|Nathan Lyon, Big Bash Final 2011|
You knew this was coming, so feel free to skip the obvious and spend your time elsewhere ;)
Nathan Lyon took 4-22 on his international debut, was awarded the Man Of The Match Trophy as rightfully as it gets, and outshone SOK.
And, has it sunk it yet? Tehehe. I couldn't believe my eyes. Not that I had ever had any doubts about his potential, but these are the Jack-in-the-box moments a Redbacks fan lives for. It were basically Lyon's wickets (and his catch off John Hasting to remove Elton) that induced the Zimbabwean batting collapse and thus Nathan won the match for Aus. No I'm not discussing this with you ;)
Well I have to say that this Australia A outfit appeals to me so much more than the current first side, watching them win makes me as happy as in the good "old" days. The team is stuffed with young talents, who have all come off tremendous domestic seasons, hungry and eager to hit their claws and teeth into their opponents' flesh. Let me cite Nic Maddinson as another example, who top-scored for Aus with 63; honourable mentions: John Hastings, who ripped out the Zimbabwean middle order with his threefer, Callum Ferguson for his half ton, and I would also like to mention Luke Butterworth for his quick removal of Zim skipper Brendan Taylor.
We need to consider that these guys have partly not really played together yet, but once the cogwheels mesh, I am particularly thinking of the fat underbelly in the form of Mitch Marsh, Steve O'Keefe, T-Paine and Butterworth, something big, baneful and cataclysmic should arise from this line-up and bring doom over their enemies. Okay okay, but you know what I mean. Hopefully they can overcome the Saffas that effortlessly, too.
Zimbies.... ah man.
Bowling-wise you can't really complain, since they restricted Aus to a gettable total and prevented really big scores, at some point I was even afraid Aus wouldn't make it past 200. Chris Mpofu was the standout bowler with 3-31. But the batting... a tragedy, always and forever. Voices arise that want Elton Chigumbura dropped for good. Craig Ervine will surely click in one of the coming matches, but unlike Aus the Zim lower middle order isn't really looking like the big bad monster from the swamp, to put it diplomatically, although I expect that runs will come for Mutizwa.
What positives can Zim take from here? Hamilton Masakadza is back! Yeah baby. Much responsibility rests on his and the openers' shoulders, it is crucial for Zim that these three make 130-150 between them if possible. Mpofu is awesome but the bowlers can only do so much if the batting fails to do their job, even though there is always room for improvement of course, I won't claim yet that they are missing the leggie, but it's imaginable that Cremer is chewing his footnails off in frustration. Furthermore there seems to be no info available concerning the whereabouts of Tatenda Taibu :/ Should we be worried?
Alright, now the Saffas.