5. T20 begginings, January 12 & 13, 2005
What was the first t20 match played in Australia?
Cricket Australia fixtured Australia A and Pakistan for a t20 match at Adelaide Oval on January 13, 2005 but two domestic teams got a jump on this.
The first T20 match in Australia was a domestic match between WA and Victoria at the WACA the night before on 12 January 2005 . The WACA was a sellout with 20,000 fans turning up to see a Victorian side with Shane Warne take on Western Australia.
The Vics were in Perth for a 50 over game a couple of days later. My recollections and research have not unearthed how exactly this match was organised, but I do seem to recall the always innovative Western Australian Cricket Association making it happen.
The Vics made 141 batting first but were swept aside by Luke Ronchi (before he became a Kiwi) who belted 67 off 24 balls to guide WA to victory in just 12.1 overs
The next evening in Adelaide 21,000 fans turned up to see Australia A defeat Pakistan. Half centuries to Cameron White and Dave Hussey meant Australia A’s 185 was too much for Pakistan to chase.
It is easily forgotten now in the era of endless glove changes and unscheduled drinks breaks by the men in fluro vests but T20 was initially designed to be very fast paced with continuous action – new batsmen had 90 seconds to take guard after the fall of a wicket and ran out to the centre, timeframes for bowling overs were strict and incurred penalties. In this match both Australia A and Pakistan incurred a six-run penalty for a slow over-rate.
4. Australian Cricket Association All Star XI v Australia, Gabba, November 2008, 2009, 2010
Cricket Australia are really keen to have matches where Australia plays against Australia.
In November 2008, as a prelude to the international Summer a T20 match was played at the Gabba the Sunday before the first test. The match was between the Australian Cricketers Association All Stars XI (the best of the state based Big Bash from the previous season plus the recently retired Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer) and an Australian XI featuring most of the Australian T20 team.
The Australian Cricket Association All Stars XI upset the Australian XI thanks to 65 to man of the match, Brad Hodge.
In 2009 the same format was repeated, with retired legends Shane Warne, (captain) Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and Gilchrist joining the Australian Cricketers Association All Stars XI.
Glenn McGrath showed the crowd of 16,000 that he still had it taking 3/18 off 4 overs. Here is the master at work.
And Adam Gilchrist giving Australia some tap.
In 2010 the format changed slightly with the Australian Test players not involved in the match. Instead it was the Australian Crickets Association All Stars XI versus the Aussie Fans XI and it’s fair to say the concept fell flat.
It felt like Australia A v Australia B without the Test stars and of the retired legends that had played previously only Matthew Hayden fronted this time.
Hayden had a good time skippering the Fans XI to victory, making a few runs with his long handled Mongoose bat and, as all good captains should, brought himself on for a bowl and took a wicket.
Brad Hodge did what he does best making 85 off 50 balls for the ACA All Stars XI to win the man of the match award again.
In a low light, Dirk Nannes broke Tim Paine’s finger while he was batting, probably ending his international career. And it probably brought down the curtain on this match concept too.
3. Perth Scorchers v Legends XI, Aquinas College, Perth, 15 December 2014
The Western Australian Festival of Cricket organisation didn’t rest on it’s laurels when the Lilac Hill match was wound up instead they found a new location, Aquinas College, Perth, and a new format, T20, to start up another festival match tradition.
In 2013 the new era began with an Australia XI v World XI match but in 2014 the game was a warm up match for the Perth Sorchers BBL campaign with the Scorchers taking on a Legends XI including many former Australian greats plus Brian Lara.
The match was streamed live on the Cricket Australia website and could well become an annual event – all Big Bash teams are looking for warm up matches prior to the BBL season.
2. Andrew Johns plays for New South Wales, January 7 & 10, 2007
T20 cricket was seen as a joke – well at least by the powers that be at Cricket New South Wales when rugby league legend Andrew Johns padded up for the Blues in 2 T20 matches in 2007.
This was the second season of the state t20 competition and it is fair to say it was very different to the current Big Bash League.
Johns presence was purely a promotional tool as he only played in NSW’s two home matches and the experiment was somewhat farcical.
The first match was against South Australia in Johns home town of Newcastle. Johns bowled 1 over and batted at number 11. He faced just one ball as Simon Katich refused him the strike in the last over.
In his second match against Tasmania Johns made 9 off 10 balls.
1. Super 8s, Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, July-August 1996.
Points to you if you have ever heard of this. It is real and it is strange.
In July 1996 Super 8s commenced with the six Australian states playing a weekend of matches in Cairns, followed by a weekend in Townsville and then a finals weekend at the Gabba. If you can explain the finals system used in Brisabane you are a smarter than me.
The rules of Super 8s were:
Teams of 8 players
Matches of 14 overs with 7 players (all except the keeper) having to bowl between 1 to 3 overs
Hits over the fence were worth 8 not 6
Batsmen had to retire at 50 but could return if the rest of the team went out
The last man standing rule applied – when only one not out batsman remained he continued batting with a runner until dismissed
Here is Justin Langer belting 84* off 18 balls in Townsville. The games in Townsville were played at the North Queensland Cowboys rugby league stadium hence the unusual boundaries.
For the record Western Australia chased down 179 in 12.4 overs to defeat Queensland in the Grand Final thanks to some crisp hitting by Justin Langer and Damien Martyn.
The three weekends in Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane lost over $1 million and the annual event did not eventuate with 1996 being the first and last year of the domestic Super 8s.
An interesting footnote:
The ACB believed Super 8s would be a ‘third generation’ of cricket and held International Super 8s tournaments in Kaula Lumpur in July 1996 and August 1997. Plans were afoot to have a World Super 8s at the WACA in October 1998 but never eventuated. More info is here.
Australia A won the tournament in 1996.
Don’t take my word for it – here are the words of the ACB.