Cricket

Australian Cricket Review: WBBL Round 1 and Marsh Cup Round 5

Not since Martina Hingis has a 16 year old impressed so much Down Under

A One Day game the day after a Sheffield Shield game.

What are Cricket Australia gonna do next, rename the Sheffield Shield the Pura Cup and put up ING signs on the boundary?


WBBL: Round 1


Friday

Sydney Sixers 6-192 (20) defeated Sydney Thunder 9-143 (20) by 49 runs @ North Sydney Oval

POTM: Ellyse Perry (Sixers) – 81 off 48 and 2/13 (4)

The 5th edition of the WBBL began with a Sydney Derby, and the Sixers, possessing two somewhat capable batswomen in Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry, chose to bat first, and made the most of it by carving out 83 off the opening 9 overs, until Healy completely mistimed a slog on 42, with Alex Blackwell completing the catch after it came down 4 hours later.

After Ash Gardner came in at 3, Perry reached her half-century, as the pair kept the runs (Mainly Perry) flowing at just on 9 an over, and after Gardner went for a quickfire 28, Perry moved on to 81, and looked a good chance of scoring a century, until Erin Burns decided to take a risky single in the 17th over, which ended with a quick throw to the keeper’s end by Lisa Griffith, with Perry short by a foot.

Unsurprisingly, Burns was also dismissed via a run out- Rachael Haynes fired a deadset dart from extra cover in the last over.

After Perry went, it was just hit out or get out, and thanks to the quick hitting of Burns and South African Marizanne Kapp, the Sixers posted a very intimidating 192- Which could easily have been 200+ if Perry had have stayed in.

After doing the damage with the bat, Perry was handed the ball in the 2nd over, and promptly trapped Naomi Stalenberg LBW for 2, and then Rachel Priest had no salvation, playing a shot that carried to Hicks at backward point.

2/5 after 2 overs, and from there, despite an entertaining half-century to Alex Blackwell (56 off 38), the Thunder were never in the chase, and would fall a good 49 runs short when their 20 overs ran out, but still denying the Sixers the satisfaction of bowling them out.

Despite the loss, it was noteworthy that the Thunder debuted 16-year-old Phoebe Litchfield from Orange, who would score 26 off 22 in her first Big Bash performance.

She would attract greater attention than that knock by the time the weekend was over.

An emphatic win to the Sixers, as Ellyse Perry was…. Ellyse Perry.

Saturday

Hobart Hurricanes 5-164 (20) defeated Melbourne Stars 9-144 (20) by 20 runs @ Junction Oval

POTM: Belinda Vakarewa (Hurricanes) – 3/27

The Hurricanes won just 2 matches in the last WBBL, but they’re already halfway to that total after pulling the rug out from under the Stars on their own deck.

The Stars won the toss and sent the ‘Canes into bat, and through 15 overs, the visitors struggled outside of Erin Fazackerly’s 46, but the match took a sharp twist when South African recruit Chloe Tryon came to the crease with 4.3 overs to go, with the Cane Train meandering at 5/108.

On her Big Bash debut, Tryon belted a spectacular 46 runs off just 18 balls, with 4 fours and 3 sixes, pushing the Canes to a very respectable 164, having piled on 55 runs in the last 4 overs.

Still reeling from that onslaught, the Stars were in trouble when Belinda Vakarewa claimed Ellyse Villani LBW for a golden duck on the fourth ball of the innings, and in her next over, completely fooled Emma Inglis right through the gate for 4, leaving the Stars 2/18, and the pain continued when Maisy Gibson was handed the ball in the 5th over, and bowling with the cap on Roy Symonds style, soon found herself on a hat-trick, claiming Mignon du Preez for 12, and Katey Martin for a golden duck (Vakarewa took the catch at short fine leg), and the Stars were in a Kalgoorlie Super Pit sized hole at 4/36,

Despite some good resistance from Erin Osborne (40) and an unbeaten 34 from 16-year-old Tess Flintoff, the Stars couldn’t recover from that devastating beginning, and fell 20 runs short.

Funnily enough, Flintoff, who I hope is nicknamed Andrew, wasn’t even the only 16-year-old in the Stars’ XI.

Chloe ‘Gerry’ Rafferty took 1/33 off 3 overs, and was dismissed for 6 batting at No.10 in the final over.

With several contenders for Player of the Match (Tryon, Gibson, Vakarewa), it ultimately went to Vakarewa, who did set up the ‘Canes defence with those early wickets, before their chase even got going.

Strikers 4-120 (15.2) defeated Renegades 7-117 (20) by 6 wickets @ Karen Rolton Oval

POTM: Sophie Devine (Strikers) – 1/16 (4), 72* off 45

Red Team played Blue Team, and it was very good performance from the Blue Strikers, who set things up by reducing the Renegades 4/21 in the opening 6 overs, allowing them to keep the Gades to under a run a ball for the innings (Much embarrassment), and then overcame a slow start to reach the target with next to no difficulty, thanks predominantly to Sophie Devine using a meat cleaver instead of the willow against the Gades bowling attack, with 72 off 45 balls, including 6 fours and 4 sixes.

Aside from Devine, the Strikers’ West Indian import Stafanie Taylor performed very well, being the pick of the bowlers in the 1st innings with 3/26 off her 4 overs.

Capping off the celebrations, Amanda Wellington completed a successful proposal from her boyfriend Tayleur!

Ah, young love.. Not that I know anything about it.

Brisbane Heat 6-165 (20) defeated Sixers 73 (14.4) by 92 runs @ North Sydney Oval

The Grand Final rematch under lights on a Saturday night, and with the Sixers having to play on a 24 hour backup, it wasn’t even close.

After a relatively slow start with the bat against a quality Sixers attack, some late power hitting from Laura Harris, who is apparently a 42-year-old Canadian actress, with 36 off 17 balls in the last 4 overs, pushing the Heat from a typical 140+ score to 165, at least giving their arch rivals something to think about.

Healy and Perry made their typical fast start, before Healy fell at the start of the 4th over, and from there, it was just complete and utter carnage.

Wickets fell at regular intervals throughout the first 10 overs, meaning the Sixers were never really in front of the run rate, and once Perry fell for 27 in the 13th over, it was pretty much as good as done.

5 out of the 6 bowlers the Heat used took at least 1 wicket- The unlucky customer was Georgia Prestwidge.

But while they were good, the one to cap off this brilliant night for the Heat was Kiwi star Amelia Kerr, who finished off her Big Bash debut with 3 wickets in 4 balls, featuring a superb wrong’un’ to Hayley Silver Holmes, who finished up with more surnames than she scored runs.

Kerr once scored 232* and took 5/17 in the same ODI at the age of 17.

The Big Bash should be a piece of piss.

Sunday

Sydney Thunder 3-153 (18.5) defeated Brisbane Heat 9-150 (20) by 7 wickets @ North Sydney Oval

POTM: Phoebe Litchfield (Thunder) – 52* off 48

On the shortest of short backups (Barely 20 hours, doesn’t exactly seem fair), the Heat won the toss and batted first, and after a relatively good start, they were ‘held’ to 150, thanks to wickets at consistent intervals from the Thunder, in particular 3 wickets from Samantha Bates, the Pakistanti Nida Dar took 2, and other teenager in the Thunder lineup, 18-year-old Hannah Darlington

The Thunder chase started well, but they were soon in a hole at 3/56, with skipper Haynes gone for 5, as the 16-year-old Litchfield, who I’m going to keep mentioning is 16 years old, came to the crease with Alex Blackwell with the simple task of chasing down 98 runs off 80 balls against a world-class attack.

It took Litchfield 4 balls to score a run (She was actually dropped by Kerr) and 11 balls to hit a boundary, but once she got settled, you sort of forgot she was only 16.

With Blackwell providing parental supervision, Litchfield gained the confidence to start teeing off against the Heat attack, and the Lime Ladies turned the match their way, as 16-year-old Litchfield reached her half-century, which must make her the youngest player in Australian domestic history (Male or female) to score a half century.

In a match-winning 97 run stand, Blackwell (42 off 27) brought up the winning runs in the best possible way, dispatching Sammy-Jo Johnson onto the hill to the delight of the Thunder Nation.

A very pretty impressive upset, with the girl of the hour Litchfield earning Player of the Match honours.

Still, young Phoebe suffers the curse of being a country teenager, and she skipped the post-game interview, and was straight in the car with mum and dad heading back to Orange, so she didn’t miss any Year 10 classes the next day.

Surely ‘Took a crap on the defending WBBL champions’ is a valid excuse to miss one measly day of school?

Litchfield’s performance also leads to the rhetorical question of, ‘What were you doing when you were 16?’

Well, I finished in the Top 10 for AFL Trivia on footytips.com.au.

Yeah.

Hurricanes 5/137 (18.3) defeated Stars 7/136 (20) by 5 wickets @ The Junction Oval

The rematch from the upset of Saturday, and proving it was no fluke, the Hurricanes did it chasing on Sunday, set up by a 10/10 team bowling performance in restricting the Stars to 137, as no Stars batswomen got beyond 25, as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

Nicola Carey and Vakarewa each claimed 2 wickets, and the Cane Train could easily have kept the Stars to below 130, were it not for the 18 extras (7 wides and 2 no balls) they conceded.

The Canes were in a bit of trouble at 5/73, still needing 64 off 46 balls, but Carey was joined at the crease by Saturday’s hero Chloe Tryon, who was like a paramedic ready to abuse the shit out of the innings with a defibrillator.

The pair went wild, with overs 16-18 producing 37 runs, as Carey reached her half-century, whittling the target down to 7 off 2 overs, which Tryon reached in 3 balls.

Carey earned POTM honours for the standout batting performance of the afternoon (An unbeaten 60) and thus, thanks to beating up the Stars twice in 2 days, the Canes have equalled their win total from WWBL 04.

Wow, they really were a pile of arse.

Renegades 5/154 (19) defeated Strikers 5/152 (20) by 5 wickets @ Karen Rolton Oval

POTM: Danni Wyatt (Gades) – 61 off 37

On the other of the Sunday rematches, the Strikers won the toss and batted first this time around, and yet again it was Sophie Devine who got their innings off to a hot start, with 48 off 30 balls (4 sixes and 3 fours) until she went for a clip on the leg side that ended up down the throat of Claire Koski.

From there the Strikers went at a comfortable 7.5 an over, losing wickets regularly, and eventually setting the ‘Gades 153 to win.

The chase got off to the worst possible start, when Molineux half-committed to what was a pretty tame first delivery from Sophie Devine, and ended up edging through to McPharlin.

But as she departed, Tammy Beaumont would form the foundation for the chase with the Englishwoman from England Danni Wyatt, with an 84 run partnership off 62 balls as Wyatt cracked 61 off 37, until she mis-timed a pull shot off Devine, while Beaumont carried on until Suzie Bates trapped her LBW for 41, and the ‘Gades needing a very achievable 38 off the last 5 overs.

Jess Duffin kept the innings going in the right direction with a couple of quick boundaries in a quickfire 26 off 15, until she was run out with the ‘Gades needing 8 with 11 balls to go, but Josie Dooley and Courtney Webb got the remaining runs with an over to spare.

Wyatt earned Player of the Match honours for her 61, and the Strikers and Renegades split the ledger at a win apiece.

Wednesday

Renegades 6/133 (19.1) defeated Perth Scorchers 5/132 (20) @ The Junction Oval

POTM: Sophie Molineux (Renegades)- 1/20 (4) and 24 off 20

More weird fixturing in Australian sport- This was the Renegades’ 3rd game of WBBL 05… and the Scorchers’ 1st.

The Gades won the toss and elected to bowl on the Highway, and it was a decision that had early dividends, when captain Meg Lanning was caught behind for 2, leaving the Scorchers’ innings to be built by their 2 English internationals.

Amy Jones, who has slept with the light on since June because of Ellyse Perry, and Nat Sciver.

The pair kept the scores ticking over at a run a ball, until the game was randomly stopped for 10 minutes in the 8th over… because of a piece of burned toast triggering the fire alarm.

What could possibly top that for weird delays… an elderly driver veering off Lakeside Drive into one of the grandstands?

Eventually, Jones made a move when she carted Georgia Wareham for consecutive 6s in the 11th over, but departed next over for 44, after half volleying Strano straight to Maitlan Brown at extra cover.

Sciver reached her half century in the final over, and the Scorchers could only post 130, after being pinned down by the tight bowling attack of the hosts for most of the innings.

Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, the Renegades weren’t under ‘serious’ pressure of falling behind the low target, and Josie Dooley brought up the winning runs with 5 balls to go.

To be honest, the Scorchers only had themselves to blame, dropping 4 catches (3 in the first 13 balls) and missing 2 very gettable run outs throughout the innings through targeting the wrong end.

If this was the men’s game, I’d be able to diagnose that as a classic case of BBL FIELDING.

Still, Nicole Bolton did very well to hold on to this and make sure it wasn’t 5 dropped catches.

There really wasn’t a standout player from the Gades, so after drawing a few names out of a hat, Molineux got the Player of the Match nod for her 1/20 and then 24 with the bat.

As I’ve since discovered, like my deranged associate Crazy Craig, Sophie is from that quaint little town called Bairnsdale.

If he’s The Boy From Bairnsdale, does this make her The Girl From Bairnsdale?


Marsh Cup: Round 5


Tasmania 4/239 (45.1) defeated New South Wales 237 (43.1) by 6 wickets @ North Sydney Oval

POTM: Nathan Ellis (Tassie)- 5/38 (8.1)

A ridiculously loaded Blues team called in Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, but the Tasmanians meant business, as cult hero King Clive Rose, with his weird topknot, was recalled to the lineup, and let me tell you, this could be slightly offensive, but I reckon Clive is the ‘Chocolate’ Dan Vettori, on account of him bowling left-arm spin, and wearing those fogged up glasses like New Zealand cricket’s former resident nerd.

With Jordan Silk as captain, the Tigers chose to bowl first, and it was the right decision, because Simon Meredith took out the Big Kahunas in his opening 2 overs- Warner went for 4 thanks an utterly baffling shot that led to a simple caught & bowled, and then in his 2nd over, Steve Smith hit consecutive boundaries, and then picked out Milenko at square leg, and was gone for 9.

After working through the Blues’ top order, despite some stubborn resistance from Dan Hughes and Matty Gilkes, it was left with Peter Nevill to bat with the tail and get a score together, starting with Sean Abbott at No.7.

Imagine having half of an Australian Test side, and still having Sean Abbott come in at No.7.

That’s batting depth on par with the water levels of the Murray-Darling Basin.

After coming in and getting settled, Abbott clubbed Ellis for 6 and 4 in consecutive deliveries in the 30th over, but the Tasmanian responded with some fast bowling porn, landing a perfect length delivery, and the ball jagged back slightly, beating Abbott’s bat and clipping the top of off-stump.

Ellis managed to produce a dead ringer of a delivery a few overs later to get rid of Cummins.

Thanks to the usual stubborn resistance from the The GOAT, plus Nevill with a half century,the Blues made it to 237, as Ellis produced his maiden 5-fer with an impressive 5/38, and Clive churned out 2/44 off his 10 overs.

I’d also like to point out that of those 5 wickets, Ellis clean bowled 4 batters.

Ben McDermott and Caleb Jewell got the Tasmanian chase off to a hot start, racing to 63 by the 9th over, before Hazlewood clean bowled Jewell, whileMcDermott would crack his latest half-ton before Lyon bowled him, and after Webster was trapped LBW by Hazlewood, the Tasmanians found themselves in the slightly awkward spot of 3/113, with the seed of doubt slightly lodged in their brains.

In hindsight, they should probably have got that checked out to avoid long-term brain damage.

But then again, they are Tasmanian, so there’s not much there to begin with.

Fortunately, the fresh pair of Silk and Bailey got the Tasmanians 99% of the way there with a 119 run partnership, with absolutely no threat of running out of overs, but Gorgeous George would be denied the chance to see the end, falling for 67 to Hazlewood, but the Tasmanian skipper would avenge him by belting the winning runs to the rope.

A 10/10 performance from the underdog Tasmanians, led by Ellis’ superb bowling performance, plus Silk and Bailey virtually finishing off the chase and giving an effective Test attack next to nothing.

South Australia 7/296 (49.4) defeated Queensland 9/295 (50) by 3 wickets @ The Gabba

POTM: Adam Zampa (SA) 2/66 (10), 35* off 15

You have to wonder where this limp-wristed Bulls top order would be without Marnus Labuschagne.

Based on this effort today, I’m going with floating face down and not responding off the coast of Moreton Island.

After that Wes Agar-induced wipeout left the Bulls at 4/24, Labusshelter and Jimmy Pearson rescued the innings by churning out a 110 run partnership

Marnus kept the innings ticking over with some good support from Neser, and brought up his ton by cracking Adam Zampa onto Stanley Street.

While every big gun falls like a Communist government in 1989, Marnus just somehow keeps producing.

He would eventually fall for 135 off 127 after one too many big hits, but his knock combined with a very handy wagging tail (Ben Cutting with 27 off 19), had led the Banana Benders to a far more promising score of 295.

Backing up his solid Shield debut, Agar claimed his first career ‘Pfieffer’, finishing up with 5/69 off his 10 overs.

Making the Queenslanders feel more self-assured, the Croweaters were immediately on the back foot, when Jack Wildermuth claimed Jake Weatherald and Travis Head in his first 2 overs, reducing the visitors to 2/15 after 4 overs.

Alex Carey came to the crease and got the innings back on track with Callum Ferguson in a 117 run stand, until Carey was run out for 79 via an underarm dart from Max Bryant, Cooper went cheaply for 2, and once again, the Redbacks were back on struggle street barely halfway to the target.

Jake Lehmann and Ferguson kept their chances alive with a 77-run partnership, and the 42nd over proved crucial.

Lehmann was dropped at long-off on 24, but Matty Kuhnemann would claim the big wicket of Ferguson for 91, but in hindsight, the missed chance on Lehmann would prove extremely costly come the end of the innings.

After a few more wickets, Adam Zampa came to the crease with the score at 7/247, still needing 49 off 27 balls.

Eventually, Lehmann made his half-century, yet the Redbacks needed a very tough 15 off the last over, with Zampa on strike to Neser.

He did this.

49.1 – A ramp shot over fine leg for 6.

49.2 – A superb drive past deep extra cover for 4.

49.3 – A pull shot to an empty deep backward square leg for 4 to tie the scores.

49.4 – Hit the winning run down the ground.

I swear he did that in a Big Bash game for the Strikers against the Scorchers at the WACA.

From absolutely nothing, South Australia had won a game that looked absolutely dead after the Labuschagne heroics, when they lost their Head 4 overs in, and when they still needed 50 off the last 5 overs.

And it was all thanks to the Instagram shitposter (Zampastagram, look him up), who was fittingly awarded Player of the Match for his performance with bat and ball and on social media.

Once word could sum up that ending.

Hilarious.

WA 9/281 (42) defeated Victoria 8/165 (20) by 9 runs (D/L) @ The WACA

POTM: Marcus Stoinis (WA) 45 and 3/20 off 4

Somehow, the only band of rain likely to hit Perth for the next 5 years passed over the WACA this afternoon, delaying the start for 20 minutes, which further delayed the return of Ashton Turner for his first domestic appearance in 2019/20, and Aaron Hardie’s One Day debut for WA, having already played for the Scorchers in the last Big Bash.

It turned out to be the first of many annoying delays.

In the meantime, the Vics didn’t have the services of Aaron Finch, which would absolutely have something to do with Australia playing Sri Lanka in the T20 series next week.

Still on the subject of team changes, Xavier Crone made his domestic debut for the Vics, and his first delivery is one young Xav will remember forever.

Cameron Bancroft lofted him over 3rd Man into the Lillee Marsh Stand for 6.

Will Sutherland removed Josh Philippe and Darcy Short in the early overs, but WA moved on to 2/76 after 12 overs with some aggressive batting from Marsh and Bancroft, before another, slightly more intense band of rain hit, causing another annoying delay.

And then once that had passed, it was only one damn ball before players went back for cover…. as Usman Khawaja entertained the newly-inducted WACA Members by appearing in the outfield.

30 minutes later, it was back underway, and the game had been reduced to 42 overs per side.

Marsh, Bancroft and Stoinis all took turns in abusing Crone to various parts of East Perth, but the young Vic would get the last laugh on Stoinis, who skied one a mile in the air on 45, and down the throat of Andrew Fekete for Crone’s maiden domestic wicket.

Bancroft led WA with an attacking 76 off 70, surviving a 50/50 LBW call along the way, Turner hit 39 off 27 in a nice return, as the remainder of the innings was reduced to a simple case of hit out and get out, with a flurry of late wickets for the Vics preventing an even bigger target.

Matt Short took 2/32, Will Sutherland 2/52, and Crone on debut was expensive, but took 2/60 (Stoinis and Turner his victims).

Regardless, 281 off 42 overs was extremely difficult, especially without Finch, who had effectively spent a whole week in Perth scratching his arse doing nothing but watch cricket.

Pfft- I’ve spent 23 years in Perth scratching my arse doing nothing but watch cricket.

Sadly, another annoying rain delay hit during the interlude, originally reducing the Victorian innings to 35 overs, until the rain hit again, further reducing the innings to 232 off 31 overs- At only 7.5 an over, it was a very achievable target…. if they ever got the chance to properly chase it.

Barely 2 overs into the Mexican innings, in which time Sam Harper hit a 6 off the first ball and Will Pucovski made a 2-ball duck, the annoyingly small white bands of rain returned, and more overs were lost, with the target now reduced to 175 off 20 overs, which was in reality 162 off 17.4 overs.

So in reality, it was a Big Bash game 2 months early.

Harper scooped the first 2 balls of the resumption (From Richardson) for 6, as Marcus Harris made his meaningful contribution, skying a Matt Kelly delivery into the blinding WACA lights, down the throat of Ashton Turner at mid-off.

That very same over, Richardson would get the last laugh on Harper, who hit another 6 off Kelly, before playing one straight to the darting at 3rd man for 26, as Kelly took all 3 wickets in his opening 2 overs, and the Vics were 3/28.

Oddly enough, those were Kelly’s only 2 overs for the innings.

Maxwell then came in to face Richardson, but the rematch of their last Marsh Cup battle (Maxwell won that battle, but Jhye won the war) was a fizzer, as Richardson delivered a superb yorker with a bit of extra pace, completely fooling Maxwell, who was clean bowled for 2.

4/32 for the Vics, and their hopes of winning look just about smoked, before Maddinson arrived and belted 28 off 8 deliveries, joining Handscomb in abusing Hardie and Agar to all corners, which actually got the Vics right on track with the run rate, but much like Crone in that 1st innings, Hardie would strike back and dismiss Maddinson, who went pretty cheaply after such a lightning start, playing a cut straight to AJ Tye at third man after a field change.

The Vics needed 82 off the last 10 overs, and Handscomb almost departed in the most anticlimactic way, belting a ball straight back to Agar, who had no time to react and dropped the catch faster than the LA Police drop speeding tickets against celebrities.

Stoinis came into the attack with 8 overs to go, and struck immediately, as Short was trapped LBW for 15.

Handscomb carried on the chase, and the Vics were still right on the required run rate, but the massive problem was that they kept losing wickets, as Stoinis struck again twice in the 15th over, removing Sutherland for 2, and Crone for a golden duck, leaving the Vics right on the brink at 8/125, still needing 50 to win from 5 overs.

Richardson’s expensive night almost ended on a high, baiting Handscomb into skying a pull shot, but Philippe briefly lost the ball in the lights and dropped the catch.

Needing 18 off the last over from Tye, Andrew Fekete got off strike first ball, then Tye bowled a waist-high no ball, and on the free hit, Handscomb blasted Tye back down the ground which looked for all money like a 6, but Agar somehow parried the ball back in, inches from touching the boundary rope on the full, keeping it to 2.

Once Handscomb was taken off-strike with 2 balls left, the win was safe, and despite the Victorian captain’s gallant unbeaten 73 off 54, WA got the points to go top of the Marsh Cup table, as Stoinis sealed Player of the Match honours for his work with the ball.

A thrilling end to a stop-start match, capped off by the weird scenario of Victoria letting down Peter Handscomb.


Up Next: The PM’s XI and the T20 Series vs Sri Lanka…. Minus Chris Lynn.

Categories: Cricket

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