Sussex Winter Watch: Sharks in action in Australia and Abu Dhabi
Welcome to another week of Sussex Winter Watch, in which we take a look at how Sussex players are getting on around the world. This week sees two Sharks' Big Bash League campaign end in the elimination games and a host of other players in action in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
It was a big week for Phil Salt, Travis Head, and the Adelaide Strikers as they looked to qualify for the Big Bash League finals. Their first game of the week saw them take on Sydney Thunder in Adelaide, with a win guaranteeing a spot in the finals, while a defeat would mean a spot would hinge on results going their way.
Neither Salt nor Head were able to catapult them into the finals with a good innings with the former being dismissed for one and the latter just two in a rain-affected total of 115/4 off 14 overs. The well below par total was comfortably chased down by the Thunder as they won by nine wickets.
However, thanks to the Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes losing their crucial fixtures, the Strikers were able to qualify for the Eliminator versus Brisbane Heat, needing to win all their remaining games to win the BBL10 title.
Batting first against the Heat, Salt and Head were both undone by the same bowler, Marnus Labuschagne, but not without getting some starts, Salt with 21 and Head 12 in a total of 130/7. Despite some early wickets leaving the Heat 23/3, the Strikers struggled to keep the Heat contained with even Head trying to enforce some wickets, (finishing with figures of 0-21 from three overs). In the end, the Heat ran out comfortable winners by six wickets as the Strikers bowed out of the tournament.
A number of Sharks players were in action as the Abu Dhabi T10 League kicked off for its fourth season of the explosive format.
George Garton, a late edition to the Bangla Tigers side, was in action in an early Sussex face-off as he took on Ravi Bopara and the Delhi Bulls. Garton was unable to contribute to his side’s total of 128/2 and then was unable to stop his Sussex teammate from teeing off as the all-rounder returned figures of 0-20 from his two allocated overs with Bopara playing a match-winning innings of 38 from 16 balls.
Garton’s side were able to pick up their first win later in the week, despite the all-rounder not having much of an involvement, finishing his two overs with figures of 0-30 as the Tigers eased to a six-wicket win over Maratha Arabians.
Garton will still be awaiting his first T10 wicket of the season going into next week as versus Northern Warriors he finished with figures of 0-48 from his allocation, with his side unable to chase down 163, losing by 30 runs.
Bopara was involved in another successful chase later in the week, finishing 28 not out to help the Bulls win by nine wickets, to continue their perfect start. The all-rounder capped the week with another fine batting performance, scoring 36 off 15 balls but was unable to help his side to a third win in three as the Delhi Bulls fell to a 32-run defeat to the Northern Warriors.
Chris Jordan was in action with Qalandars, starting with a good performance with the ball, taking figures of 1-16 from his allocation versus Pune Devils. Jordan was not needed with the bat as Qalandars started off their season with a nine-wicket win.
Luke Wright also kicked off his season as captain of Team Abu Dhabi but was unable to start with a win as, despite the explosive opener top-scoring with 25, his side collapsed to 95/9 and were defeated by Maratha Arabians by six wickets.
Jordan and Wright faced off later in the week, the latter not batting as the former finishing with figures of 1-30, taking the wicket of Nottinghamshire batsman Joe Clarke as Team Abu Dhabi finished on 100/5. Jordan was once again not needed with the bat as Qalandars cruised to a nine-wicket win.
In Jordan’s final game of the week, he was able to lead his side to a 33-run victory thanks to brilliant spell with the ball, finishing with stunning figures of 3-8 from his two overs to cap a perfect week and start off for Qalandars.
Wright finally got a win as captain later in his side’s last game of the week versus Pune Devils. Chasing 129 to win, Wright was unable to contribute heavily, scoring just six, but a late blitz of 38 off 11 balls from Jamie Overton saved the game and made sure of a five-wicket win.
Rashid Khan returned to the world cricket stage in Afghanistan’s last two of three one-day internationals versus Ireland. In the second ODI, Rashid produced a tidy spell, taking figures of 1-49 from his ten over-allocation to restrict Ireland to 259/9, before not being needed with the bat as Afghanistan cruised to a seven-wicket win to seal the series.
However, the leg-spinner then went from not being needed to starring with the bat in the third ODI as he top-scored in Afghanistan’s total of 266/9 with 48 from 40 balls. Rashid wasn’t done there as he wrapped up a man of the match performance by producing figures of 4-29 from nine overs, as Afghanistan won by 36 runs to wrap a 3-0 series whitewash.