A mini batting collapse by defending champions Sydney Sixers handed victory Thursday to the Hobart Hurricanes as Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League returned for a 10th season with a raft of innovations.Sixers’ skipper Daniel Hughes won the bat flip at Blundstone Arena and sent the Hurricanes in, with Peter Handscomb‘s team recovering from a horror start, losing openers D’Arcy Short and Will Jacks for ducks, to make 178 for eight.
Singapore-born Tim David whacked 58 from 33 balls while South African import Colin Ingram knocked 55 from 42, with Dan Christian and Ben Dwarshuis both grabbing three wickets each.
James Faulkner snared Josh Philippe for one in the Sixers’ run chase but young Australian Jack Edwards (47) and experienced England international James Vince steadied the ship and put on 116 for the second wicket.
But when Vince fell lbw to Faulkner for 67, the momentum shifted and the wheels came off, with the Hurricanes restricting them to 162 for six to win by 16 runs.
Both sides were missing key players due to national duties, with Matthew Wade and Ben McDermott absent for Hobart while Jackson Bird, Mitchell Starc, SeanAbbott and Nathan Lyon did not play for Sydney.
It is a new-look eight-franchise competition this year boosting three rule changes.
Perhaps the most innovative is allowing teams to bring in an “X-factor" substitute at the 10-over mark to replace any player who has yet to bat or bowled no more than one over.The power-play has been shortened to four overs from six at the start of the innings, with the other two overs allowed anytime after the 11th over.
And a bonus point is awarded to the chasing team if they are ahead of their opponent’s score after 10 overs. If they are not, the extra point goes to the fielding side. Sydney took it on Thursday.
Due to coronavirus issues, all matches in December are being played in Hobart, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide, with Perth, Sydney and Melbourne taking over in the new year. Earlier this week BBL Season 10 was launched at ‘HMAS BBL’ The players shared thoughts on the season ahead, including the influx of international stars who have arrived or are on their way to Australia plus the three new rule innovations introduced this year. Alistair Dobson, Cricket Australia’s Head of Big Bash Leagues who was also present at this morning’s launch, said anticipation was at unprecedented levels for the biggest KFC BBL season yet.