Two BBL games and a world record score

We’ve now had the first two matches of the 2016/17 Big Bash League. The first match saw the Sydney Thunder suffer a minor batting collapse in their mid-innings before setting a respectable target which was easily beaten by the Sydney Sixers. The second match last night saw the Brisbane Heat set a very high target. The Adelaide Strikers scored very fast and looked set to meet that target, but a string of late wickets saw them fall short, with the result unclear until the final few balls.

In this post I’m going to run through some random stats about these matches (no deep analysis here) and also touch on a remarkable match played yesterday in New Zealand.

There were two impressive debutants who have played in the first two days of the Big Bash League. Ryan Gibson opened for the Sydney Thunder on Tuesday, scoring 53 off 43 balls. Gibson was the backbone to the Thunder line-up, holding on while the remaining batsmen crumbled before building up the score with batsman Pat Cummins. Jake Weatherald opened the batting for the Adelaide Strikers, putting on a 133-run opening partnership before going out for 52. Gibson has the tenth-highest ever score for a debutant in Australian domestic Twenty20 (including the Big Bash League and its predecessors. Weatherald is eleventh.

Pat Cummins is known as a bowler but showed his ability to bat on Tuesday, scoring 30 runs to help the Thunder put on a more defensible target. Cummins has played 49 T20 matches, and has batted in 21 of those matches. Thanks to injury, he hasn’t batted since he played for Australia in August 2015. He also played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, and his last experience batting in the BBL was a score of 1* for the Thunder in January 2015. Out of those 21 innings, Cummins has only cracked ten runs twice, with a previous high score of 14. He had only ever hit two sixes. On Tuesday, he hit three sixes and a total of 30.

Sixers captain Moises Henriques scored a very fast 76 runs off 41 balls to lead the Sixers to victory. This is his second-highest score, but much faster than his highest – 77 runs off 57 balls for the Sixers in January 2015. This is primarily due to a much higher boundary rate. He scored 32 runs on the boundary in that previous performance, but 52 runs off the boundary on Tuesday night.

The Sydney Sixers only lost one wicket as they chased down the Sydney Thunder’s 159 runs. There have been 298 matches in the Big Bash League and its predecessors that produced a regular result. A team has managed to only lose one wicket in sixteen cases, and in one case the Scorchers lasted without losing any wickets in December 2015. Tuesday night’s Sixers score was the sixth-highest score reached while losing no more than one wicket.

The 133-run opening partnership by Weatherald and Dunk for the Adelaide Strikers wasn’t close to a record. The highest ever such score in the BBL was 172 runs by Quiney and Wright for the Melbourne Stars in 2012. The world record was set at 215 by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in 2015, and broken by the same two batsmen at 229 in 2016, both times batting one wicket down for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

The most remarkable stat from the last two days came from New Zealand, where a match involving Central Districts and Otago put on a total of 497 runs – a world record total score for a T20 match. Otago scored 249 runs, and Central Districts managed 248 in response – losing by one run.

The previous world record was 489 runs scored in a T20 International played between the West Indies and India in Lauderhill, Florida, earlier this year. The West Indies opened with 245, and like this week’s game, India came within one run of beating that target, scoring 244.

The previous record had stood much longer. An Indian Premier League match in 2010 saw 469 runs scored, and remains the third-highest score.

With this amazing score, it seems like only a matter of time before a match results in over 500 runs scored.

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