NSW SpeedBlitz Blues batsman, Phil Hughes
In his quest to return to the Australian line up, NSW SpeedBlitz Blues batsman Phillip Hughes began his stint with Worcestershire, by blasting a century in his first appearance against former club Middlesex in their 40-over fixture overnight.
Batting first, Hughes came to the middle with Worcestershire 1/16 and after some early timing problems adjusting to English conditions he worked his way to 50no from 82 balls, including 2 fours. As he got his eye in and began to accelerate, Hughes went on to hit his second 50 from 35 balls, which included another seven fours, as Worcestershire continued to pile on the runs as they made 104 runs in the final 10 overs. Hughes was eventually dismissed in the final over of the innings for 111 (11 fours) from 124 balls.
Losing steady wickets, and an increasing run rate, made the run chase diffuclt for Middlesex, and with no batsman contributing a big score, they were all out for 179 in the 35th over, still 56 runs short of victory.
The stint with Worcestershire will be Hughes’ third in England, after previously representing Middlesex and Hampshire, all of which have resulted in Hughes returning to his run-scoring best. In 2009, Hughes made 574 First class runs in three games for Middlesex, including three centuries.
Hughes will remain at Worcestershire until his campaign finishes in September, when he will return to the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues ahead of the Australian domestic season.
In other English County Cricket news, Mitchell Starc bagged 3 wickets for Yorkshire in their eight wicket victory over the Unicorns in their List A (40-over) fixture. With the Unicorns batting first, the opening bowling pair of Starc and English quick Ryan Sidebottom did the majority of the damage, claiming 3 wickets each. Starc finished with 3/36 from his eight overs as the Unicorns were all out for 184. After Yorkshire batsman Phil Jaques was dismissed early, however, an unbeaten 160 run stand from Lyth and Ballance saw Yorkshire chase down the total in the 33rd over for the loss of just 2 wickets.
The final of the IPL 2012 was played overnight with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on the Kolkata Knight Riders. In a high scoring affair, Kolkata won the clash by 5 wickets after chasing down a total of 190, with two balls to spare.
Brett Lee represented Kolkata, but had a tough night with ball. Finishing with 0/42 from his 4 overs, the Chennai Super Kings’ top order of Michael Hussey (54), Murali Vijay (42) and Suresh Raina (73) hammered the Kolkata bowling attack to all parts of the ground as they finished with 3/190 from their 20 overs. Requiring 9.5 runs an over for victory, Kolkata opening batsman Manvinder Bisla (89 off 48) and middle order batsman Jacques Kallis (69 off 49) put Kolkata on the front foot as they looked to chase down victory. In an exciting finish, with wickets falling regularly, Kolkata reached the total in the final over for the loss of five wickets.
Despite going wicketless in the final, Lee remained one of the top bowlers of the tournament, taking 7 wickets in 10 matches. His best bowling figures for the tournament were 2/26.
The other great news was that Trevor Bayliss coached the side to their first IPL title. Having coached the Sydney Sixers to the first Big Bash League title last season it means that Bayliss has now coached teams to two major world T20 wins in the past six months, which is an impressive record by anyone’s standards. Bayliss will now coach the Knight Riders in the upcoming Champions League in India.