Former Aussie skipper’s emotional farewell
Tasmania played their first T20 match in January 2006 during the inaugural Big Bash competition, back when the competition wasn’t city-based.
Twenty-over cricket was still perceived as an experiment. The first Indian Premier League was two years away and Australia had only participated in two international T20 matches.
James Hopes, Xavier Doherty and Ben Hilfenhaus were among the competitors in that rain-affected fixture at Brisbane — along with a young batsman named George Bailey.
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Since then, Bailey has been a staple of the Tasmanian squad in all three formats. The 37-year-old has played 78 BBL matches, scoring 1660 runs at an average of 33.20.
Only T20 superstar D’Arcy Short has scored more runs than the former Australian captain for Tasmania.
George Bailey smashed five boundaries in the first nine balls he faced on Friday.Source:Getty Images
On Friday evening, Bailey played his final professional cricket match in Hobart, a T20 match against the Sydney Thunder. With retirement a couple of weeks away, he stepped out onto Blundstone Arena in front of his home fans for one final swing of the bat.
And he didn’t disappoint.
In a powerful display of big hitting, Bailey struck 29 off ten balls, guiding the hosts to an imposing total of 6/185.
His quick-fire innings featured five boundaries, including two mammoth sixes.
💜💜💜 #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/A2jTwsCSAk
29 from 10 balls. Thank you, George Bailey. #BBL09
George Bailey you are so cool!!! @HurricanesBBL
George Bailey enjoying a flurry with the bat – the way Hurricanes are going this inns though, he may yet get another home game…. #bbl09
Dismissed in the final over of the innings, the Hobart crowd rose to their feet to applaud the veteran as he trudged off the field, having provided one last memorable cameo for his fans.
“It’s been a long, decorated career. That was brief, but entertaining from George Bailey,” commentator Alistair Nicholson said.
However, the Hobart supporters could only muster a pitiful attendance of 8468 for Bailey’s final match, particularly disappointing for a Friday evening. It was the lowest attendance for a BBL match at a major city this season.
Although their finals hopes are still alive, Hurricanes supporters have seemingly lost interest in the tournament past the midway point.
Another low crowd figure for the Hurricanes, with 8468 coming to see George Bailey's final match in his home state. Again disappointing @TheMercurySport
Regardless, as Bailey’s decorated cricket career enters its twilight, there’s plenty for the 37-year-old to celebrate.
He won a Cricket World Cup winner in 2015, was part of Australia’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2013/14, was named Australia ODI Men’s Cricketer of the Year in 2014, and captained his country to 30 victories.
Upon the Big Bash’s completion next month, Bailey will commence the next chapter of his professional career — as Australia’s third national selector.
With a smart cricketing mind and a likeable persona, he’ll prove an excellent choice for the heavily-scrutinised role.
HURRICANES TOPPLE HAPLESS THUNDER
D’Arcy Short starred with the ball on his BBL return as the Hurricanes recorded a convincing 57-run win.
Having missed several weeks while on tour with the Australian ODI side in India, Short took a career-best 5/21 at Bellerive Oval as the Thunder failed to chase the target of 186.
Thunder opener Alex Hales (63 from 42 balls) had the visitors on track at the halfway point of the chase until Short’s spin struck two crucial blows in the 13th over.
Short had Hales caught off a leading edge and then trapped Chris Morris LBW for a single a few balls later to turn the match in the host’s favour.
D’Arcy Short claimed his first ever five-wicket haul in professional cricket on Friday.Source:Getty Images
The Thunder, fifth coming into the match and themselves chasing an important win in their penultimate regular-season game, then lost 8/28 to be bowled out for 128.
The Hurricanes have jumped ahead of the Thunder on the ladder but must defeat the Adelaide Strikers on Australia Day and rely on other results going their way to make the finals. “Hopefully things fall our way. If they don’t we haven’t played good enough cricket to deserve to get the number five spot,” skipper Matthew Wade said.
“(But) with a couple of guys back we’ve got a team to challenge.”
Despite his heroics with the ball Short was bowled for a second ball duck by Arjun Nair after the Hurricanes elected to bat first.
“If he misses out with the bat, he usually contributes with the ball. We’re stoked to have him back,” Wade said.
“He’s a quality bowler in T20 cricket.”
Youngster Mac Wright top scored with 64 from 45 deliveries, his second half-century in as many innings.
The 22-year-old shared a 97-run stand with Wade (56 from 34) to form the backbone of the Hurricanes innings.
Daniel Sams (4/32 from four overs) was the pick of the Thunder attack. and keeps his golden cap for most wicket in the tournament.
— with AAP
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