26/02/2024

Matt Short celebrates his match-winning century against Hobart. (Picture: Adelaide Strikers / Twitter)

The fourth round of BBL|12 was arguably the best of the season thus far, with the largest run chase in the competition’s history completed in one of the most entertaining games ever.

Teams also started to separate themselves from the pack, while the make-up of the league is set to be shaken up with various stars arriving and departing.

The Inner Sanctum recaps all the results and biggest talking points of Round Four of BBL|12.

Round 4 results:

Hobart Hurricanes (3-178) defeated the Adelaide Strikers (6-177) by seven wickets

Hurricanes: Caleb Jewell 54, Ben McDermott 53, Nathan Ellis 2-39, Paddy Dooley 1-25

Strikers: Chris Lynn 87, Matt Short 38, Peter Siddle 1-21, Rashid Khan 1-43

Melbourne Renegades (7-141) defeated the Melbourne Stars (9-108) by 33 runs

Renegades: Mackenzie Harvey 32*, Martin Guptill 32, Tom Rogers 5-16, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 2-7

Stars: Nick Larkin 48*, Hilton Cartwright 20, Trent Boult 2-23, Luke Wood 2-29

Brisbane Heat (6-147) against the Sydney Sixers was washed out for no result

Heat: Michael Neser 45*, Colin Munro 38

Sixers: Stephen O’Keefe 3-26, Ben Dwarshuis 1-18

Sydney Thunder (4-143) defeated the Perth Scorchers (9-142) by six wickets

Thunder: Oliver Davies 58, Alex Ross 41, Nathan McAndrew 3-29, Usman Qadir 2-36

Scorchers: Ashton Turner 61, Matthew Kelly 17, Jhye Richardson 2-36, Jason Behrendorff 1-23

Adelaide Strikers (3-230) defeated the Hobart Hurricanes (4-229) by seven wickets

Strikers: Matt Short 100*, Chris Lynn 64, Colin de Grandhomme 2-45, Matt Short 1-34,

Hurricanes: Ben McDermott 57, Caleb Jewell 54, Paddy Dooley 2-25, Tim David 1-18

Sydney Sixers (4-176) defeated the Melbourne Stars (5-173) by six wickets

Sixers: James Vince 91*, Daniel Hughes 28, Sean Abbott 3-31, Todd Murphy 1-22

Stars: Marcus Stoinis 52, Tom Rogers 48, Nathan Coulter-Nile 1-20, Beau Webster 1-29

Melbourne Renegades (4-164) defeated the Hobart Hurricanes (8-162) by six wickets

Renegades: Sam Harper 89, Martin Guptill 36, Kane Richardson 2-20, Tom Rogers 2-40

Hurricanes: Caleb Jewell 28, Ben McDermott 28, Nathan Ellis 1-17, Joel Paris 1-36

Perth Scorchers (3-173) defeated the Brisbane Heat (9-171) by seven wickets:

Scorchers: Cameron Bancroft 76*, Aaron Hardie 57, Andrew Tye 3-37, Matthew Kelly 2-28

Heat: Colin Munro 45, Josh Brown 34, Mark Steketee 1-35, Matt Kuhnemann 1-38

Sydney Sixers (3-143) defeated the Sydney Thunder (8-133) by seven wickets

Sixers: Jordan Silk 59*, Moises Henriques 53*, Sean Abbott 3-9, Ben Dwarshuis 2-38

Thunder: Sam Whiteman 42, Alex Ross 34, Chris Green 2-29, Brendan Doggett 1-23

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Five Talking Points:

1. Strikers’ historic chase the latest high point in action-packed season

Was Thursday’s game between Hobart and Adelaide the greatest match in BBL history? If not, it’s hard to remember a better one in recent memory.

After the Hurricanes posted their highest-ever total (229), the Strikers completed the biggest chase in BBL history on the back of an incredible Matt Short unbeaten century.

While the instant classic was easily the highlight of the season thus far, it was also the latest in a trend of high-scoring and entertaining games.

The competition’s trajectory has been in a downward spiral for several years, with dwindling public interest, elongated fixtures, a lack of star international talent, and two Covid-affected seasons taking its toll.

But the level of play has arguably never been better, with BBL|12 delivering some of the highest innings scores in the competition’s history.

This, in combination with the decision to play more games at regional and local grounds, could help the league get back to heights it hasn’t come close to since its glory years.

With the number of games in future seasons also set to be reduced under the new TV rights deal, the BBL finally looks to be on the accession.

Taking games to grounds like North Sydney Oval has proven to be a success with fans. (Picture: Joshua Davis)

2. Thunder storming up the ladder

The game in which Sydney was all out for 15 feels like it was a lifetime ago for the Thunder, who has slowly emerged as one of the form teams of the competition.

The Thunder were on a four-game winning streak before falling to the Sixers in a disappointing seven-wicket loss on Sunday night.

But the team’s season could have easily been over before it even began following its historic collapse to Adelaide last month.

This was compounded by losing their skipper Jason Sangha (broken collarbone) and Afghan import Fazalhaq Farooq (terminated after a behavioural complaint) soon afterwards.

But the Thunder have rallied to currently sit fourth on the ladder, with their balance of youth and experience meaning they have all the tools to make the finals for the fourth year in a row.

Matthew Gilkes and Oliver Davies are two of the most exciting young Australian players in the format, with their recent form with the bat making them ominous prospects for opposition bowlers.

Seasoned campaigners Chris Green, Daniel Sams, and Nathan McAndrew anchor the bowling attack, while recent debutant Joel Davies (brother of Oliver) has caught the eye with his lightning arm in the field.

While the Thunder have lost their star international duo of Alex Hales and Rilee Rossouw, David Warner’s highly anticipated return to the BBL should be more than enough to cover their departures at the top of the order.

Under champion coach Trevor Bayliss, Sydney looms as one of the stories to watch as the season continues.

3. No shortage of growth for BBL’s newest star

Matt Short’s unbeaten 100 not only completed the biggest chase in BBL history but signified the Adelaide opener’s incredible rise over the last year.

Heading into last season the Victorian was an unknown commodity, but emerged as a proven opener, a handful with the ball, and one of the league’s most-improved players.

But Short has taken his game to yet another level in BBL|12 and has comfortably ended discussions about the competition’s best player.

The 27-year-old (321 runs for the season at an average of 45.86) is the favourite to be this year’s leading run scorer, with teammate Chris Lynn currently only ahead of him by just three runs.

He also bowls at an economical rate, takes the first over of the innings, and has taken seven wickets so far this season.

Dominating the BBL has been a proven pathway for up-and-coming players to earn international honours and with Australia likely looking for new blood after a disappointing home T20 World Cup last year, Short’s career-best form would be catching the eye of selectors.

4. Defiant Scorchers continue to fire

The Scorchers showed once again why they should never be doubted, even though there were several reasons to be concerned about the reigning champs this year.

Their three international players (Phil Salt, Laurie Evans and Tymal Mills) all departed before the season even began, while Mitch Marsh was ruled out for the entire tournament following ankle surgery.

Despite this Perth started BBL|12 strongly, but there were still questions that needed to be answered as its campaign rolled on.

It needed to find new openers with international duo Faf du Plessis and Adam Lyth departing, while Cameron Green would no longer be returning after he broke his finger during the Boxing Day Test.

But there were no issues for Perth in its convincing seven-wicket win over Brisbane on Saturday, new opener Cameron Bancroft made an unbeaten 76 in just his third game for the season, while Aaron Hardie’s (57 off 33) move to number three looks like a winner.

After struggling against openers Colin Munro and Josh Brown, the Scorchers’ bowlers fought back and went 8-90 in the final 11 overs.

This was despite Jhye Richardson missing due to a hamstring strain, though “Wild Thing” Lance Morris has finally returned from the Test squad.

Saturday’s win was a reminder that the most successful club in the BBL’s history still has the best culture and depth in the league.

5. International stars depart while Aussies heroes return

While BBL|12 is more than halfway complete, the landscape of the competition is set to rapidly change.

The start of January was always going to be the point where multiple international signees departed and Australian Test players returned from the series against South Africa.

Rashid Khan, Colin Munro, Sam Billings, Alex Hales, Faf du Plessis, Trent Boult, James Vince, Akeal Hosein, Chris Jordan and Rilee Rossouw are some of the stars who have headed off for the new SA20 and ILT20 leagues.

Chris Lynn will also leave the Strikers for the ILT20 following next Saturday’s match against the Heat.

Colin Munro has played his last game for the Heat this season. (Picture: Joshua Davis)

While losing several of the competition’s most exciting players will be a blow, the addition of some of Australia’s best will help soften the blow.

The Sixers (Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon), Strikers (Travis Head and Alex Carey) and Heat (Usman Khawaja, Matt Renshaw and Marnus Labuschagne) are the biggest beneficiaries with each of them regaining multiple players.

But David Warner’s return to the Thunder is the biggest story, while Ashton Agar will return to the Scorchers following his Test recall.

With a significant portion of the season still to be played, these personnel changes could swing the fortunes of teams for better or worse.

Round 5 of the BBL kicks off on Monday night between the Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars.

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