Big Bash flop’s ‘phenomenal’ resurgence
Melbourne Stars batsman Ben Dunk has dispelled his Big Bash demons, proving his worth as a batting powerhouse in the middle order during the Pakistan Super League.
Dunk signed for the Stars in 2017, having finished BBL06 as the tournament’s highest run scorer, plundering 364 runs for the Adelaide Strikers at a strike rate of 163.96. He is one of only two cricketers to be the leading run scorer of two separate BBL tournaments, along with Australian one-day batsman D’Arcy Short.
However, Dunk’s transition from blue to green has not paid dividends.
In the past three Big Bash seasons, the 32-year-old has averaged only 16.72 with the bat in 34 innings.
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Dunk scored 11 during the Stars’ loss in February’s rain-affected final against the Sydney Sixers, who won their second BBL title.
Ben Dunk has only managed three 50+ scores from his last 34 BBL innings.Source:Getty Images
One of the unfortunate aspects of Dunk’s time with the Stars has been his inability to close out an innings. Despite being a middle order batsman, the former Australian T20 batsman has only managed one not out innings during three seasons with the Melbourne-based club.
Since signing with the Stars, Dunk has managed more ducks than 50+ scores in Big Bash cricket. However, he may be due for a much-needed resurgence after a stunning knock in Pakistan on Sunday.
Dunk smashed a tournament record 12 sixes and powered the Lahore Qalandars to an eight-wicket victory over Karachi Kings on Sunday.
The Australian cashed in on an early dropped catch to bludgeon an unbeaten 99 off 40 balls that also featured three fours as Lahore reached their target of 188 with five balls to spare.
Former Australian cricketer Dean Jones labelled it “one of the greatest knocks in PSL history”.
Ben Dunk was phenomenal today. Congrats Lahoris! ?#KKvLQ
Find someone who can change your life just like Ben Dunk changed Lahore Qalandars fortune. #Cricket #PSL
Has to be right up there with one of the best innings of the HBLPSL! #bendunk #LQvsKK
Four days earlier, Dunk plundered 93 off 43 against the Quetta Gladiators, signalling a remarkable return to form.
“I am just really happy and blessed that I have been given an opportunity to play in the PSL. There are so many people and cricketers who want to play in this tournament both locally and around the world,” Dunk said.
“This is one of the top leagues in the world. The standard of the PSL is very high and every team you come across is full of world-class players. Just to get any win in this tournament you have to play really good cricket.”
Karachi’s Alex Hales also profited from an early let-off to score 80 not out and Chadwick Walton made 45 off 20 balls in what had appeared to be a competitive 5/187 after hosts Lahore won the toss and opted to field.
Dunk had smashed 10 sixes in Lahore’s victory over the Gladiators before raising his own PSL record by hitting two more on Sunday. He has struck more maximums this week than he did in the last three BBL seasons combined.
MOST SIXES IN A PSL INNINGS
Ben Dunk — 12 (2020)
Ben Dunk — 10 (2020)
Umar Akmal — 8 (2016)
Sharjeel Khan — 8 (2016)
Kevin Pietersen — 8 (2017)
Kamran Akmal — 8 (2018)
Colin Ingram — 8 (2019)
Ben Dunk cracked 22 sixes for the Lahore Qalandars this week.Source:AP
The Queenslander brought about Lahore's third win by hoisting Cameron Delport over the long-off boundary for his 12th six.
He was ably supported by captain Sohail Akhtar, who scored 68 not out off 46 balls, but the skipper took the back seat in an unbeaten 140-run partnership off 65 deliveries with left-hander Dunk.
The Stars batsman provided an opportunity when he was on 11, but substitute fielder Mohammad Rizwan missed a regulation catch at deep mid-wicket. Dunk went on to punish the two left arm spinners — captain Imad Wasim (0/40) and Umer Khan (1/37). Imad also dropped a hard catch off his own bowling, but by then Dunk had reached 69 and taken the game away from Karachi.
Most SIXES in a single edition of PSL
28 Kamran Akmal in 2018 (13 inns)
26 Asif Ali in 2019 (11 inns)
24 Luke Ronchi in 2018 (11 inns)
23 BEN DUNK in 2020 (5 inns)*
23 Kieron Pollard in 2019 (13 inns)#LQvKK #PSLV2020
The resounding victory lifted Lahore from the bottom of the table with six points and is still in with a chance of qualifying for the playoffs with three games in hand.
Dunk played five T20 matches for Australia after making his international debut in 2014.
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