Match Analysis | Freddie Wilde
While attention understandably focused on D’Arcy Short as he blitzed his way to a staggeringly bold debut fifty off just 21 balls, very little was paid to the seam bowling he was tucking into which was inaccurate and appeared to be poorly planned. Whether or not the Sixers knew much about Hobart Hurricanes’ new left-handed opening batsman—and given that he made his return to the professional circuit almost 12 months ago they really should have—is irrelevant when you consider that most of their bowling would have been considered poor whoever the batsman, and wherever their strengths and weaknesses.
Short scored 56 of his 61 runs against seam from 19 of his 29 balls. The seamers’ line was generally either too straight or too wide and afforded Short easy pickings on the leg side or room to free his arms on the off side. Their length was too short and gave him the opportunity, on the rare occasion when they did get their line right, to back away and open up his arms, which he did on six occasions, bringing him 26 runs.
That Short only played three shots off the front foot against the seamers is reflected in the fact that they only bowled two deliveries fuller than 6.64 metres from his stumps. The Sydney bowlers appeared to decide very quickly that there was no swing or seam to be had and fell back onto a short length at an average pace of 78mph with no apparent plan and no control over their line, or respect paid to their field setting or the shorter boundary. They were punished appropriately.
The Big Short
That said, the inadequacy of Sydney’s bowling should not take anything away from Short’s innings. His fifty was impressive as much because of its nature as its detail – the bowling being poor doesn’t mean his ball-striking and confidence were not hugely impressive. Short did not edge a single shot and only mis-timed one in his innings. He scored 54 (13) from clean hits.
Spin slows the charge
While Short dominated the Sixers seamers, he scored just 5 (10) against the spinners. Stephen O’Keefe conceded just three runs from the eight deliveries he bowled at the left hander. O’Keefe simply bowled a tight off stump line, turning the ball into Short, and that was enough to keep him tied down.
Paine times his run
While Short was attacking in the Powerplay Tim Paine did little more than turn over the strike and at the halfway stage of the innings he was scoring at less than a run-a-ball on 24* (26). With Short gone however Paine kicked on from there, scoring 39 from his next 19 balls. The shift was clearly intentional with Paine having defended 40% of his first 26 deliveries but 30% of his last 19.
Roy shows his class
Jason Roy has played two template Powerplay innings this season, maximising the fielding restrictions with unfettered, albeit controlled, attack. At no point was that more apparent than from his fourth ball in this innings when, having edged a Shaun Tait away swinger wide of slip for four the ball previously, on the downswing of the next ball he followed the swing with his hands and drove through the covers for four.
Rose ruins the response
Only twice before has a score of more than 200 been successfully chased in the BBL and neither of them have been at the SCG. Unless the Hurricanes bowled as poorly as the Sixers did in the Powerplay or someone played a special innings then this was an unlikely run-chase. Any slim chance that they would pull it off was all but ruined in the fourth over by two excellent pieces of fielding: first Stuart Broad took a tumbling catch at short third man to dismiss Jordan Silk from a Clive Rose ball that gripped and turned, then Rose himself took a brilliant reaction chance off his own bowling to remove Moises Henriques for a duck. The Hobart Hurricanes’ fielding score of 4.77 was 14.67 better than the Sixers’ -11.9.
Tait’s pitch map does not suggest a particularly good bowling performance; the line is wide and length very short. Tait is not your normal bowler though. Pitch maps such as the one above are to be expected – the key to his bowling is whether he can produce wicket-balls, and today he could. Five times Tait breached 90mph and his 92.23 mph in-swinging yorker to bowl Sam Billings was T20 fast bowling at his best. If he can produce two or three of them a match it almost doesn’t matter what he does with the rest.