Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/Blogs/justin-langer/2013/1/24/success-depite-losing

Justin Langer


Langer: Success despite losing

24 January 2013

Saturday night’s BBL Final at the WACA, affectionately named the Furnace, never really got going as a cricket contest.

As good as the Brisbane Heat were on the night, it was nigh impossible to reach the heights and drama of Wednesday’s semi-final against the Melbourne Stars.

Maybe, just maybe, the Scorchers couldn’t lift after the emotion of that thriller?

Or maybe the Heat, the deserved victors, executed their well-thought-out plans better than we did?

Either way, BBL|02 was a great success.

For the Furnace to host capacity crowds twice in four days, is a clear indication of the interest in the 20/20 game.  The Final sold out in 12 minutes. 

Surely such euphoria is rare in the game, or business, of cricket?

After the extraordinary scenes of the semi-final, the great shame of Saturday’s final was that the crowd wasn’t ignited like they were a few days before.

Despite the light showers on Wednesday, the crowd was more like an AFL Grand Final crowd than a cricket crowd.

At one point, when Shaun Marsh hit Alex Keath for 27 off one over, he received a standing ovation from his passionate supporters. 

Throughout my career I have seen many standing ovations, but never have I seen one during an innings, or at the end of an over. 

Shaun Marsh’s brutal assault brought the game to life.  He felt, the crowd felt, we felt, that we were back in the contest.  From that one over, everything seemed to change.  This is often the way in T20.

The noise rose with the tempo of the game.  As the Scorchers launched so did the crowd.  The atmosphere was mind-blowing and the final result totally euphoric.

I can’t imagine how Shane Warne and the Stars felt as they sat in their changing rooms after the game. 

As high as we were, I can only imagine they were shattered. 

One thing that is for certain is that both teams were drained by the moment.  The agony and ecstasy of the contest couldn’t have been clearer.

Asked this morning in an interview whether the semi-finals in the BBL are as good as winning the final I understood where the reporter was coming from. 

The reality is that a place in the final means a chance to compete in the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 later in the year.  Such invitations are like finding the gold ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory.

When the Scorchers won on Wednesday night the atmosphere was similar to winning a Grand Final.  The song was sung loud, the back slaps were regular and the compliments were free flowing. 

While it was never mentioned within the group about the Champions League Twenty20, I am sure, when the euphoria died down, many would have thought what winning the semi-final really meant. 

A chance to compete against the best domestic teams in the world, for a huge prize pool, is something few get to experience.

Hopefully the Scorchers can use the opportunity to make amends for last year’s well-publicised mess.

Fools don’t make the same mistakes twice and I sense that there is a strong determination to right the wrongs of last year’s missed opportunity. 

On Saturday night, we felt like we were waiting for something to happen.  We knew a brilliant catch; a couple of quick wickets or a big over with the bat would bring the crowd and our hopes to life. 

Unfortunately it just didn’t happen, and as a result, 18,000 passionate supporters seemed flat like they were waiting for the fireworks that forgot to explode.

Like our last shot at the Champions League Twenty20, we feel like we have missed an opportunity to add some silverware to the WACA cabinets. 

It has been a long time since Western Australian cricket has won a trophy, so while the semi-final felt great, the truth is it still wasn’t the premiership.

Everyone in sport is in the business of winning trophies and as great as making a lucrative tournament might be, we weren’t the ones drinking champagne out of the silver mug. 

That hurts and hopefully the pain of last night’s defeat will act as the touchstone for future growth and development in Western Australian cricket.

Hopefully some of the brilliantly entertaining scenes throughout BBL|02 will also provide another arm to Cricket Australia’s objective of becoming Australia’s favourite sport. 

If last week in WA is anything to go by then cricket is alive and well. 

From Perth.

JL

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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