Thank Lucifer this will be the last thing I write about the Big Bash for a while, but it has to be done- Last week I put up my review of the 5th to 8th placed stragglers for this season, now it’s time to review the finalists!
4th- Sydney Sixers
After hitting their straps in January with 5 straight wins, the Sixers ended up being their own worst nightmare. They only had to beat the Stars at the MCG to secure a home final against the Renegades, but like Greg Norman on the last day at Augusta, they discombobulated. The Sixers then could have scored 200+ against the Renegades after Josh Philippe and Dan Hughes were flaying Kane Richardson to all corners, but once they were dismissed, Moises Henriques and James Vince decided to bog down instead of hitting out, and as a result they left the door open with a score of 180.
But then looked like that wouldn’t matter with 3 overs to go, as the ‘Gades were 6 down and still needing 38 to win, it looked like the Sixers were on their way to hosting the Big Bash Final for the first time! The Masters of the Magenta had their outstanding death bowling attack of Ben Dwarshius and Sean Abbott to turn to, and it won the game!
For the Renegades.
If it weren’t for the extended season, Tom Curran would have been available and this whole thing may not have happened.
Once again an Abbott that lives in Sydney has made millions of Australians extremely angry.
3rd- Hobart Hurricanes
Thanks in part to the one and done finals system, Minor premiers have a shithouse record in the Big Bash finals, with 5 out of the previous 7 losing their semi-final (The Scorchers in BBL 01 and BBL 06 are the only minor premiers to make the final). This Hurricanes team was not an outlier to the mean, as their best ever regular season ended with a whimper.
The Canes started their season with an 8-1 record, but they finished up losing 4 of their last 6 games. Their big hitters in D’Arcy Short (1st), Matt Wade (2nd), McDermott (8th) and captain Bailey (9th) all ranked in the Top 10 for runs scored, but even then they couldn’t keep the team afloat as their teammates drowned in the Derwent down the stretch, culminating in the loss to the Stars (In the Semi-Final, Short, McDermott and Bailey were the only Canes players to score more than 10 runs).
In 2013, George Bailey had a chat to Jimmy Anderson in the Gabba Ashes Test, which led to Michael Clarke coming in and telling Jimmy to “Get ready for a broken f–king arm”. Just over 5 years later whilst fielding for the Hurricanes, Bailey sustained a broken f–king shoulder whilst trying to stop a boundary. It’s a sad reminder that life can be cruel, especially for Tasmanians.
My favourite part about Hobart’s season ending like that is because they’re responsible for minor premiers being knocked out twice, including the Scorchers last year- They call it the Apple Isle, but how do you like them apples?
2nd- Melbourne Stars
Of all the utterly awful performances in this season’s Big Bash (And I’d know them, I watched every Scorchers game), but considering the circumstances, that has to be one of the all-time worst.
How the hell does a team go from barely sneaking in to the finals, beat the minor premier, then beating the crap out of their rival in the Final, to one of the most embarrassing collapses in the history of cricket, and just life in general.
Anyway, it’s the latest moment in a long line of Stars failures:
BBL 01- Lose a Semi Final to the Scorchers at #TheFurnace (I ain’t kidding, that’s what we called the WACA over here), starting a tradition that has lasted ever since.
BBL 02- Have a Semi Final sewn up against the Scorchers, only for James Faulkner to bowl a no-ball on the last ball, and that their 3 captains only had 3 players inside the circle. Michael Hussey does the rest.
BBL 03- Sweep their way through the regular season, going 8-0 and living up to their name. They play a stinker against a 3-win Hurricanes team in the Semi-Final, lose, and miss the Final, the first instance of proving how shit the BBL finals system is.
BBL 04- Once again get ground down at #TheFurnace by the Scorchers in a Semi-Final for the 3rd time.
BBL 05 – Get over the Scorchers and FINALLY make the Final, and host it! Only for the Thunder to have their one moment of glory EVER thanks to Usman Khwaja.
BBL 06-Recruit so many players who play regular international cricket that they all get called off by the end of the season, causing them to fall to 4th and another trip back to #TheFurnace, where Mitchell Johnson takes 3/3 in 4 overs.
BBL 07- Bottom out and miss the finals for the first time, and claim the wooden spoon.
BBL 08- With no pesky Scorchers to worry them, the Stars sneak in to the finals, upset the Hurricanes in Hobart and set up a showdown with their crosstown rivals in a Derby Final. You know the rest of the story by now.
Part of me does feel sorry for Eddie. Helps build two great clubs/teams from the ground up, and both of them just have shitting the bed come finals time ingrained into their DNA.
Winrar- Melbourne Renegades!
Quickly, sound the victory tune!
There were some pretty extreme losses- The first Sixers game, both Geelong games (They failed to score 100+ twice), the Stars also beat them easily at Docklands. The team also scored a grand total of THREE half centuries for the tournament. By comparison, the Hurricanes scored 18, the Sixers scored 13, and the Stars scored 10. Even Ben bloody Dunk scored 3 half centuries this tournament, and apparently he was out of form. Hang on, how in shit do you win a tournament scoring THREE half centuries? God that was some choke.
What became a trait of this Renegades team was that they won games they had no right to win- Something that champions thrive at. It started when they were 5-82 against the Strikers in Adelaide, chasing 175. Mo Nabi and Dan Christian belted 94 off 47 balls to upset the defending champs.
Then a great comeback against the Thunder in Sydney in which Richardson and the other bowlers choked their batting attack to death, the Semi-Final against the Sixers, and then the Marvel Miracle.
As you’ve probably gathered, ‘Mr Methuselah’ Dan Christian was a huge part in three of those comebacks. Fancy that, a Christian answering a prayer, not the other way round.
Aaron Finch had a summer to forget, getting dropped from the Test team, doing nothing in the India ODI series, nothing in the T20 Internationals, assaulting innocent plastic chairs after being dismissed. But it did have a happy ending.