Fawad Ahmed in action for the Sydney Thunder.
Fawad Ahmed in action for the Sydney Thunder. JULIAN SMITH

Slow and steady winning the race in BBL

CRICKET: Many wondered how much of a role spinners would play in Twenty20 cricket when the newest format took the world by storm a decade or so ago.

Their slow and steady style just didn't suit the fast and furious way the game is played.

But the tweakers have proven time and time again to be the foundation of any good T20 attack, capable of putting the brakes on an innings played at breakneck speed by taking the pace off the ball.

Currently, five of the top six ranked bowlers in T20 internationals are spinners, headed by Pakistan's Imran Tahir. Indian medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah is second on the list.

And here in the latest Big Bash League, seven tweakers are among the top 10 most economical bowlers.

Steve O'Keefe (5.83 runs per over) tops the list, which is why the Sixers would have been quietly fuming Australian selectors have refused to allow him to play ahead of the Indian Test tour.

The Thunder's Fawad Ahmed, who claimed 4-14 against the Sixers on Saturday, the Stars' Michael Beer, who had figures of 2-5 from his first three overs against the Scorchers, and the Heat's Mitchell Swepson have also been outstanding in their economy and wicket-taking ability.

At least two spinners are now demanding selection in each team, with Renegades pair Sunil Narine and Brad Hogg sure to cause the bottom-placed Adelaide Strikers more hassles tonight at the Adelaide Oval.

Batsman Tom Cooper (fifth on that list of most economical), with his slow offies, has also been used by skipper Aaron Finch to open with the ball.

Ish Sodhi, who has 21 wickets in 12 T20Is for New Zealand, will be a key for the hosts after his 2-25 on debut.

In the run to the finals, both the Renegades and Strikers are mathematical chances to make the semis, but a win tonight is a must.


Ladder: 1. Stars 8 (0.786); 2. Heat 8 0.557; 3. Scorchers 8 (0.331); 4. Sixers 8 (-1.062); 5. Thunder 6 (-0.097); 6. Hurricanes 6 (-0.179); 7. Renegades 4 (-0.003); 8. Strikers 4 (-0.157).


BEST ECONOMY: S O'Keefe (Sixers) 5.8; T Head (Strikers) 5.9; S Badree (Heat) 6.1; S Watson (Thunder) 6.2; T Cooper (Renegades) 6.2; A Turner (Scorchers) 6.3; F Ahmed (Thunder) 6.3; B Laughlin (Strikers) 6.3; D Willey (Scorchers) 6.4; M Beer (Stars) 6.5.

MOST WICKETS: S Abbott (Sixers) 15; S Boland (Stars) 10; B Hilfenhaus (Stars) 10; S Narine (Renegades) 10; F Ahmed (Thunder) 9; M Swepson (Heat) 9; M Steketee (Heat) 9; A Tye (Scorchers) 9; C Jordan (Strikers) 9; B Dwarshuis (Sixers) 9