Cricket

Australian Cricket Review: 6th November

Forget about the second coming of Shane Watson, is Cameron Green the second coming of Jesus Christ?


T20 Internationals


The Pakistan Series

1st T20: Match Abandoned @ The SCG

Another highly promising cricket match in Sydney, ruined by pissy rain.

Why on earth we still have major sporting events in Sin City is beyond me.

If it isn’t ruined by drug dealers, it’s ruined by referees, and if it isn’t ruined by either of them, it’s ruined by annoying showers.

The Pakistanis were in an early hole when Starc drew in Fakhar Zaman to flash at one first ball, and then Sohail went next over, leaving them at 2/10.

It was up to skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to get things back on track, and they would with a 60 run stand off 52 balls, until Rizwan mistimed Ashton Agar for 31, and Pakistan reached 3/87 after 12.3 overs, before the latest rain delay struck, and time whittled away the innings to 15 overs.

So after coming back out from the long delay to bowl the last 14 deliveries of Pakistan’s shortened innings, Azam reached an unbeaten 59 off 38, Pakistan reached 107, and the match referee decided against shortening the innings break from 20 minutes, and allowing the Aussies to at least reach the minimum 5 overs for a result.

Way-ta-go, gents, sometimes a bit of common sense would come in handy.

Needing to chase an adjusted target of 119 off 15 overs, the Aussies rocketed out to 0/41 off 3 overs, cleaving Ifran for 31 off his 2 overs, with the second going for 26, and when play was once again stopped for rain, Finch was on 35…. and Warner was on 2.

But that was as much as they got, because that bloody shower persisted all the way through to the cutoff time of 6:11, and the match was abandoned, whereas if they’d smuggled it to the minimum 5 overs. the Aussies would’ve won on Duckworth Lewis.

Then again, this was most likely a warm-up for the inevitable rain delays during the New Years Test.

2nd T20- Australia 3/151 (18.4) defeated Pakistan 6/150 (20) @ Manuka Oval

POTM: Steve Smith (Aus), 80* off 51

The first Tuesday of November truly was a day for sporting events that Australians forgot were on.

Some horse race, and this game.

Pakistan elected to bat, in what could very well be their first visit to Canberra, and after a slow start, Babar Azam scored another half century to continue his ripping run as captain, but after reaching 50, the run ended when Iftikhar Ahmed refused to run a 2 that was absolutely on, and then watched next ball as his skipper tried running 2 himself, only for Dave Warner to clean out the skipper with an off-balance direct hit from mid-wicket.

Rather casual throw if you ask me

At that point, it looked like Pakistan were going to hamstring themselves and post another low total, but, Ahmed made up for contributing to his captain’s demise, by demolishing Kane Richardson in the penultimate over for 22 runs, featuring 2 sixes and 2 fours to bring up his half century.

Ahmed departed for 62 off 34 in the last over, and Pakistan would scurry in a few more runs to push their total to 150, which at the very least, was competitive.

After a fast start, Warner was skittled by Amir for 20, bringing his unbeaten run to an end, just 1 run short of Finchy’s record of T20I runs between dismissals.

Finch went a few overs later for 17, leaving Smith and Ben McDermott to hunt down the target, with Smudge working the pedals and doing the steering, and McDermott just happy to sit there and give directions and occasionally face a couple of balls.

Once Smith reached his half-century, the Aussies were in the slightly awkward spot of needing 30 off 24, but Smith pretty much ended Pakistan’s hopes by dispatching Mohammad Amir for 3 boundaries in 4 balls to end the 17th over, and then hit two more next over, as his unco batting was absolutely dazzling to watch, as he routinely lofted the Pakistanti attack over the off-side, picking gaps with such proficiency, you’d think he were a T-800 picking its victims.

Ashton Turner hit the winning run, just to remind everyone that he was actually playing.

Kenny Callander would use a word that best described Smith on Tuesday.

Shuper.

“Shteve Shmith was shuper Tappy!”

The Sheffield Shield: Round 3

Tasmania 226 & 4/144 defeated Victoria 127 & 237 by 6 wickets @ Blundstone Arena

POTM: Matty Wade (Tas), 69 & 57*

Carrying on from that Part 1 I wrote up from last Friday.

As conditions continued to favour the bowlers, Tasmania went from struggling at 5/105 to pushing themselves into a commanding lead thanks to skipper Matty Wade’s 69, with some good knocks from keeper Jake Doran and Jackson Bird providing some wag in the tail to push the lead up to 99.

The Vics were in a hole when Dean and Pucovski went cheaply, but Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb provided a pair of half-centuries to at least put them in the lead.

But, once they both departed, the middle order struggled for traction, with most players getting to double figures and promptly departing, leaving the Vics in a mighty big hole at 8/188.

It looked like the Tasmanians were going to be chasing around 100, but Siddle and Boland provided some nice tail wag, and the Vics were eventually dismissed for 237, leaving the Tigers to chase a very manageable 144

The Tigers got off to the worst possible start when Webster was taken out first ball LBW by Tremain, and once the chase was stabilised by Wade and Charlie Wakim, rain wiped out most of the final session of Day 3.

Play resumed the next morning, and Wadey carried on steered Tassie towards the convicing win that had been coming since the Vics were 8/66 on Day 1, bringing up another half century in the process, and earning the Scott Mason Memorial Medal as the best player in the annual Hobart Shield game between Tassie and the Vics.

A convincing win for Tassie, their first of the Shield season, and the defending champs are in a massive hole of their own making.

New South Wales (289 & 253) defeated South Australia (245 & 201) by 96 runs @ The Adelaide Oval

POTM: Chadd Sayers (SA), 8/64 & 5/67

Jesus, where the hell are the Blues getting these debutants from?

Matty Gilkes and Dan Solway get handed their NSW debuts, and Solway makes an instant impact by carving out a ton against the might of Chadd ‘The Chadd’ Sayers.

Since he is a Cockroach, I assume he’ll be receiving his Baggy Green before Boxing Day.

Anyway, South Australia won the toss and sent the Blues in to bowl, and it looked pretty good on Day 1, with the Blues struggling at 5/107, as Sayers ripped through the top order, but his efforts were thwarted by a 108 run stand between Solway and skipper Peter Nevill, helping the debutant make the perfect start his Shield career with a ton.

With some valuable support from Gazza Lyon, the Blues reached 289, and Solway finished on an unbeaten 133.

He should have retired there and then.

What it also overshadowed was the bowling performance of Chadd Sayers, who took a mightily impressive 8/64, the best bowling performance of this Shield season, with Wes Agar the only other bowler to claim a wicket, and Henry Hunt running out Harry Conway.

Chadd Sayers vs Virgin New South Welshmen- The Chadd Wins.

In response, the South Australians struggled mightily against the equivalent of a Test attack, but in a good sign, Travis Head put his hand-up to the Australian selectors with a fighting 109, his first ton of the Summer, but other than him and Tom Cooper’s 37, the Croweaters hardly got anything going, and finished up on 245.

Playing with a 44-run lead, Nick Larkin led the way with 91, in what was a stock standard batting performance from NSW, getting bowled out for 253, with Sayers claiming another 5fer (5/67), including getting the wood on Solway, trapping him LBW for 10, leaving him with a mere batting average of 143.

SA were left to chase 297, but when Hazlewood trapped Weatherald LBW on the second ball of the chase, that was like spraying the Redbacks with Mortein.

As the top order collapsed to leave them at an impossible 7/107, Tom Cooper proved the key to the chase, and he came together for a 94 run stand with Sayers, who produced another great performance, this time with the bat, of 47 off 57, but after Cooper fell for 77 to leave the South Australians 9 down, if it wasn’t over before, it was then.

The Redbacks actually lost their last 3 wickets (Sayers, Cooper & Robins) for nothing, and the Blues kept their perfect record by 96 runs.

Despite Hazlewood’s career best figures of 6/35 to mop up the Croweaters, The Chadd would be recognised as the POTM after finishing up with match figures of 13 wickets for 131 runs- the 7th best match figures in South Australia’s long, and often fruitless Shield history.

The Blues are already effectively 2 wins clear on top, and SA’s Shield winless streak rolls on to 16 matches, with their last win coming on February 19th, 2018, against the Blues at the SCG.

That’s like, 1 Prime Minister ago.

Queensland (411) drew with WA (332 & 9/246) @ The Gabba

POTM: Cameron Green (WA): 87* & 121*, 1-44

Cameron Green scoring 87 after coming at No.9 could simply be passed off as a fluke- No.9s rarely bat that well.

But to come in with WA close to death at 7/53 on Day 4, and then bash out a maiden unbeaten ton and save the match?

Holy cow, the boy has a future.

It managed to overshadow the performance of Xavier Bartlett scoring his maiden ton to give the Bulls a massive lead.

And it also managed to gloss over the fact that Bancroft and Whiteman are both perfect contenders to be openers for Australia.

They both going for ducks in the 1st innings (Bancroft falling for another legside trap), and then again in the 2nd innings, when Banners once again got caught by a legside trap.

The big difference was in the 1st Innings, Marsh and Stoinis got a partnership going to get WA up past 150, before the tail wagged big time, featuring Green’s unbeaten 87, Jhye Richardson’s 39 and Matty Kelly’s 32, and Whaddayaknow, WA were all out for 332, the first 300+ 1st Innings score at The Gabba this season.

Of course, the Bulls did become the second team over the next couple of days, led by Street’s maiden century of 115 (Off 308 balls) a 76 from his opening partner Joe Burns, 80 from Jack Wildermuth, and pretty much everyone else made a start before departing, although, in a funny twist, Marnus Labuschagne was the only Queenslander to be dismissed without reaching double figures…. departing for a 10-ball duck.

A 79-run lead for the hosts with just on a day to play, and they looked like they’d win outright when Day 3 ended with Marsh given out caught behind for 8, when it appeared the ball had completed passed between the bat and pad.

Bloody Banana Bending cheats

The carnage continued when Cameron ‘The Cannon’ Gannon went on a hat-trick by claiming Cartwright and Philippe to end the 28th over, and when Inglis went for 2, WA were in all styles at 7/53, still 26 behind.

It was left to Matt Kelly (Who had come in as the nightwatchman) and Green to save the day, and they somehow survived through most of the middle season,

Kelly would be dismissed for 44 just before tea, having batted for some 7 hours, but Richardson and David Moody held on for long enough to get Green to his maiden ton, despite almost running him out on 99.

Eventually, the lead and the overs remaining made a chase bordering on futile for Queensland, who eventually shook hands with about 20 overs left in the day and settled for a draw.

An incredible escape by the Sandgropers, but fair dinkum, to have a team 7/53 at lunch, and still manage to not bowl them out by stumps?

That’s a massive failing on the part of the Queenslanders.


WBBL Highlights: Round 3


Friday

Perth Scorchers defeated Melbourne Reneagdes by 8 wickets (D/L) @ The WACA

As Perth was hit by unseasonable rain and cool conditions, the Renegades posted 1/134 off their shortened 15 overs, before more showers hit during the start of the Scorchers’ chase, and wiped out more play.

At that point in time, I’m pretty sure Meg Lanning was 2 runs off 10 balls.

Left to chase 73 off 7 overs, and then 39 off the last 3 overs, Lanning could have been dismissed for 11, but Josie Dooley missed as stumping chance.

It proved a tad costly.

Starting the penultimate over, the Scorchers needed 27 off 12, with Jones and Lanning still there, but a brave call to give Georgia Wareham the ball worked superbly, as she had Jones stumped first ball, followed by Nat Sciver to land herself on a hat-trick.

Lanning, being the big name player that she is, then hit a 6 and a 4 to end the over, leaving the Scorchers to chase 13 off the last over, but Nicole Bolton would have to get off strike as soon as possible.

She did first ball, Lanning then went 4-2-4, before getting sucked into a dot ball on the second last ball, leaving the Scorchers 2 to get to win, and 1 to tie off the last ball.

After a 2 hour build-up, it was an anti-climax, as Lanning clubbed Strano over the leg side boundary for 6.

After being 2 off 10, Lanning finished on 44 off 23.

Make no bones about it, she basically hurt her back dragging the Scorchers over the line.

It was still the second-most painful thing Renegades fans had to witness in that last over- All-rounder Claire Koski landed awkwardly when diving to save Lanning’s second four of the last over, and just about ripped her shoulder out of it’s socket.

A frustrating nail-biter because of the rain, and somehow, the Scorchers won when they had no right to.

Saturday

With the terrific weather in Tassie washing out everything on Saturday evening, all eyes were on the action up in Mackay and the double header in Perth.

Sydney Sixers 6/121 (19.5) defeated the Renegades 8/120 (20) @ The WACA

After languishing to 120, you may as well have written off the Renegades, because barely anyone defends 120 in T20 cricket, although I do remember it happened last week, which kind of defeats my joke.

Despite a great defensive bowling performance in pinning down the Sixers chase, they always had one problem.

They couldn’t get Ellyse Perry out.

She made a composed 45 off 50, carried her bat right to the end, and got the Sixers home, with help from Dane van Niekerk, who took the Player of the Match Award for her 30 off 27 in a vital stand with Perry, and took 2/15 off her 4 overs.

Melbourne Stars 3/155 (20) defeated the Scorchers 6/135 (20) @ The WACA

Lizelle Lee hit the first century of WBBL 04, and a year later, she hit the first century of WBBL 05, leading the way for the Stars to finally taste the sweet thrill of victory in this edition of the Big Bash.

I tell ya, there was just something about South Africans performing well on Saturday.

Lee was on another planet compared to her merry band of teammates, who all limped in to double figures before holing out, and the Stars reached 155.

Lanning couldn’t make it consecutive nights of heroics, when she was stumped by Martin off the bowling of the prepubescent Maddie Penna.

Yep- The Australian captain was sucked in and dismissed by a 12-year-old.

That was pretty much it really- After Lanning departed, the Scorchers never had a serious established partnership to seriously attack the Stars total, given they needed 66 off the last 7 overs.

They fell 20 runs short, pretty much single-handidly beaten by the batting performance of Lee, who at least has ensured the Stars won’t go winless, despite almost literally being a team of girls against women.

Adelaide Strikers 2/143 (19) defeated Brisbane Heat 139 (19.1) by 8 wickets @ Harrup Park, Mackay

The WBBL headed to Not Quite Far North Queensland for the latest leg of this regional tour, and despite the boisterous crowd any Queensland sporting team would receive, it made Jacques Shitte difference to the result, because outside of Beth Mooney’s 73, the Heat were pancacked by a well-balanced attack from the Strikers, who subsequently had no worries chasing down 140, thanks to Susie Bates and Bridget Patterson posting unbeaten half-centuries.

Seriously, the Strikers used 6 bowlers, and 5 of them each took 2 wickets.

Bates ended up getting the POTM nod, but seriously, the entire Strikers team as a collective should have received it.

They’re looking pretty good right now the Strikers, but like most teams, they’ll have to figure out how to play on the quick back-up.

Sunday

Sixers 0/199 (20) defeated the Stars 6/154 (20) by 45 runs @ The WACA

Barely 13 hours after the massive high of finally winning a game, the Stars were sent crashing back to reality, in the form of Ellyse Perry enjoying her 29th birthday.

And Alyssa Healy.

Perry and Healy became the first WBBL batting partnership to score a combined 2000 runs together, and that, plus Ellyse’s birthday, was celebrated by Healy reaching her century off 52 balls, on her way to an unbeaten 106, upstaging Perry, who scored a pathetic 87 off 68, as the Sixers finished with a record wicketless score of 0/199.

Healy actually finished the innings with a hat-trick of boundaries.

It was the 3rd highest score in WBBL history, and if recorded statistics are correct, was quite possibly the best partnership in any major women’s cricket match anywhere on the charted Earth.

It was also the 3rd unbeaten century scored by Healy in the past month, after the T20I and the WODI centuries she scored against Sri Lanka back in early October.

Despite Ellyse Villani’s best efforts, I can sum up the Stars chase for you.

They were never in it.

The Sixers completing a successful trip to Perth, becoming one of the few teams this Big Bash to actually win both of their back-to-back matches.

Sydney Thunder 4/149 (18.1) defeated Hobart Hurricanes 6/148 (20) @ West Park, Burnie

The Hurricanes were exorcised by a Priest.

Rachel Priest, that is.

Heat 1/142 (17.1) defeated Strikers 8/141 (20) @ Harrup Park

Similar scoreline to Saturday night, with the opposite, but one thing remains constant.

Beth Mooney features rather prominently, this time with a bruising unbeaten 77 off 51, with 10 boundaries, as the Heat evened the score in the tropics.

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