Alfonso Thomas has inspired Perth Scorchers in Big Bash League, says Matt Floyd
Matt Floyd blogs on Alfonso Thomas' impact on the Scorchers, plus some very chilly studio guests!
By Matt Floyd - @mattkfloyd
Last Updated: 31/12/12 2:43pm
While stadium crowds have dropped off a bit in its second year they are still much higher than they are for domestic T20 in the UK (over 20,000 turned up for the bottom of the table clash between the two Sydney teams at ANZ Stadium) and the cricket continues to generally be of a high standard.
This week we finally saw the Melbourne Renegades defeated at the fifth time of asking. It wasn't just a loss though, it was a hammering. The Perth Scorchers' experienced top three of Shaun Marsh, Herschelle Gibbs and Adam Voges flayed the previously untouchable Renegades bowling attack all around the WACA and then the bowlers finished off the job to show that no team is invincible in this format.
It seems no coincidence that the Scorchers' revival after losing their first two games has coincided with the arrival of Alfonso Thomas - 'The Fonz' has been on the winning side in all three games he has played in and proved yet again what a quality Twenty20 bowler he is.
That Renegades loss allowed their local rivals the Melbourne Stars to displace them at the top of the table after they won an important game at the Adelaide Oval against the Strikers. The game was a classic example of how a scorecard doesn't always tell you the whole story.
The Strikers lost by only eight runs and Kieron Pollard smashed 65 not out off 43 balls but they were never really in the run chase and Pollard's innings actually lost them the game. He struggled badly in the middle part of his knock, especially with the numerous slower balls delivered to him (future opponents take note!), left himself and the team too much to do and they only really got close because he hit two sixes in the last three balls. Mind you, they were absolutely massive and I'm sure one of them is still in orbit!
Elsewhere, Ricky Ponting continued his good form with a second successive Man of the Match performance as the Hobart Hurricanes won again and the Sydney Sixers kept alive their slim hopes of making the Semis with a win over the Sydney Thunder, who are still terrible even with Matt Prior in the eleven.
In the studio we've been mixing it up with different guests alongside me which keeps things fresh and provides some varied opinion.
Old hands Corky and Harv have been there for most games and we've also had Ed Joyce, Robert Croft (MBE!), Gus Fraser, Jason Gillespie and Ravi Bopara in the hot seats.
Hopefully we haven't scared off Ed and Gus. Ed turned up for his first shift of the competition only to find the door to the studio had been left open overnight and it was colder than the South Pole in there.
If you looked closely you could probably see our teeth chattering on the high definition cameras.
Gus was kept warm at least but he's probably getting sick of me trying to persuade him to get some of his Middlesex players to play for my club Hampstead CC. Gus, expect more of the same in the new year!
Shaun Udal has also been in and more than pulled his weight by sorting out a live phono with Shane Warne. He was on Twitter during the match and realised that Warnie was in the UK for Xmas (he tweeted that he was lying in bed watching the game with a Miss E.Hurley) so we called him up for a chat after the game. It's always a pleasure to talk to the great man, he has such a massive personality and is always refreshingly honest.
Next up for us on New Year's Day is a huge game between the Hurricanes and the Scorchers. Its fourth v fifth and the winner will take a big step towards the Semi Finals, hoping to see some good cricket between two strong teams. Set your alarms bright and early...
Watch Hobart Hurricanes v Perth Scorchers from 8am on New Year's Day on Sky Sports 2 HD.