Ricky Ponting slams Adam Zampa for dropped catch, Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder, Big Bash finals, cricket, video
Feeling the heat again after a narrow loss to the Sydney Thunder on Wednesday, the Melbourne Stars ensured they would end the Big Bash season with the wooden spoon.
After the Hurricanes upset Brisbane earlier in the day to move into fifth place, the Thunder needed to beat the Stars in the final game of the regular season to finish in the top five and make the Finals.
And holding the Stars to a paltry 7/119, it looked like they had booked their spot in the final.
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Instead, they dropped to 5/60 in the 12th left to turn a seemingly easy chase into a nail-biting task.
When Ben Cutting was knocked out by Luke Wood in the 15th over, the visitors fell to 6/80 and their fate seemed sealed five balls later as Chris Green drove Nathan Coulter-Nile to the short fine leg where Adam Zampa waited beneath.
However, the Stars captain dropped an absolute babysitter to give Green a life to one instead of taking Sydney down to 7/85.
“Oh wow,” said Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket.
“That’s not the feeling Adam Zampa would have wanted. That just went straight. “It didn’t hit, it didn’t bounce back, it didn’t clip the edge of the fingers. That is extraordinary.”
Ricky Ponting, head of strategy for the Hobart Hurricanes — who needed the Stars to win for the Hurricanes to make it to the Finals — was more scathing for Zampa, arguing that it never looked like he would take the catch.
“You know what? I was going to call that,” Ponting said on Channel 7.
“As soon as it went up in the air, I would call that. It is unbelievable how many catches Adam Zampa puts down. It doesn’t get any easier. That is an absolute babysitter.
“That’s the fourth catch Adam Zampa puts up in this tournament. I also remember quite a few in green and gold. In the T20 World Cup, a few went down.
“I understand this is the worst feeling in the game. No one wants to put them down. But if you look at the best teams in the comp, the Sixers and the Scorchers, they don’t put that many.”
Coulter-Nile was dirty on the drop catch, and Daniel Sams compounded his injury when he broke a pair of fours and a six in the next six balls to propel the Thunder to 6-104 in the 17th over.
Zampa bowled Sams for 28 (from 18 balls), meaning Sydney needed 16 from 21 for the win with three wickets in hand, and Green (six not out) and Nathan McAndrew (12 not out) led the Thunder to 7 -120 to put the Hurricanes back outside the top five in death.
The loss ended another disappointing Big Bash season for the Stars, which did nothing to diminish their reputation as the competition’s notorious underachievers.
The Stars and the Hobart Hurricanes are the only two teams to win another Big Bash title.
The Stars have lost the three Grand Finals they have contested and are now going back to the drawing board after claiming the wooden spoon with just three wins this season.
The result means the Thunder have finished the season in fourth place and will host Brisbane in the ‘Eliminator’ Final on Friday night, the winner of which will face the Melbourne Renegades in the ‘Knockout’ Final at Marvel Stadium on Sunday night.
Top teams Perth and the Sydney Sixers take on each other in the ‘Qualifier’ final at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
BBL|12 FINAL FIXTURES
Friday January 27, The Eliminator: Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane Heat
Saturday, January 28, qualifying: Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers
Sunday, January 29, The Knockout: Melbourne Renegades vs winner of the Eliminator
Thursday, February 2, The Challenger: Loser of The Qualifier vs winner of The Knockout
Saturday, February 4, The Final: Winner of The Qualifier vs winner of The Challenger
— With NCA NewsWire