It’s been a whirlwind couple of months in the Big Bash with plenty of highlights and of course, the occasional lowlight as well. BBL08 has seen some stand-out performances by many of the big names as well as the emergence of some exciting young talent. Lets look back at some of the winners and losers so far of this year’s BBL season:
The stand-out side of the tournament so far, the Canes have not only won 9 from 11 games but have done so in convincing fashion. 7 of those wins have been by 7+ wickets or 50+ runs in a dominant display of explosive batting and dead-eye bowling. It’s no coincidence their opening pair of Darcy Short and Matt Wade sit 1st and 2nd on the run scoring charts while James Faulkner and Riley Meredith both sit in the top 5 wicket takers. The Hurricanes look head and shoulders better than most other teams and are the well-deserved favorites heading towards the finals series.
Dominant Duo: Matt Wade and Darcy Short sit at the top of the run scorer charts.
Stoinis has long been on the radar as Australia’s next big thing and this Big Bash he has come on leaps and bounds. In only 8 games the powerful all-rounder has hit 312 runs (5th in the league) and taken 14 wickets to help the Stars battle towards a finals appearance. His strong performances, paired with his ODI form have earned himself a call up to the test side. All going well there, he may even find himself on the plane to England in a few months time. Not a bad Summer hey?
In previous seasons of the BBL we have seen the spinners causing the most damage across the competition. The seamers have fought back this year however, with 8 of the top 10 wicket takers this season bowling pace. Just when it looked like spin was the key to winning matches in the shortest form, this season has shown us that good old-fashioned seam up bowling can play a role in T20 still.
Standard of Cricket
You may have noticed yourself that this year’s Big Bash just doesn’t seem as exciting as years gone by. This can be put down to a number of reasons. One may be the lack of international talent on display this year compared to seasons gone by. The simple fact is, the BBL can’t afford to attract the big names which it has in recent years. Names like Gayle, Pietersen, Kallis and Pollard have all featured in the early stages of the Big Bash where they drew huge crowds and games were going down to the wire day in day out. The crop of overseas talent this year was headlined by Jos Buttler (for half the season), Tom Curran and Rashid Khan. All great players in their own right but truth be told, are not putting enough bums on seats. A lack of talent has lead to a drop in standard and a lot less games which have gone down to the wire. It may be time to look at increasing the salary cap to compete with other T20 leagues around the world.
Does anyone else feel like the season has been dragging on a little? That’s because this year the BBL schedule was extended by an extra two weeks from 43 games over 10 rounds to 59 games over 14 rounds. This year’s tournament has seemed to run out of steam with some players even acknowledging the season may be too long. The fact of the matter is that we have seen crowd attendances dropping, players burning out and a season that offered so much promise, petering out to a anti-climatic ending.
In scenes you would expect to see at a local park match, the Gabba floodlights failed during a night game between the Heat and Thunder. What can only be described as extremely unusual, a nearby power outage resulted in the lights going off and never coming back on. The game was abandoned in the second innings with the Thunder well on track towards a comprehensive win. Many would think a state-of-the-art cricket stadium in Australia would have some sort of backup plan when something like this occurs. Anyway, it makes for a pretty comical story and is the perfect way to round out the winners and losers for BBL08.
Lights out: Sydney Thunder players weren’t too happy with the situation.