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First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
The Big Bash match between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars was not one to be missed. A good rivalry developed between the two teams last season after their semi-final clash, and who doesn't want to see Shane Warne in action? I felt before the match the game could go either way, but my gut feeling was the Stars in a close one.
I was supporting the Scorchers, hoping they could snatch their first win of the season.
Who else but Lasith Malinga the slinger? Second-best figures in Twenty20 history - 6 for 7. It was a stunning spell of bowling from one of the most devastating fast bowlers in the game. He also got a good round of applause from the crowd when he left the field.
One thing you'd have changed
I would have not had the rain, because I had to wait around for about an hour not knowing what would happen, only to see one final ball... which was left through to the keeper. It would have been nicer if the Stars could have just chased down the target without the long delay.
Face-off you relished
Malinga v Scorchers! It was always going to be fascinating watching Lasith bowl, and he tore apart the Scorchers line-up. The Scorchers had no answers to his often brutal, sometimes clever, deliveries.
Any of Malinga's wickets would have been okay, but his sixth was breathtaking, especially once the general hope was, "he's taken five, that's enough". Instead he delivered a stunning slower yorker to Joe Mennie, who played all around it and the ball hit off stump. And the next ball he almost had seven, with Michael Beer playing and missing a yorker that just skidded past off stump.
Malinga was in front of me for a time, and I tried to get a wave from him, but all I got was a subtle smile. Also in front of me were Clint McKay, Rob Quiney and Nathan Coulter-Nile at different stages of the match. Only Brad Hogg gave autographs and was duly filmed while doing so.
Shot of the day
After going for a couple of fours, Mennie bowled a half-volley which Luke Wright lofted with class into the crowd. It symbolised the Stars' utter domination of the Scorchers.
For a wet, cold Wednesday afternoon the crowd (at least before the rain) was pretty decent. Over 8000 people turned up but were silent for a large portion of the match, due to the shock of seeing the Scorchers collapse. Most people left during the rain break, but some die-hards braved the weather to ultimately see one ball. Fancy dress index The butterfly ladies were back and strolled around the ground. There were people wearing buckets and watermelons on their heads and a lot of orange around the ground. The other noticeable fashion trend was some players wearing their baseball-style caps backwards. The main offender was Glenn Maxwell.
Music was played between balls and over the rain delay, although there were no songs of note. The Scorcher's opening batsmen were greeted with fire and fireworks when they went out to bat, as was the whole team when they entered the "Furnace" to field. There were some fire-shooters near one bank that were activated whenever the Scorchers hit a four (which didn't happen very often!). There was not much on offer during the delay, apart from my bucket which I was using to collect drips from the roof in front of the dressing rooms. People pointed to it and laughed when they passed it. One guy said, "That's putting those buckets to good use". It was so popular a cameraman even filmed it! The entertainment for the kids during the delay was trying to get on camera in the background of TV interviews with a variety of players and coaches.
Confusion of the day
No one had a clue what would happen when the rain first bucketed down onto the WACA field. Would we get any more play, how many overs needed to be bowled, what the target would be. Eventually the word was that the cut-off time was 7:52pm and five overs needed to be bowled to constitute a match. The rain slowed down at about 7:35pm. The umpires inspected the ground, and, to the Scorchers despair, decided we could play. Then the target was the subject of confusion. Surely, if the Scorchers scored 69 then the target would be about 15, which the Stars were well past? So why do we need to play? In the end, the target was six runs. However, the ruling was one ball needed to be bowled. There was a lot of warming up by both sides (for one ball), and at 7:53pm Hilton Cartwright bowled a ball outside off, which Quiney calmly left. The crowd booed the umpires off the field, for having to stay an hour to see just one ball. It was called "ridiculous" and "farcical" by members of the crowd (and, as I later found out, by Scorchers captain Simon Katich). Everyone shook hands and that was it.
ODI v Twenty20?
Still T20 for me. I like ODIs, but T20s just have a great atmosphere, big crowds, entertainment for everyone, and, best of all, exciting cricket. This all adds up to a better experience. Overall It was a superb performance by the Stars, led by Malinga the slinger. The Scorchers just couldn't stand up to them on a cold, wet night. The confusion during the rain delay was frustrating, but I feel privileged to have seen one of the best T20 spells ever.
Marks out of 10
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