorpions. Source: Cricket Australia

Women’s cricket has a new national champion and some very ecstatic players.

The South Australia Scorpions have been building for the last two years, and the time finally came to hoist the WNCL trophy on Sunday over arch-rivals New South Wales. Continue reading

Day one of the Matador Cup, thank you very much

Travis Head acknowledges his double century (picture: Getty Images)

Travis Head acknowledges his double century (picture: Getty Images)

Domestic cricket is exciting.

With the condensed competition format, the Matador Cup started in blistering fashion on Monday – and it was mainly all thanks to willow on leather; although Mitchell Starc wanted to also have a say.

Putting aside the fact the opening three games were played on suburban grounds that are tiny compared to the likes of the MCG and SCG, the efforts of the batsmen cannot be understated.

The tournament itself was bolstered by the unexpected addition of the Australian test players due to the cancellation of the Bangladesh tour – but it was Travis Head who stole the show.

South Australian captain and now double centurion Head is not 22 until the end of this year.

However, his composure and eye for the ball resulted in a score of 202 off 119 balls, including 12 sixes.

For South Australia, it is only one game on a ground more akin to a postage stamp, but it’s the confidence boost the entire side will get at reeling in a 350+ target with several overs to spare that will get the Redbacks up and running.

He did it so clinically the Redbacks had Western Australian on the backfoot, and the Warriors bowling figures hardly look flattering against the powerful performance the left-hander displayed.

It is hard to go past the partnership he carved out with Callum Ferguson (112 from 118 balls); the 278 runs scored in a little over 32 overs – ticking along close to nine runs an over – was the catalyst for such a commanding victory.

Not that Western Australia didn’t crush the South Australians a few hours prior, with Cameron Bancroft and Shaun Marsh posting enormous centuries.

Bancroft and Head present themselves as part of generation next for Australia as the national side looks to rebuild.

Like any good performer, the key to both of these players is a strong season and a good conversion rate.

For Head, it is all about going on with starts and playing the captain’s role with a level persona.  He must do it now with the red ball, and confidently.

https://twitter.com/worldofBG/status/650905728429887488

Bancroft finished with 896 Sheffield Shield runs in 2014-2015, and a huge 176 is a surefire statement to the selectors ahead of the first day of international cricket on November 5.

Elsewhere, seeing Mitchell Starc rip any side to shreds and shatter the stumps is always entertaining.

This time, seeing a CA XI put together from all the six state sides crumble so easily – to the tune of more than 270 runs – is concerning.

However, the side is the youngest in the competition and after one game in any sporting competition, trying to draw conclusions doesn’t work.  The side will get better with time but came up against a New South Wales side packed with test experience.

What has been proven today, regardless of ground size and bowling attack, is there are batsmen at state level who can step up and hit a groove to excite cricket fans – but must do it consistently.

The likes of Jimmy Peirson and Marcus Harris are still developing, and will take a lot from watching the likes of Steve Smith and Starc go about their business.

It won’t all be a batsmen’s show – expect the bowlers to come back in the later stages.  The likes of Jason Behrendorff and Gary Putland, perhaps the two best left-armers going around at the moment, can give it a red hot crack

Australia’s rampant rabbit isn’t losing the Ashes

(Picture: IB Times)

(Picture: IB Times)

For all the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the Trent Bridge debacle, the Ashes wasn’t really the catalyst, crux or anything in between.

It’s the regeneration.  Since the retirement of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and co, there’s been a rebuild.  The 2013-2014 Ashes was combed over by England’s dreadful performances.  Many of these have already been talked about, dissected and torn apart. Continue reading

The Women’s Ashes are stronger than ever

Meg Lanning during the 3rd ODI (Getty Images)

Meg Lanning during the 3rd ODI (Getty Images)

A revitalised format may just be the kicker of one of the most important women’s series outside of the World Cup.

The Women’s Ashes are well underway over in England, with Australia’s two point lead after the one-day internationals a crucial advantage heading into the only test match that starts on August the 11th.

Critically, that test match was once the first match in the series, and whoever took the win from that almost guaranteed themselves a series win with the shorter form to play.  Having watched the likes of Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry make the England women stand up and take notice, putting the ODIs first does two good things: Continue reading

Resurgent England still potentially rely on too few for too much

Joe Root plays through the off side in England's ODI win (photo: Getty Images)

Joe Root plays through the off side in England’s ODI win (photo: Getty Images)

As a feature of comparison, here are England’s test and ODI squads from the recent series against New Zealand: Continue reading

CWC 2015: Australia v England – Aussies set to fire at home

Steve Smith in the ODI Tri-Series (photo: Getty Images)

Steve Smith in the ODI Tri-Series (photo: Getty Images)

(Read here for the same post on Infinity Cricket)

ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP: AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND

(Prediction: Australia. Both teams have talent, but Australia is putting it together with consistent performances)

AUSTRALIA

A home ground advantage in sport usually equates to visiting opponents being clinically beaten.

The way the Australians have prepared for the World Cup is ideal.  Back atop the ODI rankings, and a very convincing tri-series against England and India means their opponents need to watch out. Continue reading

BBL|04 delivered, sparkled, thrilled and excited: the moments of madness, records and big, big scores

Ben Rohrer takes a bouncer on the rise against Brisbane (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Ben Rohrer takes a bouncer on the rise against Brisbane (photo: Davis Harrigan)

When the competition was a fledgling hatched from the egg, now all the way back in the 2011-2012 season, the criticism that a city-based team tournament wouldn’t work came from every which way.  Geoff Hutchison, writing for ABC show The Drum a little over three years ago, wrote that “At the Big Bash, anything goes.  Everything is great; but the cricket was secondary to everything else.”

Everything about it has gone upwards and onwards – not to stardom, but to a level where the fans are breaking ground crowd records, and the overseas imports have been stepped up a level. Continue reading

Scorpions sting reaches semi-finals of the WNCL

Skipper Lauren Ebsary hits down the ground v ACT (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Skipper Lauren Ebsary hits down the ground v ACT (photo: Davis Harrigan)

South Australian Scorpions captain Lauren Ebsary has taken her troops to a semi-final against the Queensland Fire on Friday, January 23, but it hasn’t always been an easy task, says the skipper.

South Australia’s last crack at the WNCL finals came in 2008-2009, where they were runners up to New South Wales in a washout game.  The team, the mentality, and the performances have improved out of sight since then. Continue reading

Renegade brutality burns Heat in low-scoring, wicket-taking bonanza

Dan Christian hits Brisbane Heat's only six of the match (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Dan Christian hits Brisbane Heat’s only six of the match (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Just 161 runs total were scored at Etihad Stadium on Monday night, where the bowlers dominated and only three sixes were hit across both innings.

The Melbourne Renegades started in the best way possible; two wickets off the first two balls to have James Peirson and Joe Burns walking back to the bench for first ball ducks, thanks to James Pattinson. Continue reading