Perth Scorchers 4 for 147 (Bancroft 59, Turner 43*, Bravo 2-18) beat Melbourne Stars 6 for 146 (Dunk 62, Gulbis 37, Tye 4-18) by six wickets
The Perth Scorchers breathed much-needed life back into their stuttering BBL campaign with a comfortable win over the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.
After winning the flip, the visitors charged themselves with the task of restricting the Stars on what looked a wonderful batting pitch. A sterling return of 4 for 18 from Andrew Tye and some clever legspin bowling from Usman Qadir helped the Scorchers achieve this, before Cameron Bancroft and Ashton Turner led Perth’s reply to deliver their second win of the tournament.
Despite the Scorchers missing four of their regulars, it was the Stars who appeared rather depleted, starting the game without Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb and Adam Zampa. All four men are part of the Australia ODI squad to face India from January 12. Legspinning revelation Sandeep Lamichhane had made his exit as well, to play the Bangladesh Premier League.
While Stars openers, Ben Dunk and Evan Gulbis, were able to lay a strong platform, their dismissals triggered a slide that, in keeper Seb Gotch’s words, left them “about ten to fifteen runs short”. It proved true, as Bancroft’s 59 off 42 and Turner’s 43* off 22 secured the win for the West Australian franchise.
Stars Take One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
They were a study in contrasts: consolidating wickets but not capitalising with runs. Gulbis and Dunk struggled to find momentum from the outset, making only 31 runs from the first five overs, before launching into Ashton Agar’s left-arm spin, taking him for 14 runs to leave them well set at 0 for 45 at the end of the Powerplay.
From there, barring the occasional Dunk spurt and comically poor Scorchers fielding, the home side failed to build momentum. Neither boundaries nor singles were forged with any regularity, as Qadir registered his best performance in the tournament. He made the initial breakthrough with the score on 65, accounting for Gulbis who departed for 37 after miscueing a slog-sweep to David Willey – the Englishman taking a tumbling catch three-quarters of the way to the cow corner boundary. Qadir’s sharp wrong’un was a particular feature, rendering him extremely difficult to manipulate around the field. He finished with 1 for 25 from his four overs.
As with most of the innings, there were brief glimpses of light. One Agar over yielded 16 runs for the Stars with Dunk unleashing a trio of low-trajectory, forehanded swipes over the bowler’s head and into the boundary. His innings of 62 was a rare positive in an otherwise middling performance.
Tye Too Good
While ODI cricket meant the fixture was shorn of talent, Tye’s class shone through. Even on a flat pitch, the short-form specialist had the batsmen in knots with his cool mix of off quick deliveries and knuckle balls. For his first wicket, Tye delivered an absolute brute of a short ball to Stars captain Nic Maddinson, which had him hopping, bopping, and gloving the ball through to Cameron Bancroft behind the stumps. The next saw him set up experienced campaigner Dwayne Bravo with a slower ball clocking in at 112 kph, before the next was speared in some 28 kph quicker: a bullet that cannoned into leg stump and sent the West Indian packing. As further reward for ripping the heart out of the Stars’ depleted line-up, Tye claimed the wickets of both Seb Gotch and Jono Merlo in the 19th over, both holing out in the deep, to leave the T20 veteran with his second four-wicket haul at BBL level and the first for any player in the competition this year.
Bancroft Impresses, Ashton Turns The Screws
An opening partnership of 75 laid the foundation for the Scorchers’ chase, though they were never too far ahead of the asking rate. Cameron Bancroft, who has steadily grown in both confidence and output since his return to professional cricket, recorded his biggest contribution here with a well-timed half-century.
Despite the strong start, a slight middle-over lull from Bancroft and Michael Klinger meant that nine overs in, the Stars were ahead in comparison. And while Bancroft began to accelerate with reverse sweeps and lofted drives, Klinger was labouring at just under a run-a-ball. He eventually departed for 29 off 30, bringing Turner to the crease.
This ultimately worked in the Scorchers favour. Even though Bancroft fell soon after, leaving Agar and Turner at the crease as two new batsmen, the Scorchers captain was up to the task. Turner went 6, 4, 6 during one particular Michael Beer over, confirming the Scorchers’ ascendancy and ensuring they remain alive in the competition for a little longer yet.
Sam Perry is a Melbourne-based sportswriter. @sjjperry
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Mumbai teen gets three-year ban for flashing in dressing room
A Mumbai age-group player has been banned for three years for “gross misconduct” towards a team-mate during an all-India tournament in December. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) took the decision after a complaint was raised against the player by his team-mate on December 22. The ban will last till January 14, 2022, during which the player will not be allowed to participate in any cricket organised by the MCA, or represent Mumbai in any BCCI tournament.
The player’s details are being withheld given that he is a minor.
ESPNcricinfo understands that the in addition to using bad language, something the player admitted to during the inquiry by an ad-hoc committee set up by the MCA, the player exposed himself in front of his team-mate. It is understood that the player will appeal to the MCA to review the ban.
This is believed to be the first such case where a player in India has been punished for a sexually offensive act in front of, and following a complaint by, his peers.
The MCA’s verdict did not specify the offence. But in the notice sent to the player, the MCA said he was guilty of “gross misconduct and bringing the name of the association to disrepute”. It also pointed out that the player had resorted to “the ugliest behaviour, which has shocked the entire team. In fact, this [incident] also affected the team atmosphere and is against the very principles of sportsmanship and healthy atmosphere amongst the team members.”
The verdict was reached by the ad-hoc inquiry committee, after a meeting held at the MCA office on January 14. In addition to hearing the player and the complainant, he committee also spoke with the team coach, manager and chairman of the age-group selection committee. The ad-hoc committee comprised MCA secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar, CEO CS Naik, and managing committee members Naveen Shetty, Ganesh Iyer and Shah Alam Shaikh.
Pakistan heritage causes India visa delay for England Lion Saqib Mahmood
ESPNcricinfo understands that Saqib, who is Birmingham-born, is struggling to obtain a visa for India due to his Pakistan heritage. While the ECB hope the issue can be resolved within the next few days, he did not fly out with the rest of the squad.
Bailey, like Saqib a Lancashire seamer, enjoyed an excellent 2018 season, claiming 64 wickets at 19 in the County Championship, the most by any bowler. He was voted the PCA’s Championship Player of the Year.
England Lions are set to play five 50-over matches against India A in Trivandrum, in the southern state of Kerala, before two unofficial four-day Test matches in February.
“Both sides will want to play good, winning cricket but I think we all understand that it’s the development opportunity for these high potential youngsters that we’re after,” Andy Flower, the England Lions head coach, told the ECB website.
“The purpose of these Lions tours is to offer our highest potential young talent in the country the opportunity to either train or to play in a competitive tour in foreign conditions. Our county system is good; there are some really talented, outstanding cricketers that come out of it.”
Saqib’s late omission was the third change that the Lions squad was forced to make prior to their departure at the weekend. The Worcestershire pair of Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore were withdrawn on the eve of the squad’s gathering after details of their off-field activities emerged during the trial of former team-mate, Alex Hepburn.
SLC elections postponed to February 21
Sri Lanka Cricket elections, which were set to be held on February 7, 2019, have been postponed by another two weeks to February 21. The move comes as a result of a technical error in the Sinhala to English translation of the gazette which empowers Sri Lanka’s sports minister to appoint an advisory committee to hear election-related appeals.
The original Sinhala gazette had stated that a retired judge would have to head the committee, however the English translation had missed out on the word “retired”, sports minister Harin Fernando said. Therefore, following consultation with Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, it was decided that elections be postponed by two weeks until the error was rectified.
“It is because we had to correct the gazette, it was a legal issue,” said Fernando. “I couldn’t appoint a sitting judge. The gazette was done by the previous minister, and according to the Attorney General’s advice we had to change it and give ample time for the new appeal committee to make their considerations.”
Sri Lanka Cricket elections have been postponed indefinitely since May 31, 2018, after a court of appeal found that election protocol had been flouted. The ICC had set a deadline of February 9 for elections to be held. Fernando said that the recent developments were conveyed to the ICC, and that he hopes to meet with ICC chairman Shashank Manohar as soon as possible to explain the present state of affairs.
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