Big Bash Opener Draws Healthy Crowd to Gabba

The Big Bash League is alive and well, thank you very much, and the opening match between the Brisbane Heat and the Sydney Thunder attracted almost 27,000 spectators to the Gabba.

It is the ninth time for the BBL and the popular short-form format represents the sort of upheaval of tradition that were it not a reality, would be hard to accept from the staid game of bowls and wickets.

Sydney won by 29 runs, so it was not the fairytale ending the Queensland crowd would have preferred.

Next to go are the other Sydney side, the Sixers, who will play Perth Scorchers, followed by the Melbourne Renegades agasint the Thunder on the 19th.

Brisbane will try to restore the Heat against the Melbourne Stars on Friday, the 20th.

The two Melbourne sides are the bookies’ picks for the winners of the tournament, with the Renegades and the Stars sharing the top line in the futures market with a $5.50 price, courtesy of Ladbrokes.

The BBL futures market is a tight one, with none of the eight clubs priced lower than the $9 for the Sixers, so punt at your own peril.

Better still, enjoy a cricket format that does not threaten to take five days to complete one fixture.
Brisbane are ranked above the Thunder, so the 172 – 143 result represents a mild upset.

The match report shows none of the Heat batters able to better the 28 runs, with BCJ Cutting supplying the 28 from 18 balls before being bowled. JK Lalor narrowly avoided the duck, run out for one.

Callum Ferguson was the captain who produced a master class innings, and then rallied the troops in the field.

The Thunder relied on spinners Chris Green, Arjun Nair and Jono Cook to take six wickets, which basically turned Brisbane from heat to cold.

Depending on whose ox is being gored, the news that Usman Khawaja was omitted from the ODI tour of India in January is either good or bad.

Good for the Thunder, as they will have use of him through the BBL tournament, bad for Khawaja in that he, like all cricketers, would enjoy selection for international play.