It's true! I lost the opening match in the BBL Supercoach fantasy league to former England Test Captain Michael Vaughan by a measly 5 points! If only Jordan Silk could have held that simple catch in the opening game against The Scorchers or Alex Hales just knocked off the last few runs against The Renegades instead of holing out in the deep then I would be celebrating a victory.
Michael Vaughan celebrates after discovering he beat me in the BBL Head to Head. Some reports have stated the former England captain considers this cricketing achievement 2nd only to lifting the Ashes in 2005
In general, it was a good round for me with my score of 1257 points putting me in firmly in the top 10% of scores worldwide. I was ahead of Vaughan for large parts of the round as well but it was the performance of England's Tom Banton in the final game that helped him just grab victory. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vaughan has gone big on the English boys who are plying their trade in this year's Bash with his pick of Surrey's Tom Curran as captain an inspired choice. Curran has begun where he left off last year in the Bash and I was glad to see that he was also picked up in the IPL auction where he will join fellow countrymen Stokes, Buttler and Archer. With the T20 World Cup also being held in Australia in 2020, Curran's continued good form in the shortest format puts him in with a good chance of not just making the squad (as was the case in the 50-over version this year) but playing a starring role.
My star man for the round ended up being Ben Dwarshuis who only came into the side as a very late replacement for Chirs Morris who was unavailable for the first couple of games. Dwarshuis' 211 points over the 2 games the Sixers have played means he is the leading scorer in the competition at the moment. Elsewhere Qais Ahmed racked up a whopping 180 points in a single match as Hobart Hurricanes took advantage of the substandard Alice Springs pitch to bowl out the Sixers with Ahmed taking 4 wickets in the process.
I have added to my Asian wrist-spinning options for the 2nd round with Rashid Khan coming into the side. The Strikers had a bye in the first round but they have a couple of double game rounds on the horizon meaning that the world's number 1 ranked T20 bowler should be able to rack up some decent points. To help afford him, I have dropped Daniel Worrall from the side and I have also disposed of Max Byrant and Jason Sangha. In their place, I've added 2 young players who look like good cheap picks in Cameron Green and Hayden Kerr. Green was probably the one bright point from an otherwise disappointing opening display from The Scorchers. He mixed classical strokeplay with some good old fashioned power-hitting and with the frailty of Perth's batting line-up, it seems likely that he will get plenty of opportunities for time at the crease. Round 2 sees all 8 teams play over the space of this weekend in back to back doubleheaders meaning that no franchise plays twice and no one is on a bye.
I'm up against Mark Howard's team in the Tales v The Pundits league in round 2. He scored an impressive 1305 points in round 1 to defeat Isa Guha so I'll be up against it again in the games that start tomorrow. Perhaps the big surprise of Round 1 was the poor showing of Shane Warne whose side managed just 786 points dragging the ranking of the league down as a whole - sort it out Warney!