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

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

Renegades stop the Thunder in its tracks

Jacques Kallis is bowled for a duck by James Pattinson (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Jacques Kallis is bowled for a duck by James Pattinson (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Returning to Etihad Stadium proved highly fruitful for the Melbourne Renegades, who had lost their first two matches in Sydney and Perth respectively.

A comfortable eight wicket win against the Sydney Thunder on Tuesday night at the Docklands gave the red army its first victory for BBL|04.  Having lost the toss and being asked to bowl by the Thunder, the Renegades looked hungry in the field, and with the ball. Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Round One View

The star of BBL|03 round 1, Chris Lynn (ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

The star of BBL|03 round 1, Chris Lynn (ESPN Cricinfo/Getty Images)

The entertainment started on Friday, December 20, and concluded two days later.  It was not the smoothest opening round, with the Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers match washed out in Hobart. Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades: the keys

Stars v Renegades banner (Google Images)

Stars v Renegades banner (Google Images)

In BBL|03, the Melbourne Stars slogan is: “all or nothing.”  Across the city in Docklands, the Melbourne Renegades want you to “get on red.”
Continue reading

Cricket: Players In Focus: James Faulkner and Nathan Coulter-Nile

Here’s two players who have been making their mark on the state scene

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Solid without being spectacular, Coulter-Nile has been a valuable asset to both his West Australian state team and the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) Perth Scorchers.

Nathan Coulter Nile (sourced from Google Images)

Nathan Coulter Nile (sourced from Google Images)

Having spent four seasons in the yellow and black of the Warriors outfit, Coulter-Nile uses his 191cm to generate awkward bounce.  No slouch with the bat either, Coulter-Nile hit an enormous six against the Brisbane Heat in the BBL to help secure victory in a rain-affected match. Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Home and Away Team Reviews

Brad Hodge v Melbourne Renegades, Jan 6, 2013 (photo mine)

Brad Hodge v Melbourne Renegades, Jan 6, 2013 (photo mine)

It was a competition full of surprises, monster sixes, and above all, some great cricket (even if there was a bit of controversy, but hey, that’s normal!)

In this review I’ll take a look at all eight teams during their ‘home & away’ campaign during their eight matches.  There was a whole lot of mayhem throughout.  On the upside, TV ratings for the Big Bash were fantastic.  The crowds were also very engaged, especially at the two Melbourne Derby clashes.

Fox Sports once again has provided us with excellent, if not biased, coverage of every game.  The insights that the likes of Damien Fleming and Brendon Julian offer is second to none.

Continue reading

Cricket: Big Bash League: Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes preview

Two very good sides will take to the MCG on Saturday night.  Only one will win, but it is going to be a tight contest.

The Melbourne Stars didn’t just crush the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday night; they sent them flying into next week, in a whirlwind of shock blonde hair and two overs of power hitting from Luke Wright.

Now they come up against an opponent very much their equal; the Hobart Hurricanes.  Tim Paine, Jonathan Wells, the big hitting Travis Birt and Owais Shah all demonstrated they all can bat.  Ben Laughlin, Michael Hogan and Evan Gulbis were also very good with the ball.

It is going to make for an interesting clash.  The Hurricanes won’t easily forget last years clash, when Wright went bananas and proceeded to smash 117 from just 60 balls.  Then again, Travis Birt dished it up to Clint McKay, sending three balls out of the park in Hobart.

Continue reading