With 2 weeks gone of The Big Bash 2017/2018, it is perhaps not surprising to see last year’s winners, the Perth Scorchers leading the Points’ Table, although few would have expected their closest challenger to date would be the Adelaide Strikers.
Both teams have a 100% win ratio, although the Scorchers lead the table having played one more match. The Brisbane Heat are third, level on points with the Strikers, but having played two more matches, whilst, at the other end of the table, the Sydney Sixers and the Melbourne Stars are winless so far.
The Stars, much fancied before the tournament to do well, are struggling, and were handed a 9-wicket thrashing by the Heat on 2nd January, with a performance that their Australian all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell, described as “putrid”, as his team laboured to 141/7 off their 20 overs. This was wholly inadequate, as Brisbane’s Big Bash Brothers of Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum shared an opening stand of 101 to set their team on the road to an easy victory.
The Scorchers meanwhile, remain the team to beat. Their sternest test yet came when they played the Sixers in Perth on New Year’s Day, recording a 6-wicket victory, but this does not tell the whole story. In fact, they had to set a record on their own ground to chase down the Sixers’ 167 for 4, reaching their target with just 5 balls to spare.
Meanwhile the Strikers have hit on a simple formula to date – bat first, set a competitive total, and then restrict the opponents by bowling accurately and tightly. These tactics have enabled them to clock-up easy victories against the Heat and the Sydney Thunder, although their encounter with the Sixers was a close affair, with Adelaide squeezing home by just 6 runs.
In terms of individual performances, there has yet to be a century in this year’s Big Bash, the closest to it so far being D’Arcy Short’s 97 off just 63 balls as the Hobart Hurricanes defeated the Thunder. From the bowling perspective Andrew Tye recorded 5 for 23 as the Scorchers downed the Stars, whilst Dwayne Bravo finished with 5 for 28 as the Melbourne Renegades beat the Hurricanes.
As for upcoming fixtures, the one that catches the eye is the Scorchers visit to Brisbane to take on the Heat this Friday. There is also a Melbourne derby at the MCG on Saturday as the Renegades and the Stars meet.