The sixth edition of the Big Bash comes to an end tomorrow night with the Perth Scorchers playing host to the Sydney Sixers.
It’s been another incredibly successful season for the BBL, which has seen average crowds grow to over 30 thousand. This places the BBL in elite company; in fact there are only five sporting leagues in the world that can boast better average attendances. When you include home viewership of around 1.2 million per game it’s clear to see the BBL is fast becoming an Australian sporting behemoth. Not bad for a competition that’s only six years old.
The semi-finals showcased two of the reasons that the BBL has become such as monster.
In the first semi-final Mitch Johnson unleashed a spell of bowling on the Melbourne Stars top order that brought back memories of his domination of the 2013-14 Ashes series.
He took 3 wickets for only 3 runs in his 24 ball spell – the most economical in the BBL’s short history. Johnson’s spell was so destructive that the Stars never recovered and the Scorchers cruised home to clinch their spot in the final.
Getting to watch old guys like Mitch Johnson, Kevin Pietersen, Brad Hodge and the evergreen Brad Hogg go around again is one of the great things about the BBL. In contrast, it’s also a fantastic showcase of young talent. Not many of us would’ve gotten to see Travis Head, Chris Lynn or Billy Stanlake prior to their Australian call ups if it wasn’t for the BBL.
In the second semi-final the Brisbane Heat played host to the Sixers in one of the most scintillating games of the season. The Heat posted 167 thanks to some power hitting from Brendon McCullum and a late partnership between Marnus Labuschagne and Jack Wildermuth. The Sixers looked to be in control for much of the run chase before capitulating in the final overs, eventually needing three from the last ball to win. A skied shot over midwicket saw them scamper home for two, forcing the first super over of the season. Enter Moises Henriques who helped the Sixers to 22 in their super over, and unfortunately for the Heat that was too many.
It was the twelfth game to be decided in the last over this season (so far). Another of these games saw the Renegades post the highest score in BBL history, only to see the Hurricanes eclipse that effort in the second innings, winning the game off the last ball. With excitement factor like this it isn’t hard to see why the BBL is going from strength to strength.
So onto the final tomorrow night, it’s a battle featuring the competition’s most consistent team in the Scorchers against the most unpredictable in the Sixers. It’s going to be a game decided by the bowlers on the WACA’s fast deteriorating pitch. The Scorcher’s blistering pace attack, led by Johnson and supported by Bresnan, Tye and Richardson will look to edge out the Sixers’ well balanced line-up of Abbott, Bird, Lyon and Botha.
So who will win? With the prospect of Mitch Johnson firing down a few missiles and the definite potential for another cliff-hanger, the real winner is the Australian public.