Big Bash News: The latest as we reach the business end

Tom Curran.
Tom Curran (third from left) has been highly impressive in his first season at the Big Bash.
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The great Michael Klinger calls it a day, Kane Richardson trash talks the other Melbourne and other news from the Big Bash as we close in on the semis. Jamie Pacheco talks us through it all.

"Speaking of bowlers, they’re in no short supply of quality bowlers over at the Sixers. Sean Abbott (20), Steve O’Keefe (18) and Tom Curran (18) are ranked second, third and fifth for most wickets in the competition."

What happened to the Strikers?

We've talked plenty about the Perth Scorchers' demise in our weekly round-up so let's address the defending champs this time. Yet another loss on Sunday morning means they're out. So what went wrong? Plenty.

Alex Carey, Jake Weatherland and Colin Ingram all did okay as their star batsmen with three fifties each but that wasn't up to the standard of last year.

Their middle-order never bailed them out when those three failed and the call-ups of Peter Siddle and Billy Stanlake disrupted things for them in the pace bowling department.

At the business end when the team needed to put two or three wins together their two overseas players- Rashid Khan and Ingram- went off the boil just at the wrong time. Matthew Short, an exciting all-rounder recruited in the off season, just couldn't get going.

Without mentioning any specific names now, the big difference between last season and this one was simply an inability to defend decent totals. They did it time and again last time round but allowed sides to chase down par or even above par totals on plenty of occasions in Big Bash 8. Sunday's defeat to the Brisbane Heat when Brendon McCullum and co chased 176 with eight balls to spare was just the latest example.

What it does tell us all is that being a super-consistent team in T20 is easier said than done. You need to be forever evolving as a team, making new plans, finding new ways to win games. Fine for the neutral, hard work for the cricket punter.

They're 8/11 to beat the Scorchers in their final game of the season. There might not be too many takers of that.

Maxi calls it a Big Bash day

Michael Klinger is the BBL's second highest runscorer ever after only Chris Lynn, who overtook him in the Heat's Friday morning game.

However, you'll only get one more chance to watch 'Maxi' Klinger bat in the orange of Perth. If he's even included in the team for that game.
At 38 he's announced his retirement from Bash cricket after what has admittedly been a dire season for both him - just 115 runs in nine innings - and the team. Ever the team man, he decided to step aside rather than waiting for the team to make a decision.

He'll play (at least) one more season for Gloucestershire in the T20 Blast where he's also captain but that might be it. Not only a Scorchers' legend but one of the game's all-round good guys.

Richardson has no time for the Stars

There's a fair bit of sledging and trash-talking in the Big Bash and this week it's been Melbourne Renegades' bowler Kane Richardson who has been at it. There's clearly no love lost between him and cross-city rivals the Melbourne Stars.

"We see their bus, their big coach, and it's all stickered up in Stars. We've seen them drive past our hotel and we just laugh... They've won just as much as we have - neither team's won a trophy - so there's probably no reason to be walking around with a head wobble."

One thing is for sure; they're both currently 3/1 to go all the way but the Renegades have a better chance of winning it this year than the Stars right now, simply because they've already qualified for the semis and the men in green haven't.

And Richardson has earned the right to dish it out. He's the tournament's top-wicket taker with 22, and that despite playing two games less than just about everyone else.

Sixers' bowlers the envy of the Bash

Speaking of bowlers, they're in no short supply of quality bowlers over at the Sixers. Sean Abbott (20), Steve O'Keefe (18) and Tom Curran (18) are ranked second, third and fifth for most wickets in the competition. Sean Abbott is 4/7 favourite to end as the Sixers' top bowler with Curran 3/1 and O'Keefe, an early pace-setter in the top tournament bowler stakes, out at 7/2.

It will be a fascinating showdown if in the semis or final they play the Hurricanes, who boast the top two batsmen in the tournament by some distance in D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade.

If you believe that it's bowlers and not batsmen who win you games of T20, you might be more interested in the 10/3 about the Sixers than the 21/10 on the Hurricanes.

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