Ten from ten! The BBL|02 has thrown up a remarkable stat from its first few games. Ten times the team batting second has won.
The chasers have had the best of it. Is it just a coincidence?
For many years the trend in the Big Bash was the opposite. Bat first and watch the team chasing disintegrate in any number of fashions.
To me the current trend may show us a few things;
1. Players are getting better at T20, which makes sense. It's still a new game and players have had to adapt and work out the way to play it most effectively.
Average scores have dropped since we began playing as bowlers become more effective at working out plans then executing them.
Batsman too have improved. Seeing the run rate required to win games creep over 10 or even 12 runs an over doesn't produce the panic it once did. Batters have better plans rather than swinging wildly and construct their chases with clear plans.
2. We tend to play on grounds with a specific nuance. A short boundary, a very good batting wicket, a used wicket, even the unpredictable weather at this time of year.
All these things have teams asking 'what is a good score here?' One way to find out is to bowl first and see how the other team adapts - where and how they score.
3. Like the toss of a coin over and over it may be pot luck! A game disrupted by weather tends to suit the team chasing.
They know what they need to score and they have all their wickets to lose in a shortened time frame allowing for an increase in the risks able to be taken.
A number of the games have gone down to the wire and really could have gone either way. Instead of 10 straight it could easily have been almost half and half.
I predict that as the tournament wears on this trend will begin to even out. In big games having runs on the board can create pressure in many ways.
Bowlers who have the skills to be effective at the end of the innings are like gold dust. There are those that take a lot of wickets and those that are very hard to score off, quite often leading to wickets as the batsmen invent ways of trying to score.
The best are those bowlers that have plenty of variety. The hardest thing for a batsman to deal with is a bowler who never lets you settle into a rhythm, through both the length they bowl and the pace they bowl at.
Even if someone bowls one ball very well, if a batter gets too many looks at it or starts to know exactly what the bowler is about to bowl at him the percentages shift dramatically in their favour.
This can encompass a myriad of bowlers and perhaps the very best are those that are able to let go of what’s happened to their previous ball and focus on the one they are about to deliver.
At the end of the day T20 is a game of percentages and if you do something well then the percentages are in your favour.
The best are those that can deal with it when the percentages go against them, refocus, and come up with the best option for their next delivery.
As Mike Hussey is constantly saying - "it's a fine, fine line" between success and failure in all forms of cricket. T20 doubly so!
One of the things I have found as a captain in this format is that the best laid plans can quickly fly out the window and thinking on your feet and improvising with your bowlers often becomes the norm.
Trusting them and backing them in to execute their skills well is essential to finding your best death bowlers.We are not even halfway through the tournament yet and already we have seen some pure awesomeness.
Aaron Finch set the standard with the bat for the tournament with his breathtaking hundred in the Melbourne Derby. Chris Lynn's striking against the Scorchers last night was also impressive, his fastest 50 will take some beating.
The cult figure Nathan Coulter-Nile's hitting to get the Scorchers over the line was awesome. There should be t-shirts made up of him under Christmas trees around the country
Kudos also to Simon Katich who was the catalyst for Coults to head up the order. Inspired choice Katto!!
Lasith Malinga is doing it all for the Stars, none better than his record breaking feat of six wickets for seven runs in Perth.
That'll take some beating!
Trends and momentum can be hard to stop in T20- maybe BBL|02 will be a year for the chasers.
Merry Xmas all
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia