Feb 122014

By Rob Barnett

Yorkshire have secured one of the winter’s marquee signings by landing explosive Australia limited-overs batsman Aaron Finch as a second overseas player for 2014.

Finch joins New Zealand’s Kane Williamson on the county’s books and will specialise in the NatWest T20 Blast, but will represent the White Rose in other cricket when Williamson is on international duty.

Finch, who will be available in mid-May after the Indian Premier League, announced himself to a UK audience with the highest Twenty20 international score in history last August.

The burley right-hander’s 156 versus England at the Ageas Bowl took just 63 balls and included an astonishing 14 sixes and 11 fours. More of the same came last month when he hit two one-day international tons against England.

Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale said: “He’s up there with the world’s best players at the minute.”

Gale may well open the batting with Finch and is excited about playing alongside someone who made 262 Big Bash League runs at an average of 52.4 and strike-rate of 148 while leading Melbourne Renegades this winter.

“The way he played out in Oz and that knock he played at Southampton last year, I’ll just be getting off strike and watching him bat,” Gale added.

“I watched him in the Big Bash over there, and the grounds that they play on are a lot bigger than our grounds over here in Twenty20 cricket and they don’t bring their boundaries in all that much. He’s clearing the rope and hitting it into the upper tier 15 rows back. I’m really looking forward to batting with him.”

Aaron Finch piled more misery on England with two centuries in last month's one-day series, one at Melbourne and the other in Perth

Finch had interest from several other counties, so director of cricket Martyn Moxon was pleased to sign him at this stage.

“With Aaron’s success against England this winter in the ODIs, we wanted to get him nailed down now. We’re all delighted that he’s agreed to join us,” Moxon enthused.

Finch’s career T20 figures show a healthy average of 38.31 at a formidable strike-rate of 138.

However, Yorkshire head coach Jason Gillespie will be able to play the 27-year-old in other formats when Williamson is unavailable, such as during New Zealand’s tour of the West Indies in the middle of the domestic season.

“His statistics show what an explosive player he is. Particularly for T20 he’s going to be a great addition to the squad and I’m really looking forward to having him,” Moxon said of Finch.

“He’s going to be playing all the cricket while Kane’s away. There may be some crossover between Kane and Aaron for T20, but when Kane’s away he’ll play in all forms of the game.”

Moxon sees Finch, who was today sold for £319,000 to Hyderabad Sunrisers in the IPL auction, as one of several “match-winners” at Yorkshire’s disposal.

“Hopefully the way he plays, he can get us off to really devastating starts and hopefully the rest of the lads can build on that,” Moxon added.

“We’re not bringing him in for him to be the one match-winner. We’ve got match-winners hopefully throughout the team. But I think his style of play can really put us on the front foot at the top of the innings.”

Finch, who has played league cricket in York, revealed that a discussion with former Yorkshire player and current Australia coach Darren Lehmann persuaded him to join the White Rose.

Finch said: “It is a great honour to be joining Yorkshire County Cricket Club this summer. This is one of the biggest cricket clubs in the world with a history and tradition second to none. I’ve heard so much about the place and can’t wait to join up with Jason Gillespie and the rest of the squad in May.

“When I heard Yorkshire was interested in signing me, I had no hesitation in signing. I had a good chat with Darren Lehmann and he recommended that I joined the club. He can’t speak highly enough of the place and Yorkshire’s loyal supporters.”

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Feb 082014
Scorchers clinch Big Bash League title

SYDNEY: Australian Twenty20 team Perth Scorchers have won Western Australian cricket’s first trophy for a decade following a dominant 39-run victory over Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League final at the WACA Ground.Perth was hosting its third cons…

Jan 162014
Simmons smashes record for fastest Big Bash ton

Published: 6:39AM Friday January 17, 2014 Source: AP

Little-known batsman Craig Simmons scored the fastest century in Big Bash League history to inspire the Perth Scorchers to a thrilling five-run win over the Adelaide Strikers in Thursday night’s Twenty20 clash at the WACA Ground.

Simmons cracked eight fours and eight sixes on the way to his 39-ball ton, easily eclipsing the previous record of 44 balls set by Melbourne Stars blaster Luke Wright in 2012.

The blistering knock of 102 lifted Perth to 203 for seven, and the Strikers were in the hunt for an upset win after quick-fire knocks from Phil Hughes (58), Alex Hales (31), Nathan Reardon (30) and Jono Dean (29).

The Strikers needed 17 runs for victory off the last over – bowled by Pakistan paceman Yasir Arafat.

That equation became six off the final ball after Tim Ludeman cracked two boundaries.

But Ludeman couldn’t land the winning blow, scuffing Arafat’s straight full toss to square leg as Adelaide finished at 6-198 in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,495.

The win guaranteed the Scorchers (5-2) a spot in this summer’s finals, but Adelaide need to win their last two games if they are to join Perth in the top-four.

Returning paceman Pat Cummins snared 1-40 from his four overs in his Scorchers debut.

The 20-year-old, on the comeback trail from his latest bout of back stress fractures, regularly bowled around 140km/h against the wind in a solid hit-out.

The spotlight was firmly on Cummins following two years of injury problems.

But it was Simmons who well and truly stole the show.

the 31-year-old entered last night’s match under the pump after producing scores of 9. 8 and 0 in his previous three innings.

Simmons didn’t look all that convincing early, and he was lucky to survive on 11 when a running Jon Holland misjudged a skied strike and failed to get his hands on the ball.

But from there he exploded, hitting a series of boundaries to repay the faith shown in him by coach Justin Langer.

“I wasn’t really sure if I was going to play this game. So credit to the Scorchers for sticking with me. JL has been very good for me,” Simmons said.

Langer said Simmons’ confidence in himself convinced him to keep selecting him.

“He kept telling me he just needed a few runs under his belt and then he would be right,” Langer said.

“It’s great to give a guy an opportunity.”

Wright congratulated Simmons on snaring the record, but declared he would try to win it back.

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