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BBL round-up: Richardson's rockets, Thunder's turnaround and Brown's boshing

There was also Joel Davies' run out and Marcus Stoinis flaying the bowling

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
01-Jan-2023
Alex Hales has been key to Sydney Thunder's comeback  •  Cricket Australia via Getty Images

Alex Hales has been key to Sydney Thunder's comeback  •  Cricket Australia via Getty Images

The BBL is picking up steam with promising crowd numbers during the holiday season. Here's a few things that stood out as 2022 ticked over into 2023
Jordan flies in
Chris Jordan was a late arrival for Sydney Sixers' but he flew in for the game against Melbourne Renegades - almost literally. His fielding brilliance is a well-known part of his game, adding to his all-round value, and it was soon on display in Geelong as he swooped for a superb catch to remove Shaun Marsh. "When the ball went up it was just a matter of getting on my bike and when I get close I just trust my hands. It managed to stick," he said. With a wicket in his first over as part of figures of 2 for 25 he took the Player of the Match in his first outing.
Richardson's rockets
There is no shortage of depth in Australian fast bowling. Jhye Richardson, who took a five-wicket haul in the Ashes last season, is currently on the outer of the Test set-up but has given a reminder of his skills in the early stages of the BBL. He has touched 150kph and taken regular wickets, forming a key part as to why Perth Scorchers are again so well placed. Against Melbourne Stars he went for 20 in his first nine balls, but the comeback was emphatic: he twice found himself on a hat-trick and conceded just another five runs. "I didn't have a great run-in to the tournament," he said. "But once you get the first one out of the way and you have a good performance, you just thrive off that confidence and ride the wave."
Sydney Thunder's rebound
Sydney Thunder made headlines around the world although for the wrong reasons when they were bundled out for 15 early in the tournament, but their recovery from that embarrassing low - compounded by the season loss of captain Jason Sangha - has been very impressive. They have strung together four wins on the bounce, including back-to-back wins against Brisbane Heat, one by 10 wickets, and a New Year's Eve mauling of Hobart Hurricanes who were taken for 228. Alex Hales has led the way with the bat while Ollie Davies sparkled against Hurricanes with a 24-ball fifty and Matthew Gilkes has bounced back from early ducks.
Joel Davies' moment
On the subject of Thunder, there was a standout moment in the field against Hurricanes. It involved Davies, but not Ollie. Instead his brother Joel, who had recently signed on as a replacement for Thunder, produced a stunning throw from the deep to run out the dangerous Tim David as he fielded for the first time in the competition. "He wasn't really expecting to come on, he was second [substitute] fielder," Ollie told AAP. "It gave him an opportunity to do something special in the field and he took that chance." Joel recently excelled at the Under-19 national championships where he made 458 runs in six games and took eight wickets. He is part of the Australia Under-19 squad to face England this month.
Munro falls short
It came in defeat, but Colin Munro played an outstanding innings to nearly take Brisbane Heat to victory over Thunder. He made 98 off 53 balls before falling in the final over; the only other Heat batter to make double figures was James Bazley with 29. However, the closing stages of the innings highlighted the fine margins of T20. Having got the requirement down to 17 off 7 he missed out on dispatching a full toss. He still had the strike for the start of the last over, but when Nathan McAndrew bowled a waist-high full toss he took a single so was not on strike for the free hit. When he was back on strike 13 were needed off five balls and he picked out deep midwicket where Daniel Sams held an excellent catch.
Stoinis' fireworks display
Marcus Stoinis closed out the year with a bang to emerge from a lean start to the tournament. He had Covid during the opening game and had collected 0, 0, 4 and 10 in his first four innings. He was then rested for the game against Sydney Sixers to allow him to spend Christmas at home in Perth. But he was back to his best in the traditional New Year's Eve fixture at Adelaide Oval as he hammered Strikers for 74 off 35 balls, including taking Henry Thornton for the most expensive over of the season so far which cost 29. Few hit the ball harder when they get going and some of the striking was phenomenal. There was, though, a hint of controversy with the home side claiming he should have been timed out and the bowler given a few go at the stumps under one the BBL's funky playing conditions.
Performance of the week
It's hard to go past Josh Brown for his magnificent display of striking at the Gabba last night. In just his second BBL game, having been named in Heat's squad as a replacement for Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne, he smashed 62 off 23 balls. Some of his strokeplay left the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Adam Gilchrist speechless. He was also using one of his own bats. "Didn't really know I was any good at cricket until I was 24," Brown, now 29, told Fox Cricket. "Sort of kicked off from there."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo