As we head into the knockout stages of BBL05, the county cricket faces are making a show of themselves. Adil Rashid is a contender for best signing of the tournament and Michael Lumb has been consistently good. Luke Wright started this year’s tournament fairly quiet, but it seems the New Year has offered a new leaf for the Sussex man.
The semi-finals begin at the end of this week and the four sides in looking to book a place in the final are Perth Scorchers, Melbourne Stars, Sydney Thunder and table-toppers Adelaide Strikers.
The champions, Perth, were on a winning streak, sitting pretty at the top, until they met Adelaide in the new year. A couple of losses have left them in third spot and without a home semi-final. They’ll face the Stars in Melbourne on Friday.
Adelaide have just the one loss to their name and have secured themselves the first semi-final on home soil. They’ll face Sydney Thunder on Thursday.
Below is a look at how the familiar faces have fared. This round up starts from January 30th. For all previous BBL05 matches, see our last round up.
Adil Rashid (Adelaide Strikers)
Adil Rashid is continuing his excellent showing in the tournament, sitting on top of the wicket takers’ pile. His 15 scalps have been instrumental in taking the Strikers to the top of the table and into the semis.
Against the Sixers on a stiflingly hot New Year’s Eve, Rashid took three wickets and helped his side to an unexpected win. In another surprising result, this time against champions Perth, Rashid took another three for an economical 23 runs.
Against Brisbane, Mahela Jayawardene was the hero of the night but Rashid made a decent cameo with two key wickets for just 21. The result put Brisbane out of the tournament.
Hobart Hurricanes have also found their season at an end at the hands of Adelaide, with Rashid taking another two wickets. A lovely wrong un removed Jonathan Wells, followed by an impressive piece of spin that had Dan Christian lbw.
It was the 23 year old son of Darren Lehman who completed the victory, however, as the one ball he faced was the last ball of the night. It went for 6; Adelaide won; Hobart are out.
Rashid took just the one wicket against Thunder, as Adelaide cemented their place at the summit and tournament favourites.
Michael Lumb (Sydney Sixers)
Michael Lumb hobbled off the field in the second innings against Adelaide, but not before he’d made 31 runs. It’s been a good tournament for the Notts opener, who has been consistently solid for the men in pink.
Lumb’s opening mate, and another former Notts man, Ed Cowan surprised few with his T20 batting abilities against Adelaide. He made a superb 43, displaying a full range of shots and a pile of experience, but it was all to no avail as the Strikers took the win.
Lumb’s suspected hamstring injury came, fortunately, to nothing and he returned to make a brutal 47 against Perth. The Scorchers’ bowling attack was on fine form, though. Lumb ran out of batting partners fast and the Sixers took another defeat.
Against Brisbane, Lumb made another 47 but Heat had Joe Burns back from his test stint and the injury-ridden Sixers lost again. The defeat put the Sydney side out of the tournament. They miss the finals stages for the second year running.
In their final match, against semi-finalists and fellow Sydney side, the Thunder, Lumb was only able to manage 12 runs. He became one of Clint McKay’s 14 wickets for the season. The former Leicestershire bowler is second-top wicket taker, alongside Andre Russell.
Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright (Melbourne Stars)
If the first half of the Stars BBL was about KP, the New Year has seen Luke Wright catch up to his fellow countryman. Any shortcomings from the Sussex veteran in December, were made up for in January with a sweltering 109* in the Melbourne derby at the MCG.
With nearly 81,000 watching from the stands, Wright gave a batting masterclass peppered with 4s and 6s. The Stars chased down their opponents 161 with apparent ease.
Against Hobart, Yorkshire’s Glenn Maxwell made 56* and one wicket. Pietersen was quiet again, making just one run, but Wright made 51* as he and Maxwell took another victory for their side.
He also showed his prowess in the field, scooping up the ball at mid-on and removing the bails with a swift hit that ran out Dan Christian.
With Maxwell away fulfilling international commitments, another Melbourne derby took place and the Stars won it yet again. Wright made a solid 37, with a pile of boundaries, but it was Pietersen who really made the victory.
Although he had some luck on his side – most of it in the 14th over of the Stars innings – he still wowed the fans with his batting power, finishing with 67*.
The final two Stars games were quiet ones for both Pietersen and Wright, but it is no matter. The green Melbourne side has finished second in the table and will meet the reigning champs in the second semi-final. They’ll want the two Englishmen on their best form for that meeting.
Michael Carberry, David Willey and Michael Klinger (Perth Scorchers)
Following on from the tradition of losing their first game then taking off from there, Perth took on the Renegades in late December and won the match in some style.
Despite allowing Chris Gayle and Yorkshire’s Aaron Finch take their hosts to 170, the Scorchers’ openers put on a record stand and took the Big Bash League’s first ever 10 wicket victory.
Gloucestershire’s Michael Klinger and his opening partner, the in-form Shaun Marsh, peppered the Docklands stadium with fours and sixes as they hammered the Melbourne side.
The winning streak continued and this time Northamptonshire and Yorkshire’s David Willey had a hand in it. He set things going when he scattered Ed Cowan’s stumps in the second over and the men in orange never looked back.
Willey took three wickets for just 22 runs, the visitors from Sydney managed a total of just 112 and only the one wicket fell in the chase – that of Klinger for 28.
The streak came to a screeching halt when Perth met with Adelaide. Willey went for 54 with the ball, but made amends with the bat. He made 31 off just 17 balls, but he was the only batter to really get a foot in and reaching the Strikers’ 174 was just a pipe dream.
Perhaps sore from the victory, two days later Perth reached 175 and beat Sydney Thunder, although Klinger went for a duck and Willey was quite expensive with the ball. In a close fought match against Hobart Hurricanes, however, Klinger made 36 and Willey made 25*.
It was Michael Carberry, just returned, who made the biggest contribution with bat. Already moving at a half decent pace, Carberry put his foot fully on the gas in the middle overs and helped get the side to 173. Willey took just the one wicket as Hobart fought hard to chase down the total.
The Tasmanians came within one run of victory, but Scorchers took the win and were propelled into the knockouts.
Perth’s final outing was a visit from fellow semi finalists Melbourne Stars. The Stars have had a decent season and both sides were hoping to book a home tie for the semi. It was Melbourne who won the day, though, in front of the Perth crowd.
Willey took one wicket as the visitors reached a solid 146, he then moved up the order and partnered Klinger with the bat but neither made runs. Carberry also struggled with the bat as the Melbourne bowlers pulled out their match winning form and down their hosts for less than three figures.