Sydney Thunder 8/159 - 20 Overs v Sydney Sixers @ Spotless Stadium
1. Steven O'Keefe is an uncomplicated bowler but he is going be a banker for the Sixers throughout the tournament. To the naked eye he is not a stylish spinner, that gets nice drift, or good turn, with a nice action. O'Keefe is a chest on, round arm skiddy type bowler who users angles really well. He was at his crafty best heretaking 1/15 from 4 overs. His bowling in the power play was gold as usual. I would be taking O'Keefe to India and playing him ahead of Nathan Lyon. I think the way India use Jadeja is extremely effective over there and O'Keefe can bowl a similar trajectory. I think he is an under rated cricketer and in the sub continent could really make an impact.
2. The Sixers pace bowlers were not particular impressive despite picking up wickets and limiting the Thunder to a score of 8/159 from their 20 Overs. Against better sides they won't be able to drag a game back after being very sloppy and using questionable tactics in the bowling power play. The Thunder managed to get 62 in the power play while barely playing a shot in anger. Way too many runs were conceded through leg glances and sundries with Joe Mennie bowling a terrible first over. Doug Bollinger looked short of a gallop and lacking in variation. Ben Dwarshuish bowled way too many balls in the slot at the death, and Joe Mennie looks a little one dimensional despite having good pace. Veteran Brad Haddin looked a little stiff and sore behind the stumps. They could've gone for 180 Plus against a more experienced batting line up here. Moises Henriques and Sean Abbott will have to bowl some overs here if this side wants to challenge in the big games.
3. If we are being honest here, the Thunder have a poor batting line up as things stand. An untried opening pair who are not known as explosive T20 players in Kurtis Patterson and Ryan Gibson. Despite playing well Gibson played almost a lone hand. Jake Doran is yet to prove himself at Shield or Domestic level and is a couple of spots too high at Number 5, while Chris Green won't scare any serious side coming in at number 7. Ben Rohrer is a fantastic finisher but perhaps unsuited at number 4. I can't see them putting up match winning scores with this line up - they need Shane Watson back in a hurry. Aiden Blizzard is not a world beater, but I think I would have him at the top of the order in this side. All in all their roster looks a bit unbalanced and lacking T20 experience with the bat.
4. It's good to see one of the umpires wearing a helmet. It's only a matter of time before a fast bowler or an umpire gets seriously hurt or worse by a flat batted missile. The bats are way too big these days, and the ball is coming back down the ground even quicker than when it is bowled. Fast bowlers don't have an awful lot of time to react with their explosive follow throughs. While you can't put helmets on bowlers, it's smart for umpires. They don't have the same reaction time and are sitting ducks. Helmets should be compulsory for all umpires in T20 and 50 Over cricket at this level.
5. Channel Ten do the Big Bash really well. Ricky Ponting is relaxed, humorous and very insightful. He is a natural. Mark Waugh's dry humour and telling it straight is a good mix with Ponting. Host Mark Howard does a great job of nudging Waugh and Ponting into insightful analysis or good banter. We can hope and pray that Channel 9 don't get the rights when they go up for grabs in 12 months time. Please God!
6. "The Lurker" would have been sweating bullets early as the Thunder raced 1/62 from 6 overs. As things stand things are evenly poised with the Sixes requiring 160 to win.