Scorned Handscomb sends message to selectors
DUMPED Australian Test batsman Peter Handscomb took out his frustrations on the Sydney Sixers with a monster hitting display on Thursday night to lead the Melbourne Stars to their first win of the Big Bash season.
Just two days after he was dumped from the national team for the Boxing Day Test against India at the MCG, Handscomb belted 70 off 35 balls to lead his struggling team to a five-wicket win with 31 balls to spare at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"I'm obviously frustrated and disappointed, all those things," Handscomb said.
"You can't dwell too much on it. Obviously team balance was a big thing for the (Australian) squad and we've already seen we really needed Mitch Marsh to bowl those overs so it was an important change and that's perfectly fine."
In a reminder to selectors of what he can do, Handscomb smashed nine boundaries and three sixes, including one over square leg to get off the mark, and reached his half-century off just 22 deliveries as the visitors strolled past the Sixers modest total of 9-130.
He also completed a sharp stumping and took a catch when he was keeping for the Stars.
"If I'm going to try and get back in I've got to go and do it again and and again and again and really force my hand so that the selectors have no choice but to pick me," Handscomb said.
"It was good to make runs today but it doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.
Jordan Silk top scored for Sydney with 41 not out but only three others managed double figures as the Sixers lost for the second time in four days after opening the season with a win over the Perth Scorchers.
"I guess 130 was never going to be enough on that sort of wicket," Silk said.
"We probably haven't got off to the starts we would have liked in the first six overs, that's certainly the key to setting up big totals."
The Sixers' top order continues to struggle, putting extra pressure on the middle order to post a decent total.
For the third match in a row, neither opener managed to make it through the powerplay.
Rookie Jack Edwards might have a flying to Sheffield Shield and JLT One Day Cup but the towering teenager is yet to have an impact in BBL.
He lasted just two balls against the Stars, swatting the first one fine for a boundary then getting stumped by Handscomb off the next one when he failed to get his toe back on the ground even though his back foot was well behind the crease.
Joe Denly's brilliant season last year, when he averaged 73, now seems a distant memory with the English all-rounder making just 28 runs from his three innings so far.
Nepalese leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane continues to make a huge impression for the Stars.
The 18-year-old is the joint leading wicket taker in the competition so far with seven wickets at an average of 11.14 after taking 2-18 against the Sixers.
Lamichhane has already claimed some big scalps in his BBL debut season with Sixers captain Moises Henriques and English paceman Tom Curran his latest victims.
The Sixers' experienced tweaker Steve O'Keefe also has seven wickets, at a better average of 9.71, after picking up 2-22 against the Stars.
Jordan Silk can't put a foot wrong at the SCG this season.
In the two matches the Sixers have played at home, Silk has top scored both times and is yet to be dismissed, making 67 not out against the Perth Scorchers then an unbeaten 41 against the Stars.
His record away from home couldn't be any different. ln his only other match, away to the Thunder, he made a golden duck, but his 108 runs at the SCG makes him the top scorer in the tournament after 10 matches.
After a low turnout for the first two BBL games in Sydney, the fans were back in better numbers last night with 22,221 spectators attending last night.
Just 17,436 attended the Sixers' opening home game at the SCG against the Perth Scorchers and only 10,508 people turned up for the Christmas Eve Sydney Smash at Spotless Stadium.