Marcus Stoinis was involved in an over that summed up the madness of T20 and the fine line between being a hero or villain. With 21 to defend, he watched his first three deliveries against Rinku Singh disappear for four, six, six. That suddenly made Kolkata Knight Riders favourites as they aimed to keep their tournament alive and another brace left three needed off the last two balls. When Rinku connected the fifth delivery it looked as though that could be the game, but Evin Lewis pulled off one of the catches of the competition at deep cover. Stoinis then held his nerve with the last ball, getting a yorker just about on target which Umesh Yadav missed.
“You start your over and you’re pretty clear. You play to the conditions and the long boundary and what you think the batter wants to do,” Stoinis said. “As things get worse, you go back more towards what you like to bowl and what works for you. So that’s probably a learning for me, to maybe take the conditions out of it in those sort of situations and do what you feel most confident with.”
Mumbai Indians’ tournament had long been over, which gave Tim David even more chances to show how foolish it was he did not play throughout. He could not quite get Mumbai over the line against Sunrisers Hyderabad, run out when his 46 off 18 balls had turned the chase around. But in his final knock of the season, he produced the decisive display with 34 off just 11 deliveries after having a huge dose of fortune when Rishabh Pant did not review an outside edge first ball. He finished the season with 186 runs at a tournament-leading strike rate of 216.27.
David’s final performance was cheered on by all those associated with Royal Challengers Bangalore who squeezed into the final qualifying spot and in turn meant an early exit for David Warner and Mitchell Marsh with Delhi Capitals. Marsh had continued his strong finish with a thumping 63 against Punjab King before falling for a duck against Mumbai when Jasprit Bumrah proved too good. It was a quiet end to the season for Warner, who finished with scores of 0 and 5, but it remained a very good campaign for him with 432 runs after last season’s difficulties.
Glenn Maxwell produced one of his most impactful performances of the season as Royal Challengers got the win they needed against Gujarat Titans before having to sweat on the Capitals result. Maxwell claimed 1 for 28 which included a maiden and 14 dots balls, dismissing his Australian team-mate Matthew Wade (more on that below). He then crunched 40 off 18 balls from No. 3 to get the chase done and dusted.
Nathan Ellis has barely been used by Kings but got his second outing of the season in the dead game that ended the group stage and bagged 3 for 40. He found himself on a hat-trick in the final over and though he did not complete it himself, the team did when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was run out off what was also called a no-ball.
Who is involved in playoffs?
So, we now know the final four – Titans, Royals, Super Giants and Royal Challengers – which means the following Australians remain for the last week of the tournament: Matthew Wade (Titans), Marcus Stoinis (Giants), Glenn Maxwell (Royal Challengers), Josh Hazlewood (Royal Challengers), Jason Behrendorff (Royal Challengers) and AJ Tye (Giants).
James Pattinson played his part in Nottinghamshire’s 10-wicket victory against Derbyshire as he claimed five wickets in the match which left them second in Division Two as the Championship takes a break.
However, it was Victoria team-mate Peter Handscomb who finished the first part of the Championship season in pole position with Middlesex completing a six-wicket victory against Durham to sit top. Handscomb was unbeaten on 39 in the chase in what proved to be his final act for the club. He will now head to Sri Lanka with Australia A and it was announced that he won’t return to Middlesex afterwards and instead head home to spend time with his family.
Peter Siddle claimed a four-wicket haul but could do little to prevent Somerset crashing to a 10-wicket defeat against Hampshire. Matt Renshaw made 27 and 11, the second coming as Somerset were bundled out for 69.
Focus turns to the T20 Blast
The county season now switches into T20 Blast mode (although there remains some four-day cricket sprinkled in) and a number of Australians will be involved. Dan Christian will captain Nottinghamshire and Ashton Turner will lead Durham. Middlesex announced the signings of Behrendorff and Chris Green with availability issues causing late changes to their overseas spots. Ben McDermott, who missed out on a place in the Sri Lanka tour squads, will play for Hampshire who also have Ellis. Josh Philippe will link up with Sussex after the Australia A tour. David has a deal with Lancashire in what will be one of the must-watch signings.
Matthew Wade will be involved in the IPL playoffs although it’s been a rather frustrating season with the bat. That came to a head in the final group match when he was given lbw against Maxwell but was convinced he had hit the ball. There was a tiny mark on Ultra Edge but the third umpire ruled it was not conclusive evidence to overturn. On returning to the dressing room, Wade threw his bat and helmet around the dressing room. It earned him a slap on the wrist with a reprimand.
Another excellent few days for Tim David who, when he was selected consistently, showed why he fetched such a hefty price tag at the IPL auction. David has yet to feature for Australia but they have a lot of T20Is in the lead-up to the World Cup. He will be very hard to ignore.