Big Bash Round One Wrap-Up
Two thumpings and an interesting finish to start off the Big Bash. Jarrod Potter on the first week of the tournament.
To the relief of emotionally-exhausted Australian cricket fans, the attention is now being diverted away from the maladies of the Ashes. The first set of matches didn’t offer up too many surprises, with Victoria and Tasmania delivering incisive victories over thoroughly weaker opposition. At least South Australia and New South Wales put together a close finish to spice up the round.
Tasmania 6-189 (Paine 71, Birt 43) def Western Australia 126 (Voges 38, Rana 3-19) by 63 runs.
Tasmania posted an easy victory over Western Australia to start the season. Paine and Birt went about consolidating the innings after two quick wickets from the resurrected Mick Lewis. After Birt’s dismissal off Coulter-Nile, Bailey and ten Doeschate provided able backup to Paine as he went about smashing a man-of-the-match deserving 71 off 58 balls. Paine threw away his wicket in the 19th over, but had completed a thorough decimation of the Warriors attack.
189 seemed always out of reach for Western Australia, not helped any by Marsh failing to play a shot to a Krejza straight ball in the first over. It didn’t get any better from there, as the noose was tightened by excellent bowling off Rana and Doherty in turn. The Warriors were done as Ryan ten Doeschate, the dutch allrounder took two decisive wickets in his single over. The collapse continued, despite the efforts of Voges to buoy the side around him. It ended with an over to spare and 63 left to score.
Victoria 5-188 (Finch 58, D. Hussey 42*) def Queensland 9-155 (Hopes 36, McKay 3-26, Nannes 3-30) by 33 runs
Victoria cantered to victory in their first Big Bash encounter. Queensland looked bereft of options and strategy from ball one and it continued downwards from there.
Finch and Hodge continued their prolific scoring partnership with a 98 run opening stand before Finch was caught by Neser off the bowling of Cutting. Hodge soon followed Finch back to the shed, bringing Wade and Hussey to the crease. Hussey’s 42 not out, combined solidly in partnership with between Wade (19) and White (23) to continue the momentum. The total of 188 looked to be above par on a flat pitch, suiting a mixture of bowling options.
Queensland’s innings never got started, as Lumb decided to be the only Englishman in Australia not to score runs this week. His 6 and 5 from Simpson were bookended by the reserved batting of Carseldine (35), Hopes (36) and Lynn (31). This middle order resistance was for nought as McKay and Nannes ripped them asunder with pace and variety. McKay’s slower balls deserve their own mention for being textbook examples of how to confuse limited overs batsmen. Without the coherence or guidance of the top order, Queensland got as close to possible as being skittled, finishing up on 9-155.
New South Wales 5-168 (Warner 73*, DLR Smith 45) def South Australia 147 (Pollard 53, Hauritz 3-21, O’Keefe 3-23) by 21 runs.
A different type of David Warner was on display in this match. Early in the innings he attempted to throw the bat at everything, leaving most of the initial scoring up to Smith (45). Things continued to be tedious for Warner as he accumulated 73 not out off 58 balls, with only one 6 and seven 4s to show for it. Some resourceful batting from Ben Rohrer (22) helped push NSW to a score of 5-168.
The chase started well for South Australia, with Harris and Klinger hitting bad and good balls alike to the boundary. Their innings came to an end as quickly as they started, with Klinger, Harris and promoted Christian all dismissed off the impressive spin of O’Keefe with the score on 3-41. The rot grew as Cooper, Blizzard and Manou came and went without impact on the scoreboard. At 6-53, the fans would’ve been getting their car keys ready, but their plans were put to rest by a phenomenal innings from Kieron Pollard, punctuated by helpful partnerships from O’Brien and Lyon, the rhyming SA spinners. Pollard dispatched all he saw, namely Henriques as he took Moises for a 29 run over of destruction amongst shoddy bowling. Pollard inevitably burned through his partners and ran on empty, just missing another 6 as Henriques sought revenge with a beautiful outfield catch that Voges, Bravo and Smith would be proud to call their own. From there the result was a foregone conclusion as the Redbacks were dismissed 21 runs short of their target.
Thoughts from Round One
Spin will be crucial over the next five rounds. The power of tandem spinners was on display as O’Brien/Lyon, O’Keefe/Hauritz and Krejza/Doherty showed how useful having multiple tweakers in the side is for this competition. As Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland chose to run part-timers, this could become a massive issue without the variation and change of pace a slower bowler provides. If Heal (WA), Boyce (QLD) and Holland/Maxwell (VIC) aren’t introduced soon, I’d be very surprised.
The other pressing issue with side selection and ordering is the abstract batting order instigated by South Australia. Pollard comes in at 7, Rashid at 9. If I was paying top dollar for internationals, wouldn’t it be more pertinent to bat them higher? Have the dour strokeplayers and stoppers of O’Brien, Manou and Cooper coming in after the explosive talent. Pollard would’ve had a better chance of winning that match for South Australia given a partner to rotate the strike and take some of the scoring pressure off him. Rather than seeing cameo 50s, wouldn’t the Redbacks prefer massive 100s from Position 3 or 4? To a lesser extent the same can be said of Victoria. Bravo deserves to come in before Wade and White under normal circumstances. Not a sleight against these two batsmen, but Bravo is the cannon you use to start the war, with Wade and White in the calvalry to finish the job. Deciding how to utilise your weapons will be key to this Big Bash and in the current instance, the weapons are being used poorly.
73 – David Warner (NSW)
71 – Tim Paine (TAS)
58 – Aaron Finch (VIC)
53 – Kieron Pollard (SA)
3 – Rana Naved al-Hasan (TAS)
3 – Nathan Hauritz (NSW)
3 – Stephen O’Keefe (NSW)
3 – Stuart Clark (NSW)
3 – Clint McKay (VIC)
3 – Dirk Nannes (VIC)
3 – Mick Lewis (WA)
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Twitter: @JarrodPotter & @trueallrounder