The final six games of the BBL league saw the top four places sealed and the semi finals sorted out. Adelaide Strikers won their last two matches to take top spot in the BBL, while the Sydney Thunder beat their inter-city rivals, the Sixers, to secure 4th place and the final spot in the semi finals. Melbourne Stars’ firepower was enough to get them into the top four, while despite a poor end to their campaign, the Scorchers finished third.
Game 27 – Monday 11 January
Sydney Thunder – 173/5 (20) – Khawaja 62, Watson 62 – Bravo 2-26
Melbourne Renegades – 176/5 (19.2) – White 61, Bravo 47 – Russell 2-42
Melbourne Renegades win by five wickets
Usman Khawaja and Jacques Kallis started off well for the Thunder, putting on 60 in the power play overs. When the South African was out dismissed, Shane Watson came in and started to hit the ball around, and both Australians would go on to reach 62 before losing their wickets. Wickets with the final two balls of the innings stopped the Renegades in their tracks, Darren Bravo the man to do so.
Chris Gayle and Tom Cooper started well, both reaching the 20s, but it was Cameron White and Dwayne Bravo who put the Renegades in with a chance of reaching their 174 target. The captain, White, was out for 61, while Bravo was dismissed for 47, both by Andre Russell. They looked like they might falter but Peter Nevill hit a boundary to get them across the line.
Game 28 – Wednesday 13 January
Hobart Hurricanes – 143 (19.3) – Paine 45, Hill 32 – Neser 3-26, Rashid 2-16, West 2-24, Laughlin 2-31
Adelaide Strikers – 146/4 (20) – Ludeman 57*, Hodge 28 – Milenko 3-25
Adelaide Strikers win by six wickets.
Kumar Sangakkara and Ben Dunk were both out cheaply at the start of the Hurricanes’ innings, Tim Paine provided some stability, along with Matthew Hill. However, despite these two both getting in, wickets kept tumbling through the 20 overs. Adil Rashid, Ben Laughlin and Greg West, on debut, took two wickets, while Michael Neser got the last two to finish with figures of 3-26.
In reply, the Strikers were steady. Jon Dean, Travis Head and Brad Hodge all got in and got out, while the wicketkeeper, Tim Ludeman batted all the way through, keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Simon Milenko took 3-25 for Hobart, but they never had enough runs on the board but it did take a last ball six from Jake Lehmann to secure victory for the Strikers.
Game 29 – Thursday 14 January
Brisbane Heat – 188/7 (20) – Lynn 56, Simmons 44 – Zampa 2-31, Hilfenhaus 2-42
Melbourne Stars – 133/9 (20) – Gulbis 61*, Hussey 25 – Badree 5-22, Lalor 2-21, Swepson 2-29
Brisbane Heat win by 55 runs.
Despite losing JJ Peirson in the first over, the Heat had a fantastic power play. Their captain, Chris Lynn, hit five sixes in a row in his 56 from just 24 balls. Lendl Simmons also hit 44, while Joe Burns, Nathan Reardon and Ben Cutting all got into the 20s before being dismissed, Ben Hilfenhaus and Adam Zampa took two wickets each, but Brisbane hit a mammoth 188.
In reply, the hosts never got going, falling to 23/5 in just five overs. This was thanks to a fantastic spell from Samuel Badree, who finished with figures of 5-22 in his four overs, a career best for him. David Hussey hit 25, while Evan Gulbis was the star of the innings, hitting 61 from 52, but they never looked like getting close, falling 55 runs short of the Heat’s total.
Game 30 – Saturday 16 January
Sydney Thunder – 202/5 (20) – Watson 66, Russell 46, M Hussey 41 – Abbott 2-41
Sydney Sixers – 156 (17.3) – Maddinson 70 – McKay 3-16, Green 3-27, Ahmed 3-39
Sydney Thunder win by 46 runs
The Thunder’s innings started at a steady pace, reaching 48-1 in the power play overs, but some bug hitting from Shane Watson and Mike Hussey, who hit 66 and 41 respectively, got them into a promising position. 46 from just 20 deliveries from West Indian Andre Russell was the icing on the cake for the first innings to reach 200 in this year’s tournament.
The Sixers started badly any got worse in their chase. Five batsmen got into double figures before getting out, with only captain, Nic Maddinson, providing any sort of stability against the Thunder attack. He hit 70 from 40 balls, but three wickets each for Fawad Ahmed, Clint McKay and Chris Green gave the Thunder a comfortable victory in the second Sydney derby of the year.
Game 31 – Saturday 16 January
Melbourne Stars – 146/9 (20) – D Hussey 36, Gulbis 25* – Dixon 3-32, Tye 2-25
Perth Scorchers – 94 (19) – Voges 46* – Worral 3-15, Hilfenhaus 3-17, Zampa 2-16
Melbourne Stars win by 52 runs.
The Scorchers’ attack started well, with Matt Dixon taking three early wickets, reducing the Stars to 55/4. However, good innings’ from the Scorchers captain, David Hussey, Rob Quiney and Evan Gulbis once again, saw the Melbourne side up to a below average total of 146. They were halted by Dixon and Andrew Tye, who also took two wickets.
It was even worse for the Scorchers when they came to bat. They fell to 26/4 in the power play overs, with Worrall and Hilfenhaus both taking two early wickets. Only Adam Voges, the Australian middle-order batsman, stayed there, scoring 46 from 51, but he had no help, as Zampa also chided in with a couple of wickets to end the innings in the 19th over.
Game 32 – Monday 18 January
Adelaide Strikers – 170/5 (20) – Ludeman 49, Dean 48, Hodge 37* – Doherty 2-30
Melbourne Renegades – 143 (15.3) – Gayle 56, Rimmington 26 – Head 3-16, Neser 2-15, Holland 2-24
Adelaide Strikers win by 27 runs.
The Striker’s innings started brilliantly with an 85-run partnership between Tim Ludeman and Jono Dean. They fell for 49 and 48 respectively, and when they fell to 107/4 it looked like they were collapsing. However, Jake Lehmann (24) and Brad Hodge (37*) got Adelaide up to 170/5, a good total in the circumstances. Xavier Doherty was the best bowler, taking 2-30.
Chris Gayle equalled a world record in his effort at the start of the chase, scoring 50 off just 12 balls, hitting seven sixes in the process. However, when he went for 56, the rest of his team mates started to crumble. Only Nathan Rimmington (26), Cameron Gannon (23) and Peter Nevill (21) provided any runs, with Tim Head taking three wickets, while Michael Neser and Jon Holland took two each.
Points Table (32 games, all played 8):
Strikers – 14
Stars – 10
Scorchers – 10
Thunder – 8
Renegades – 6
Heat – 6
Hurricanes – 6
Sixers – 4
Thursday 21 January – Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Thunder
Friday 22 January – Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers