The 2015/16 BBL final came down to two brothers. The surname Hussey has been synonymous with cricket for the last 15 years, and Mr. Cricket himself would bow out after this game. Michael Hussey is an undisputed legend of the game, and a win here, against younger brother, David, would end his career on a high.
Melbourne Stars – 176/9 (20) – Pietersen 74, Wright 23 – Watson 2-17, Green 2-37
Sydney Thunder – 181/7 (19.3) – Khawaja 70, Kallis 28 – Stoinis 3-30, Zampa 2-32
Sydney Thunder win by three wickets, and win the 2015/16 Big Bash League.
It was a good start for the Thunder, who got the wicket of Marcus Stoinis in the second over. Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen, the English pairing for Melbourne, then put on a good partnership. It was KP who was the main man of the innings, hitting a superb 74 from just 39 deliveries, while his batting partners fell around him. Peter Handscomb (9), David Hussey (21) and Rob Quiney (2) all fell in quick succession, before two late run-outs, of Adam Zampa and Daniel Worrall, restricted their total to 176. Both Shane Watson and CJ Green took a couple of wickets apiece.
After hitting a magnificent unbeaten century in the Thunder’s semi-final win, Usman Khawaja carried on his fantastic form with a 40-ball 70 in the final. He and Jacques Kallis put on an 81 run partnership to open the innings, before the South African, and then Shane Watson fell cheaply. Michael Hussey (18), Andre Russell (10), Aiden Blizzard (16) and CJ Green (8) were all dismissed in quick succession towards the end of the innings as it looked like the Stars might just snatch victory, but Ben Rohrer saw the Thunder over the line to claim their first BBL title, and a fantastic and fitting end to the career of the legend, Michael Hussey.
Usman Khawaja was arguably the man of the tournament, despite only playing four games. He scored 345 runs in that time, with an average of 172.5 and a high score of the 109*. He also raised his bat in all four innings (scores of 109*, 62, 104*, 70). Chris Lynn was the highest run scorer with 378 at an average of 54.
Clint McKay took the most wickets, with 18 dismissals in his 10 games for the Stars this tournament. The best bowling figures came from Samuel Badree, who took 5-22 in four overs, against the Stars in their last group game.
The tournament, in general, was an amazing experience, and it begs the question, should the ECB look at revamping the T20 Blast into a three/four week tournament. It would certainly draw in more crowds than having a game every weekend for the whole of the summer.