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BBL10: Daniel Sams steals the show in Sydney's towering victory over Brisbane

The grudge match between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder was stolen by a riveting Daniel Sams knock turning the game on its head to give Thunder their first win in the Big Bash League this season. Chasing 179, Thunder were in no shape to win the game till halfway point in the innings, losing 5 wickets for just 80 runs. With 77 required from the final seven, Sams and former Brisbane mainstay, Ben Cutting, stepped on the accelerator to bring the equation down to 32 in the final three overs.

Redemption seeker Ben Cutting, who had a massive fallout with the Brisbane management ahead of the season, failed to seal the game and was undone by a slower ball in the 18th over by Mark Steketee.

With Cutting gone, on song Sams took it upon himself and cleared the rope with four huge sixes in the penultimate over to close off the game singlehandedly with 7 balls remaining. He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round efforts with the ball and the bat.


It could so easily have been Jack Wildermuth’s night

Before Daniel Sams stole the show with his stellar innings, this match was all about Jack Wildermuth, and it could have been that way if Heat had been able to get their yorkers right.

When Jack Wildermuth came out to bat in the first innings, Heat were suffering from a momentum issue. Barring the over from young Tanveer Sangha where Chris Lynn scored 16 runs, Heat had barely anything to show till then in terms of batting with intent.

When Wildermuth walked into bat in the 18th over, Heat were reeling at 140/4. Coming off the India vs Australia A match with a century, he took a couple of balls to adjust and then battered most bowlers in the Thunder line-up to score 31 off just 11 balls. This propelled Heat to 177 in a space of 12 balls before he was caught at short third man off a miscued slog.

If that wasn’t enough, Wildermuth picked up three wickets in his first spell. Opening the bowling for the first time, he moved the ball in with the angle and made it immensely difficult for the batsmen to target him in the powerplay. Wildermuth bowled Alex Hales through the gate, drew Callum Ferguson into a false shot, and got Usman Khawaja to edge one to the keeper to put his team in a fine position, in the early part of the chase.


Thunder’s middle-order get their act together

There is no doubt about who won Thunder the game. But the patient rebuild was started by the middle order who picked the correct balls to go after and kept the scoreboard busy without taking unnecessary risks. Alex Ross was impressive in particular, mixing incredible timing and effective power hitting. Unfortunately, he had to depart looking for the big shots due to his groin niggle but was ably backed up by the efforts of Baxter Holt and Ben Cutting who scored 23 and 29 respectively. They desperately tried to build a foundation and got out trying to accelerate. 


I am Daniel Sams…and I didn’t wanna get a duck

In the post-match presentation, Daniel Sams said that he had been working hard with Ponting to clear the boundary. It showed as Sams cleared the ropes for the seventh time in the innings to seal the game with seven balls to spare. He had gone through a lean patch in the last edition of BBL and stated that he did not want to get a duck and was not flustered by the early losses in the Thunder's innings.

The hitting part was aided by the Heat’s bowlers missing their yorkers time and again throughout the final overs as Sams kept dispatching the full tosses over cow corner.

It can be very easy to forget after that stellar batting display that Sams is a proper asset in the bowling department for any T20 franchise, one who can bowl and deliver at any time of the innings. He bowled the final over today as well in the first innings, picking up the prized wicket of a solid-looking Wildermuth and kept it to just seven runs in that over.

In conclusion

Sydney Thunder registered their first win in this competition, picking up three points against the Brisbane side. On the other hand, while Heat looked on course to win the game for the majority of the match, they would be going back to the nets to work on their execution in the final overs. Having said that, all is not lost considering Heat did very well to change their approach from the last game to put on runs aggressively in the opening overs. Heat have ample time before they play their next game against the Strikers on 23rd December and if today was any indication, they will look to bounce back in the most aggressive manner.

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Waqar Younis laments Babar Azam missing T20I series against New Zealand

Former Pakistan legend and the current bowling coach of the Pakistan national team, Waqar Younis lamented the fact that Babar Azam will be missing the T20I series against New Zealand which is slated to commence from 18th December. Babar was slated to lead Pakistan in the T20I series against the Kiwis but a thumb injury during a practice session all but ruled out his chances of taking part in the upcoming series. There is no doubt about the fact that Babar Azam is currently one of the finest young batsmen going around. When on song, Babar makes batting look ridiculously easy and there is certainly no doubt about the fact that the Men in Green will be missing his services. Babar who was appointed as the skipper across formats very recently has been ruled out of the series owing to a fractured thumb. The PCB has revealed that Babar will take atleast 12 days to recuperate from the injury. Speaking on the same, Waqar Younis said that Babar is one of the best players in the world across formats and it is a major setback for the visitors. "There is no doubt that Babar is one of the best players in the world now in any format. So it is a major setback for us. Other teams are scared of him," Waqar said during a media interaction ahead of the New Zealand T20Is. "It is unfortunate that it (injury) happened at the wrong time, just at the stroke of the series starting," the Pakistani bowling coach added. A major reshuffling of Pakistan's batting order is on the cards as the visitors will consider alternate combinations in the absence of Azam during the entire T20I series against the Kiwis. Pakistan commences their tour of New Zealand with a three-match T20I series with the opening clash slated to be played at the Eden Park in Auckland on 18th December.


Kuldeep Yadav reckons spinners might be difficult to pick under lights

Indian left arm-chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav has backed himself to be part of the Indian XI for the opening Test against Australia slated to start from 17th December. It will be India’s first pink-ball Test in overseas conditions and Kuldeep is of the opinion that the spinners might be difficult to read under lights. It will be a huge challenge for the Indian team especially given the fact that the Aussies have won all their home day-night Tests so far. Kuldeep might not have made a mark in the last year or so but he was tipped to be India’s go-to bowler in the longest format for overseas conditions by Ravi Shastri not long ago. He might have fallen off the radar quite a bit but given his skills as a wrist spinner, Kuldeep still stands a chance to play the first Test at the Adelaide Oval from Thursday. “I feel it’s difficult to read spinners at night because if a spinner uses variations it’s not always easy to spot the seam position of the ball. That can be an advantage for us,” Kuldeep was quoted as saying to KKR.in. India played their only pink-ball Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata last year and they don’t have much of an experience of bowling with a pink ball in overseas conditions. However, the pace brigade of India showed quite a lot of promise in the 2nd practice game skittling out Australia A for a meagre 108 runs in the 1st essay. “I have never experienced a pink ball match outside India. So, it will be exciting to see how it goes. It’ll be unfair to say spinners haven’t dominated in Australian conditions, there have been many instances when spinners have done well Down Under. It completely depends on how quickly you adapt to, and read the conditions. “A lot of us, having played so much T20 cricket of late, will have to be patient when playing Test cricket. Mental toughness is very important. “When switching to the longer format, you sometimes tend to try too many things too quickly. Wickets don’t come easy in Test cricket, so patience is the key.” India won their maiden Test series in Australia when they toured last time around in 2019. They won the series 2-1 in the absence of two top-class players from Australia Steve Smith and David Warner. However, Kuldeep didn’t really accept the fact that the series win was largely possible due to the omission of those two stalwarts. “You need to win Test matches to win a series. We won two of them, and could have won the fourth one too had there been no rain. The criticism holds no merit. Whenever you are playing against a team, your own team’s performance matters the most. “So instead of looking at the other team – who they have in their squad, and who they don’t – it makes more sense to talk about your own team.” Kuldeep has been part of the Test squad for a long time but he hasn’t been given a long break due to indifferent performances especially in overseas Tests. He has played a couple of Tests against Australia. While he did make a mark in the Dharmshala Test, he looked off-colour in the next one. However, he feels that if the fast bowler can rise to the occasion, India can beat Australia again in the Test series. “We did well, and hence we won the Test series. If our fast bowling works well and we perform as prolifically with the bat as we did the last time, we will win this time too. “Yes, their team has now improved with the return of the experienced David Warner, Steve Smith and the likes of Marnus (Labuschagne), who has really done well for them in recent times. “But last time too, their team was good but we played some really, really good cricket to win. Looking forward to the challenge once again, it’s going to be a great contest.” Kuldeep has grown up idolizing Shane Warne just like several wrist spinners from that generation. When asked whether he had taken any piece of advice from his idol, Kuldeep said that Warne has always suggested him to wear a smile on his face to hide the stress. “He has shared a lot of valuable inputs about bowling over the years, but mainly, he talks about mental preparation. “One thing he always insists on is to always wear a smile on my face. He has told me that’s a very important virtue for a spinner. If your face shows any sense of stress, your body language goes for a toss. “I’ve worked on this specifically and I consider it as one of the best advice I’ve got,” Kuldeep added.


BBL 10 | Match Preview: Adelaide Strikers seek to stop Hobart's Hurricane

Just two days after facing each other, Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers would be up against each other once again in the 10th edition of the Big Bash League (BBL). The first round went to the Hurricanes as they registered an 11-run win over Strikers at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. The venue now changes to Aurora Stadium in Launceston. For the Hurricanes, riding high after two consecutive victories, there is very little that needs to be changed. The Strikers, on the other hand, have started their season with a loss. They would look for more contributions from their primary batsmen who went down in a heap against the Adelaide side. The trump card of Strikers, leg-spinner Rashid Khan, also had an uncharacteristically off day in his team's opening match of the season. His quality and consistency in the past suggests he will get back his form sooner or later. Hurricanes Looking Good With two victories in two matches, the Hobart team is off the blocks without any hiccups in BBL. For them, one of the biggest positives has been the form of their leading bowler James Faulkner. The left-armer had a good outing in both the games so far. Johan Botha, former South African spinner making a comeback in cricket, struggled in the first match but regained his composure in the second. His form provides strength to the spin-bowling department and justifies his place in the playing XI. There is some concern for the Hurricanes regarding the form of Nathan Ellis. The find of the last season, he is yet to hit his stride. One good match could bring him back into the kind of form that made him one of the team's most valuable players. The Hobart side did suffer a big setback in its first match, against Sydney Sixers, when both their openers, including T20 specialist D'Arcy Short, were sent back to the pavillion for ducks. But both hit back in the second game to put on a partnership of 63 in the match against Strikers. Short was in full flow again, scoring 72 off just 48 balls. His form at the top of the order will be very important. The middle order looks reasonably stable with Colin Ingram havaing scored a fifty and Peter Handscomb looking solid, though without a substantial score to his name. Tim David and James Faulkner provide good depth to the batting line-up. Improvements Needed for Strikers One match is too small a sample to judge any team. The collapse suffered by Adelaide in their first game may be more a result of ring-rust than anything else. A knock of 33 by Matt Renshaw is somethign to be looked upon favourably. So was, the blazing knock of 62* by Daniel Worrall. But the rest of the line-up had an off day. In the bowling department, Rashid Khan will often be the pivot around which the attack would revolve. His lack of success in the first game proved very costly. But that wouldn't worry his team since this was just one game. What would give them hope is that Wes Agar and Peter Siddle went for economy rates under eight, with the former picking up two wickets also. It would be interesting to see whether either of the two gets the new ball in the upcoming match on the back of their efforts against Hobart. Hobart Hurricanes vs Adelaide Strikers: Match Details Venue: Aurora Stadium, Launceston Date and Time: December 15, 1:45 PM IST, 7:15 PM Local, 8:15 AM GMT Pitch Report Being a less-used stadium, there is bound to be some mystery about the nature of the pitch at this secondary venue in Tasmania. While the pitch at Hobart can assist swing bowlers, the one at the Aurora Stadium seems, going by the matches of BBL it hosted last season to be good for batting. But, with COVID having prevented much cricket, until the first match, it would be difficult to accurately predict the nature of the wicket. Weather and Toss Overcast conditions and a bit of rain is expected on the day of the match, especially in the evening. This could work in the favour of seam bowlers. Hobart usually assists swing bowling when the weather is overcast. Whether Launceston is the same, we will find out during the match. The clouds and precipitation could incline the captain winning the toss to bowl first. Probable XIs Hobart Hurricanes D'Arcy Short, Will Jacks, Coling Ingram, Peter Handscomb (C, Wk), Tim David, Macalister Wright, Tim David, James Faulkner, Nathan Ellis, Johan Botha, Scott Boland Adelaide Strikers Phil Salt, Jack Weatherald, Matt Renshaw, Harry Nielsen (Wk), Jonathan Wells, Ryan Gibson, Daniel Worrall, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle (C), Wes Agar, Danny Briggs


BBL10: Twitter goes crazy after Jack Wildermuth’s all-round brilliance

Brisbane Heat all-rounder Jack Wildermuth turned the tide in his team's favour, first with the bat and then with the ball as he scored a quickfire 31 of 11 balls in the death overs to take Heat to a par score of 178 against Sydney Thunder in Canberra. Wildermuth played his first season with Heat and then moved to Renegades, before coming back this year back to his first team. With the ball, he was right on the money in the first over itself, getting the dangerman Alex Hales bowled for a duck with only his second delivery in the match. Later in the first over itself, he got the prized scalp of Thunder captain Callum Ferguson, that too for naught, ending the over with the Thunder scorecard reading one for two. Twitter was full of praise for the 27-year-old, who just a few days ago has hit a hundred in a first-class game against Indians in Sydney. But that was not all, he came back in his second over and got out Usman Khawaja too, the second opener, who was trying to hit one out of the park over the cover and got a thick edge to Jamie Pierson behind the wickets. Seeing the luck that he was in, skipper Lynn bowled him out in one go, as he finished his four-over quota with amazing figures of 3-23. When Wildermuth had come at the crease to bat, the Heat were at 140/4 at the end of the 17 overs. It was courtesy of his four sixes in 11 balls that the Heat were able to get to a good total even after Lynn got out in the 19th over. At the time of writing this news, the Thunder, chasing a target of 179, 129-5 at the end of the 15th over, needing 50 in the last five overs to win their first game.