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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Renegades see Stars as they taste defeat in second derby

Kevin Pietersen flicks another one away at Etihad Stadium (Photo: CA/Getty)

Kevin Pietersen flicks another one away at Etihad Stadium (Photo: CA/Getty)

Kevin Pietersen was the Melbourne Renegades boogeyman at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, as cross-town rivals the Melbourne Stars cantered home to an eight-wicket victory.

On Monday, Chris Gayle made headlines, and on Saturday night it was the man everyone knows as ‘KP’ who decided to change the tempo to one of sixes and big cheering. Continue reading

BBL|04: The big final heads to Canberra and neutral territory

Nic Maddinson at the MCG (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Nic Maddinson at the MCG (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Manuka Oval.  The “one in the middle of nowhere”, as most cricket purists and watchers might say.

For the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers, the middle of nowhere is home tomorrow night.  One of the two sides will be vying for their second Big Bash League trophy, though the Scorchers won’t want to lose hold of their defending champion’s title.

Last time they met, at the Sydney Cricket Ground before the New Year, the Scorchers upset the Sixers, much to the chagrin of the home fans.  It was a night for the bowlers, with no batsman scoring over 36. 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

Quiney works seagull magic as Stars burst into life

Peter Handscomb tees off on his way to 103 at the MCG (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Peter Handscomb tees off on his way to 103 at the MCG (photo: Davis Harrigan)

The 33,580 fans that flocked to the MCG on Wednesday night went to see a Stars win – but they got a lesson in “bird handling” as well.

As the Stars – with much of the thanks to Peter Handscomb, who scored a career-defining and magnificent, unbeaten 103 – powered to a three wicket win after an early struggle, the entertainment, for a time, was front and centre on a seagull. Continue reading

Super Over seals the deal for Stars against the Sixers

Michael Lumb scored 80 off 61 (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Michael Lumb scored 80 off 61 (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Having won the toss and deciding to bowl on a flat, hard MCG pitch, the Melbourne Stars needed early wickets to keep the Sydney Sixers on a leash.  No-one expected what was to come, or the Super Over.

After a last-ditch effort to score 15 runs in the final over of their innings, the Stars finished 4/150 – equalling the Sixers 6/150 earlier in the night.  The 22,098 fans in the stands made the noise of 50,000, such was the intensity of the Super Over. Continue reading

Renegades see 112 Stars after New Year Derby clash

Melbourne Stars Captain Cameron White at Etihad Stadium (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Melbourne Stars Captain Cameron White at Etihad Stadium (photo: Davis Harrigan)

After winning the toss and electing to bowl on what was a sticky, warm night at Etihad Stadium, the Melbourne Renegades had to endure a painful 20 overs at the hands of the Melbourne Stars.

Cameron White (22) and Luke Wright (39) fired the Stars into a winning position early, and even when White was dismissed off the bowling of young Nick Winter, the damage had already been done, with the Stars run rate above eight an over. Continue reading

Cricket: BBL|04, and why KP is going for glory

Rob Quiney & Luke Wright, Melbourne Stars (Photo: Rediff.com)

Rob Quiney & Luke Wright, Melbourne Stars (Photo: Rediff.com)

When the Big Bash League changed to its current format before the commencement of the 2011/2012 Australian season, not much was certain.

There was a litany of changes – state teams became city-based teams, there were overseas imports, and a whole new ball game was born.

Perhaps the biggest story for BBL|04 is the Melbourne Stars signing former England batsman, and now gun-for-hire Kevin Pietersen.  The 34-year-old caused a controversy after the news was revealed, with the England Cricket Board reluctant to release him until the release of his book earlier this month. Continue reading

Cricket: Spinning our way into the unknown

James Muirhead playing for the Melbourne Stars (photo: SMH/Getty Images)

James Muirhead playing for the Melbourne Stars (photo: SMH/Getty Images)

Australian cricket saw what could be considered its best summer last year – the last one came against India just a couple of short years back.

Breaking down the constituents, one topic of interest has seemingly plagued journos, critics and fans alike; why is there so much talk about the choice of a front-line spinner? Continue reading

Cricket: An interview with Greg Shipperd

Victorian Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd (source: Google Images)

Victorian Bushrangers coach Greg Shipperd (source: Google Images)

He has been the stalwart of the Victorian Bushrangers since the tragic death of then coach David Hookes in 2004.

For almost ten years, Greg Shipperd has overseen what is arguably one of the strongest lists ever seen in Australian domestic cricket.  The Victorian presence in the Australian side has substantially lifted in the last decade. Continue reading