Time to change the BBL finals

The current BBL finals system needs to change.

Since BBL|01 the finals system has been 2 knockout semis finals, 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd with the higher ranked team having home ground advantage. The winners of these two semi finals then meet in the final.

To play an 8 game season, finish in top place with 2 or 3 more wins than 4th (a mid table placing in a competition of 8 teams) and be eliminated straight away as happened to the Renegades in BBL|02 and to the Strikers in BBL|04, left some to question the purpose of the regular season.

Critics have said the finals structure is unfairto the top team, others have said stop complaining and win finals – problem solved.

To appease some of these concerns, for BBL|03 the team that finished on top of the table after the regular season was awarded one of the two available BBL places at the lucrative Champions League T20 competition.

With the Champions League now gone, the value, financial at very least, of finishing on top of the table is now also gone.

Using a final four system outlined below provides a fairer way to determine the best team. It also provides an additional match, sure to be welcomed by broadcasters, adds no extra days to the BBL competition and spaces the finals and venues nicely to maximise attendance at the games.

Firstly the BBL|05 regular season ends on Monday January 18, this game would need to be shifted to New Years Day creating a double header on that day. Surprisingly there is not a 4pm & 7pm double header on New Years day already, the BBL should really be looking to ‘own’ this public holiday- free of Test cricket – with a double or even triple header but that’s another story. Moving the match on Monday January 18 would mean the BBL regular season would end on Saturday January 16.

The finals structure would be as follows, using this years dates (structured as they are around the Australia v India ODI series on Sunday January 17, Wednesday January 20 and Saturday January 23.)

Monday January 18, Game 1: 3rd v 4th

Tuesday January 19, Game 2: 1st v 2nd

The winner of Game 2 would win the hosting rights of the BBL final whilst the loser would host the winner of Game 1 in a preliminary final.

Friday January 22, Game 3: Loser Game 2 v Winner Game 1

The winner of this match would then proceed to meet the winner of Game 2 in the Final.

Sunday January 24, Final: Winner Game 2 v Winner Game 3

This provides 1st and 2nd with a ‘double chance’ – they can lose the first match but have a second chance to make it to the final. AFL/VFL football fans will probably know this as the McIntyre Final 4 system. This final four system and similar final five system have been used in recent seasons of the IPL, so they are not unheard of in T20 cricket.

A final four structured as above would reward the team that finishes on top of the table with a double chance and two home finals wether they win or lose their first final. This system is fairer and would also create a BBL finals week with an additional game, it would also build toward the BBL final which at present feels a little rushed with the semi finals on Thursday and Friday and the final on Sunday leaving very little time to build up publicity and media for the final. Under this system the team hosting the BBL final would be known on the Tuesday night 5 days before the final.






Every Australian One Day Unifrom – 1995-1999

In the 1990’s every ODI tournament or series meant a different uniform, here is the collection from 1995 – 1999.

February 1995: Centenary tournament in New Zealand – New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa

Greg Blewett and Ricky Ponting made their debuts in this tournament. Australia made it to the final against New Zealand and won comfortably thanks to 3/19 to man of the match, Tim May.

MWaugh NZ Feb 1995 MWaugh NZ Feb 1995 1 MTaylor NZ Feb 1995 1

Uniform: Some interesting stuff going on here: A white version of the Australian flag across each shoulder and arm. Tubby’s yellow hat look nice too.


April 1995: West Indies v Australia – played in whites

Australia lost the one day series 4-1


December 1995 – January 1996: World Series Cup – Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies

Australia won the best of 3 finals against Sri Lanka convincingly. A series remembered for Bevan’s last ball four against the Windies and for Ian Helay telling Arjuna Rantangu, the Sri Lankan captain, he couldn’t have a runner for being fat – or words to the that effect. Shane Lee made his debut.

95 96 WS 2 95 96 WS 4 95 96 WS

95 96 WS 5

95 96 WS 5 (2)

Uniform: The first season for numbers on the back of playing shirts

March 1996: World Cup

In the first Australia played out a couple of classics to make the final. They chased down 289 against New Zealand in the quarter final thanks to a Mark Waugh century, then produced a miracle as the Windies collapsed spectacularly to win the semi final. Australia came unstuck in the final to a majestic allround display from Arivinda de Silva.

Mark Waugh won two man of the match awards.

96 WC 2 96 WC 3 96 WC 4 96 WC 5

96 wc 1

Uniform: Note coach Bob Simpson in full playing uniform, baseball coach style.

August 1996: World Series in Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka, Australia, India, Zimbabwe

Safety concerns meant Australia did not travel to Sri Lanka for the World Cup but just 5 months later they did travel there for this 4 team tournament. Mark Taylor missed this series due to back surgery and so Ian Healy captained the side. Shane Warne also missed due to a finger injury. One Day Internatioanl debuts were given to Brad Hogg, Jason Gillespie and Darren Lehmann.

Australia made the final but lost to Sri Lanka.


96 SL 96 SL 3 96 SL 2

October 1996: Triangular one day series in India – India,  Australia, South Africa 

Australia were woeful not winning any of their 6 matches against India or South Africa. They got closest in the last match, falling 5 runs short of 280 odd to defeat India. Adam Gilchrist made his debut for an injured Ian Healy.

South Africa won all 6 of their preliminary matches but then lost the final to India. Would it be appropriate to mention something about choking at this point?

96 India 96 India 2 96 India 1

December 1996- January 1997: One Day Series – Australia, West Indies, Pakistan

Australia continued to plumb new depths of ineptitude in one day cricket, missing the final of the home triangular tournament for the first time since 1979/80. Pakistan were the eventual winners.
96 97 WS 96 97 WS 1 96 97 WS 2

Uniform: Pakistan mainly in blue – unusual. Green has usually been their colour.


April 1997: South Africa v Australia

A rare bright spot in one day cricket for Australia in the 2 years after the 1996 World Cup. Australia defeated South Africa 4-3 in a 7 match series that saw Australia use 3 captains – Mark Taylor, Ian Healy and Steve Waugh. Michael Di Venuto and Adam Dale made their debuts.

97 RSA 97 RSA 2 97 RSA 1

May 1997: England v Australia – series played in white

Australia lost the three match series preceding the Ashes 3-0. Matthew Elliott played his sole ODI and Justin Langer one of his 8. Mark Taylor stepped down after two games and Steve Waugh captained the team in the final match. Adam Gilchrist played as a batsmen.


December 1997 – January 1998: One Day series – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

Australia overhauled it’s one day team, dropping Mark Taylor and Ian Healy for good and making Steve Waugh captain, Adam Gilchrist took the gloves and Ian Harvey and Paul Wilson debuted.

The new look Australian’s struggled through the preliminary rounds just scraping into the finals by beating New Zealand in the last match.

South Africa had beaten Australia each of the four times they met in the round robin stage and won the first final but Australia finally broke through and won the remaining two finals to win the series. South Africa choking?

97 98 WS 2 97 98 WS 97 98 WS 3

Uniform: South Africa with red and teal for the kiwis. Also numbers on trousers


February 1998:  New Zealand v Australia

Australia lead this 4 match series 2-0 after 2 matches but New Zealand fought back to tie the series at 2-2. Why no 5th game?

98 NZ 98 NZ 3

March 1998: Triangular Cup in India – India, Australia, Zimbabwe – played in whites.

Australia lost to India but defeated Zimbabwe each time they met. The final was India and Australia and Australia managed to turn the tables and defeat India. According to Steve Waugh the Australian’s weren’t given the trophy or prizemoney for winning the tournament.



April 1998: Triangular Cup in Sharjah – India, Australia, New Zealand

Nothing screamed pointless ODI tournament in the 1990s like the venue being Sharjah. Immediately after the tour of India,  Australia won through to the final against India but were outplayed by a Sachin Tendaulker masterclass in the final.

98 Sharjah 98 Sharjah 1

Uniform: Looks a bit South African to me.

October 1998: ICC knockout event in Bangladesh

Australia bowed out immediately from this precursor to the Champions Trophy losing their first match to India, due to another Sachin Tendaulker century.

98 Bangladesh 98 Bangladesh 2


November 1998: Pakistan v Australia – played in whites

Australia won this series 3-0 after chasing down 315 in the final match thanks to centuries to Gilchrist and Ponting. Andrew Symonds made his one day debut.


January 1999 – One Day Series – Australia, England, Sri Lanka

Steve Waugh was injured for all but two matches of this series so vice captain Shane Warne captained the team – his one stint at the Australian captaincy. Warne led Australia to victory over England in the finals.

98 99 WS

April 1999: West Indies v Australia

The 7 match series that ended 3-3 with one tie. The tie was an controversial result with play abandoned due to spectators running onto the ground before the match had finished.

99 West Indies 99 West INdies 1

May 1999 World Cup

After a shaky start losing to New Zealand and Pakistan in the group stage Australia did it the hard way beating Zimbabwe, India and South Africa in the Super Six stage to make the semi finals. In one of the most memorable games of ODI cricket Australia advanced to the final after Australia and South Africa tied in the semi final.

Australia easily accounted for Pakistan in the final.

99 WC 2 99 WC 3 99 WC 4 99 WC 1 99 WC 5 99 WC


August 1999: Triangular Cup in Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka, Australia, India

Australia make the final against Sri Lanka but were defeated by a batting masterclass by wicket keeper, Romesh Kaluwitharana.

99 SL

99 SL 1

September 1999: Zimbabwe v Australia 

Unsurprisingly Australia won all three matches in this series, notably a field of 9 slips was set at one stage.

30SlipsZim pic00024oo

Uniform: By then end of the 1990s Australia was starting to use it’s own ODI uniform at all tournaments. 

Mid Off Cricket – Live BBL – Sunday December 20

The team from the Mid Off Cricket Podcast are going LIVE  this Sunday, December 20.

We will be calling the Big Bash League double header on Sunday from 4.15pm, LIVE and commercial free on Mixlr

You can download the free Mixlr app from the Appstore or Google Play.

4.15pm – Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes from the SCG

7.30pm – Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder from the MCG

Leave your comments and questions for us to discuss during the call:

Facebook  facebook.com/midoffcricketpodcast
Twitter @midoffcricket and use the hashtag ‪#‎midoffcricket‬


2015/16 Sheffield Shield Round Up 5

The results

Some very low scores were recorded in this round of the Shield.

Victoria v South Australia, MCG

South Australia recalled leg spinner Adam Zampa, whilst Victoria welcomed back John Hastings to replace Clint McKay. A green top greeted both the captains and Travis Head had no hesitation in sending in the Busharangers when he won the toss. It was to be a low scoring and short contest.

Dan Worrall (5/69) and Joe Mennie (3/46) rolled the Vics for just 180. Glen Maxwell produced the only innings of substance making 62 off 55 balls. The innings was over between lunch and tea on Day 1.

In reply South Australia could only manage 199 with Chris Tremain taking 5/52. An even 50 to Mark Cosgrove was the only score of note.

Batting a second time the Bushrangers fared worse, bowled out for 163 with Joe Mennie (4/55) and Chadd Sayers(3/61) and Dan Worrall (3/44) sharing the spoils for the Redbacks.

This left South Australia with a victory target of just 145 and they produced the most accomplished batting of the match. Tom Cooper made 54, Cal Ferguson finished 43* as the Redbacks attacked the small target with gusto chasing it down in just 27 overs at a run rate of nearly 5.5 per over. The game was over mid way through Day 3.

After this poor batting display the Vics might want to look at the balance of their side and include a few more batsmen rather than a fleet of allrounders, in particular replace Dan Christian with a batsmen.


South Australia 7.5

Victoria 1.5


Western Australia v Tasmania, WACA

Tasmania travelled to Perth and welcomed back James Faulkner from a toe injury. The Tigers lost patience with former Test player Alex Doolan and he was dropped, Beau Webster shuffled around the order again moving up to 3.

The revolving door selection policy at the top of the order continued with Dom Michael dropped again and Jordan Silk returned to the team. Xavier Doherty was picked as the spinner replacing Hamish Kingston.

Western Australia brought in Ashton Turner to the middle order replacing Tom Beaton and rotated their fast bowlers with Andrew Tye replaced by Simon Mackin.

Batting first Tasmania were all out for 261 with keeper Tom Triffit the top scorer with 66. The pick of the WA bowlers was old man Michael Hogan with 4/48 off 24 overs.

In reply the Warriors were struggling at 6/232 until Aston Agar produced his second century for the season. Agar scored 108 off 126 balls with 18 fours to lead the Warriors to 415 and a first innings lead. Tom Triffit had a shocker with the gloves dropping Agar twice plus another two catches for a total of four dropped catches in the innings. Tim Paine may yet get another chance.

The Tigers batting line up struggled again in the second innings, all out for just 205 with Ben Dunk’s 75 the only innings of note. Second gamer, 22 year old left arm quick Joel Paris was the destroyer with 6/23 off 14.3 overs – no doubt he will have moved up Rod Marsh’s depth charts now. Warriors wicket keeper, Sam Whiteman, took 5 catches in the innings (all from the bowling of Paris), to give him 7 dismissals for the match.

Western Australia chased down the small matter of 52 runs for the loss of just 1 wicket to secure an outright win.


Western Australia 8.34

Tasmania 1.11


Queensland v New South Wales, Harrup Park, McKay

Queensland made two changes bringing in 22 year old leg spinner Mitchell Swepson for his first class debut and veteran paceman Luke Feldman. The pair replaced Jake Wildermuth and Ben Cutting who were both omitted. Ben Cutting (8 wickets at an average of 40 in 4 matches this season) is not the same first class cricketer who was called into the Australian test squad a few years ago. This was James Hopes 100th Sheffield Shield match for Queensland.

New South Wales reconfigured their line up due to the loss of skipper Moises Henriques with a calf injury. Daniel Hughes came in to open, Ryan Carters moved down from opening to number 6 and took over the keeping gloves from Jay Lenton who was omitted. 31 year old NZ born off spinner Wade Somerville was called up and Nic Maddinson was made captain.

Batting first the Queensland innings was dominated by a magnificeint 170 from 19 year old opener Matt Renshaw who scored almost half of his teams 342 runs. On a slow pitch in McKay that made scoring difficult the runs came at just 2.50 runs per over. Wade Somerville was the pick of the NSW bowlers with 5/110.

The Blues struggled with the slow pitch combined with a lush outfield, and crawled along at just 2 an over to post 260 all out in 125 overs. Half centuries to Ben Rhorer and Kurtis Patterson were the highlights for NSW whilst for the Bulls Jason Floros and Luke Feldman took 4 wickets apiece, with Feldman cleaning up the tail claiming his 4 wickets in just 11 balls.

Queensland declared its second innings at 7/131 shortly after lunch on Day 4 leaving NSW to chase 214 for victory. At tea the visitors were 2/66 and needed, up stepped stand in captain Nic Maddinson. Defying the slow scoring throughout the match he belted 80 from just 72 balls to almost lead the Blues to victory. He fell with NSW needing 23 more runs and the team stumbled losing 3 more quick wickets before Steve O’Keefe and Gurinder Sandhu steadied the ship and scored the remaining 12 required runs as the light closed in. Best bowlers for Queensland were offspinner Floros with 4/71 and leg spinner Swepson with 3/69.


New South Wales 5.97

Queensland 0.68



Points table

Team Points
Victoria 27.70
South Australia 27.00
New South Wales 23.80
Western Australia 21.14
Queensland 18.50
Tasmania 10.41


The XI from Round 5

A very poor round for batsmen, just 2 centuries were scored.

1. Matt Renshaw (Queensland)

2. Ben Dunk (Tasmania)

3. Michael Klinger (Western Australia)

4. Nic Maddinson (New South Wales)

5. Sam Whiteman (Western Australia)

6. Jason Floros (Queensland)

7. Ashton Agar (Western Australia)

8. Chris Tremain (Victoria)

9. Dan Worrall (South Australia)

10. Joe Mennie (South Australia)

11. Joel Paris ( Western Australia)


Leading run scorers

Player State Matches Runs Highest Average 100 50
BR Dunk Tasmania 5 595 144* 66.11 3 2
GJ Bailey Tasmania 5 543 148* 60.33 2 2
CJ Ferguson South Australia 5 478 213 53.11 1 1
M Klinger Western Australia 5 453 202* 64.71 1 3
TJ Dean Victoria 5 418 154* 69.66 2 1
MT Renshaw Queensland 4 395 170 56.42 1 1
EJM Cowan New South Wales 5 376 107* 53.71 1 1
PSP Handscomb Victoria 5 362 137 51.71 1 2
AC Agar Western Australia 5 354 106 44.25 2 1
AI Ross South Australia 5 334 92* 47.71 0 3

Leading wicket takers

Player State Matches Wickets Average Economy Strike Rate
JM Mennie South Australia 5 24 18.87 2.39 47.20
JM Bird Tasmania 5 22 24.00 2.69 53.40
SNJ O’Keefe New South Wales 5 17 24.64 2.53 58.40
AL Fekete Tasmania 4 17 33.94 4.07 50.00
DJ Worrall South Australia 3 16 21.43 3.20 40.10
CJ Sayers South Australia 4 16 25.81 2.56 60.40
DE Bollinger New South Wales 4 15 18.66 2.39 46.80
Fawad Ahmed Victoria 5 15 24.86 3.42 43.60
MG Hogan Western Australia 4 15 28.00 2.69 62.20
JS Paris Western Australia 2 14 16.85 3.27 30.90
JR Hopes Queensland 4 14 25.00 2.37 63.10



The round ahead

A break now for the BBL, the next Shield round commences on February 3:

New South Wales v Western Australia, Lincoln, New Zealand

Victoria v Tasmania, MCG

South Australia v Queensland, Adelaide Oval



2015/16 Sheffield Shield Round Up 4

The results

Western Australia v Victoria, WACA

Western Australia lost Shaun Marsh to a national call up and were all set to regain fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile from injury but he was suspended for 1 match showing dissent during the proceeding Futures League match so was not available for selection. Instead WA went with young fast bowler Joel Paris on his first class debut and former Tasmanian batsmen Jon Wells stepped into the batting order at number 3.

Victoria lost Peter Siddle to Australian duty and James Pattinson for half the match as he did some preparation with the national team. Clint McKay played his first shield match for some time and Chris Tremain was the nominated player who would make way for Pattinson (not Patterson)

David Saker must see it as essential that the Vics have 4 bowlers plus 3 allrounders – Maxwell, Stoinis and Christian – to have 7 bowling options in Shield matches. It is difficult otherwise to understand why wicketkeeper Aaron Ayres (the late injury replacement for Matthew Wade in the previous game) was dropped and Dan Christian recalled with Peter Handscomb taking over keeping duties. With Wade injured and Siddle away, Aaron Finch was skipper of the Bushrangers.

Victoria were keen for an outright victory following the draw when the teams met in the previous round. Batting first the Vics made 322 in just 83 overs with Peter Handscomb leading the way with 98 and Marcus Stoinis – the king of the unconverted half century – making 75. For WA the pick of the bowlers was débutante Joel Paris with 4/68.

In reply WA made it to 50 without loss before collapsing to be 186 all out. Chris Tremain was the pick of the bowlers with 4/48. Batting a second time the Vics once again made 322 – this time 7 declared –  with Marcus Stoinis making a rare journey to triple figures with 110 and Rob Quiney and Pete Handscomb making half centuries.

Set an improbable 459 for victory the Warriors collapsed to be all out for 102 in 29 overs. Peter Hanscomb did not wicket keep in the second innings for personal reasons and Aaron Finch wore the gloves, Scott Boland took 7/31 for the Vics. The rout was completed inside 3 days.


Victoria 8.8

Western Australia 1.5 


Tasmania v South Australia, Bellerive

Tasmania lost James Faulkner to toe and knee injuries and recalled Dom Michael to open the batting with Beau Webster shuffling down to number 6. Andrew Fekete returned after some work on his bowling action according to Tigers coach Dan Marsh. Spinner Xav Doherty was dropped and no spot for Ben Hilfenhaus again.

South Australia lost patience with opener Kelvin Smith. He was dumped and Tom Cooper moved up to open with Jake Lehmann slotting in at number 5 in the batting order. The Redbacks also dropped their spinner, leg spinner Adam Zampa, and like Tassie instead preferred a 4 pronged right arm medium fast battery of bowlers.

Batting first SA ran up a remarkable 7/600 declared at a rate of 4.83 runs per over thanks to double centuries to Cal Ferguson (213) and Jake Lehmann(205) who shared a 4th wicket partership of 378,  plus a handy 66 off 67 balls to Alex Ross. The Tassie bowlers copped some fearful tap with Fekete going for 5 an over, Kingston 6 an over and Webster 7 an over.

In reply Tassie folded for 284 which included 115 to Ben Dunk and 112 to George Bailey. No other batsmen made more than 14. SA shared the wickets around with Nick Benton the pick of the bowlers with 3/45.

Curiously the Redbacks didn’t enforce the follow on despite having a lead of 316. Just to show consistency isn’t one of their hallmarks the Redbacks were bundled out for 185 in 38 overs. Alex Ross made 56 not out of 55 balls. The Bird brothers Jackson Bird (5/69) and Sam Rainbird (4/50) shared 9 wickets for Tassie.

Set 502 for victory, Tasmania slumped to 2/4 before folding for 199. Only half centuries to Jake Doran and Beau Webster – 2 of the youngest members of team – limited the damage somewhat. Dan Worrall and Chad Sayers took 4 wickets each.

After the win last round against NSW it was back to the same old insipid batting from the Tigers.


South Australia 10

Tasmania 0.9


New South Wales v Queensland, SCG

Cricket returned to the SCG and both sides brought unchanged line ups.

Chastened by their loss to Tasmania the Blues controlled this game from the start. Queensland batted first and struggled to 259 thanks to a patient 82 to Jason Floros. Steve O’keefe snared 3 wickets.

In reply NSW made 303 thanks to 90 to Ed Cowan and 112 to Nic Maddinson. Skipper Moises Henriques did not bat due to a calf injury sustained in the match. James Hopes was best for the Bulls with 4/47.

Queensland’s second innings was not a pretty sight as they were rolled for just 145. Srteve O’keefe backed up with 4 more wickets and Doug Bollinger chimed in with 3. This left NSW a victory target of 102 which they cantered to for the loss of just 3 wickets.


NSW 8.03

Queensland 1.82


Points table

Team Points
Victoria 26.2
South Australia 19.5
New South Wales 17.83
Queensland 17.82
Western Australia 12.8
Tasmania 9.3


Golden ducks

Travis Dean &  James Pattinson


Futures League

Some very big individual scores in the Futures league round that proceeded this Shield round.

Daniel Hughes made 300 for NSW as they defeated Tasmania in Coffs Harbour. Despite having a line up featuring Jordan Silk, Tim Paine and Ben Hilfenhaus Tassie weren’t able to compete against the Blues. Kiwi off spinner Wade Sommerville and Trent Copeland took 5 wickets each for NSW.

Jake Hancock made centuries in both innings opening for Victoria in their loss to the ACT. Ian Holland also made a century for the Vics but it wasn’t enough as the Comets chased down a 4th innings target of 351 thanks to 145* to Michael Spaspeski and 121* to Jono Dean.

Western Australia defeated Queensland thanks to an unbeaten double century to skipper Aston Turner. Luke Feldman took 5 wickets for the Bulls but Peter Forrest scored 45 and 0 and his omission from the Queensland Shield team looks set to continue. WA leg spinner Liam O’Connor took 3/40 and 6/59 for match figures of 9/99.

The next round of Futures League starts on January 11.

Tour match

The West Indies commence their tour of Australia with a 4 day tour match against the Cricket Australia XI (version 4 for the 2015/16 season) from Wednesday December 2 to Saturday December 5 at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

It would be great to see Australia A play a tour match and reward the best performing Shield players with selection. But alas this tour match will feature players not selected in Shield sides rather than the best players from the Shield.


The XI

  1. Ben Dunk (Tasmania)
  2. Marcus Stoinis (Victoria)
  3. Cal Ferguson (South Australia)
  4. Nick Maddinson (NSW)
  5. Jake Lehmann (South Australia)
  6. George Bailey (Tasmania)
  7. Peter Handscomb (Victoria) +
  8. Steve O’Keefe (NSW)
  9. Dan Worrall (South Australia)
  10. Scott Boland (Victoria)
  11. Jackson Bird (Tasmania)


The round ahead

Matches start Sunday December 6th

Victoria v South Australia, MCG

Western Australia v Tasmania, WACA

Queensland v NSW, Harrup Park, McKay