Euro 2020 Special
 

Big Bash League: Steve Smith Dazzles Sydney With Consecutive Centuries

Steve Smith registered his name in the history books last week by scoring back-to-back centuries in the Big Bash League, joining a select few players who can boast of such a feat. After scoring a century against Adelaide Strikers at Coffs Harbour, Steve Smith lit up Sydney’s sky by scoring an unbeaten 125-run knock in just 66 balls. The innings saw nine 6s and four 4s, with the former Australian captain scoring at a strike rate of 189.39.

 

Consecutive Centuries

Steve Smith entered the Big Bash League in the middle of the month, making his debut with a 36-run knock against Perth Scorchers at home. But it was in the second game that the 33-year-old looked sublime, scoring a 56-ball century to take Sydney Sixers to 203/5 – their fourth-highest score in the history of the Big Bash League. This was also the first time a player has scored a century for the Men’s Sydney Sixers team.

In response, Adelaide Strikers could only manage to score 144 runs by the end of their innings, consolidating Sydney Sixers’ spot in the qualifiers. The second ton came on Saturday when Steve Smith powered the hosts to 187/2 by scoring 125 runs in 66 balls. Despite losing two early wickets, Steve Smith and Moises Henriques partnered for the third wicket, putting on an unbeaten 155-run partnership.

Unlike the first century, which was explosive from the start to the end, Steve Smith’s century against Sydney Thunder was more calculated. After losing two early wickets, the Australian legend was content to take singles, with Sydney Sixers not scoring a single boundary for five straight overs. But once the duo looked comfortable in the crease, Steve Smith exploded, scoring consecutive sixes to bring up his hundred.

 

Big Bash League Qualifiers

Cricket Australia is expected to allow many of the team’s senior players to play in Week 1 of the Big Bash League qualifiers before the team prepares to tour India next month. This means that Steve Smith is likely to feature in the first qualifier for Sydney Sixers, giving them a huge boost. Lance Morris is expected to feature for Perth Scorchers in the qualifier, but both Todd Murphy and Ashton Agar will not be participating in the qualifier on Saturday.

Five teams are still in contention to fill the three remaining qualifier spots, with only Melbourne Stars clearly out of contention. Hobart Hurricanes will have a tough challenge tonight if Steve Smith continues with his imperious form, but they will have a showdown with Brisbane Heat to reach the qualifiers on Wednesday. Melbourne Renegades will go head-to-head with Adelaide Strikers for a playoff spot, with Sydney Thunder banking their hopes on the terrible form of Melbourne Stars.

 

Steve Smith’s Incredible Form

The Australian legend has been in sublime form in recent months across all formats, opening the year with a century against South Africa in the Sydney Test. Since his expulsion from the team after the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, Steve Smith has steadily made his way back into the team and re-established his dominance in the sport, especially in the longest format of the game.

The comeback tale could reach its completion this summer when Australia are expected to feature in the World Test Championship final along with the Ashes. Steve Smith has already signed up for Sussex to gain experience in English conditions ahead of the prestigious tournament, where he will play alongside India’s Cheteshwar Pujara.

But Steve Smith has to navigate the treacherous Indian tracks before the summer when Australia travel to the subcontinent for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy next month. Steve Smith has been appointed the team’s vice-captain by Cricket Australia, and with his experience on India’s spin-friendly pitches, is expected to lead the batting unit from the front.

Steve Smith’s success as an opener in the Big Bash League could also make Australia’s selectors take a relook at the veteran’s place in the squad. After being left out of the T20 format for much of the year, Steve Smith made an emphatic statement regarding the potential left in him and indicated his desire to open the batting in T20s for the Australian team. With Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch expected to retire before the start of the next T20 World Cup, Steve Smith could become a viable option for the opening slot for the team.

   

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