Throat-slit celebration ‘over the top’
The Big Bash's new cult hero Haris Rauf has come under fire for making a throat-slitting gesture each time he captured a wicket for the Melbourne Stars in their three-wicket win over the Sydney Thunder.
The Pakistani paceman has become one of the feel-good stories of the season after being plucked from Tasmanian grade cricket to become the Stars' leading wicket taker but his crude wicket celebrations have infuriated watchers of the family-friendly T20 competition.
Fans have taken to social media demanding that he be sanctioned over his actions, with former Queensland rugby league State-of-Origin prop Darryl Brohman summing up the mood by tweeting: "Not sure we need the throat cutting gesture from Harris Rauf every time he takes a wicket. Clearly a very good bowler but the post wicket antics are over the top. Who's with me?"
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Not sure we need the throat cutting gesture from Harris Rauf everytime he takes a wicket. Clearly a very good bowler but the post wicket antics are over the top. Who’s with me?— Darryl Brohman (@therealbigmarn) January 2, 2020
Haris Rauf is spectacular but he should change his celebration style.— Sohail Khanzada (@SoheilKhanzada) January 2, 2020
Throat-slashing celebration should have no place in a cricket ground. Someone needs to guide this young lad. #TeamGreen #BBL #harisrauf #bigbash #celebration #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/9ZzeqyTAMm
May be time for someone from the Stars to get to Haris Rauf and stop with the throat slitting gesture or have I missed something?— Tim Gossage 🤓🎙📺 (@TimGossage) January 2, 2020
Plenty of other fans were irked by Rauf's actions but his teammate Nick Larkin, who top-scored for the Stars with 65 from 45 deliveries, said he doubted there was any malice in his actions.
"I didn't see it out there but he's a passionate guy so it wouldn't surprise me if he was jumping around and carrying on," Larkin said.
"He's excited when he's taking wickets and I think he's really grateful for the opportunity to be playing in the BBL."
Rauf used the throat-cutting gesture after each of his three wickets, first when he got the prized wicket of Callum Ferguson (19) in his opening spell then again when he clean bowled Daniel Sams and Alex Ross in the same over to finish with 3-24 that set his team on the road to victory.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
The Thunder, who stumbled into 2020 like they were still hungover from celebrating their dramatic New Year's Eve win in Adelaide, could only manage a modest 7-142 in their first home match of the season in front of more than 14,000 spectators at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
The Stars were cruising to victory after Larkin and Marcus Stoinis both blazed half centuries in a 123-run partnership for the second wicket before the Thunder sobered up and almost pinched the win.
With Sams and Nathan McAndrew each taking wickets in successive balls, the Stars lost 6-19 in three overs as the wheels fell off before Adam Zampa hit the winning run with two balls to spare.
"We, as a team didn't really feel like we were written off even though at one stage it was under a run a ball," Sams said.
"If we were able to get a couple of new batters in there, it was really hard to score from ball one so we were able to take a couple of wickets and put it back to them but they just got over the line."
The Stars are now outright favourites to win the title after leapfrogging the Thunder at the top of the competition table but shouldn't take anything for granted after blowing last year's final to the Melbourne Renegades when they lost 7-19 in a disastrous collapse.
"It was a fraction tense," Larkin said.
"We made it harder than we should of but I thought we were always going to get there."
The Sydney Showground is a hard enough wicket to score heavily off at the best of times but the Thunder only had themselves to blame for their lowest total of the season.
Too many batsmen threw their wickets without being careless shots even before the pressure was on.
The Thunder's two openers - Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja - were both cleaned up by Glenn Maxwell after he read the conditions perfectly and opened the bowling with his off spinners.
Ferguson and Matthew Gilkes both holed out in the deep but it was South African all rounder Chris Morris who took the prize for the softest dismissal when he spooned a gentle full toss from Zampa straight back to the leg spinner for the easiest of return catches.
Needing everything to go their way in the field to defend such a small total, the Thunder could not have made a better start when Sams rattled Nic Maddison's stumps to open with a wicket maiden.
There have only been two maidens in the tournament so far and Sams has bowled them but that was as good as it got for the men in lime green until their late fightback which saw Sams miss a hat-trick but overtake Sean Abbott as the tournament's leading wicket taker with 12 scalps.