Michael Lumb expects a “cracking game” when his Sydney Sixers meet defending champions Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League final in Canberra tomorrow.
In a repeat of the first Big Bash final, which Lumb missed after helping the Sixers reach the knockout phase, both clubs will be aiming for an unprecedented second title since the tournament was rebadged four seasons ago.
“I think it will be a well-fought battle. It will be two good teams competing in the final,” Lumb said.
“It should be a cracking game. Both sides have played a good brand of cricket and hopefully the Sixers will get over the line.”
Whichever way the result goes an England player, past or present, is set to play in a winning Big Bash final for the first time.
That is because Michael Carberry will be in action on the other side of the fence to Lumb, after his half-century in the semi-final win over Melbourne Stars helped send the Scorchers into a fourth successive final.
In what might be an omen for the Scorchers, Carberry has a perfect record in domestic Twenty20 finals in England, having helped Hampshire lift the 2010 and 2012 titles.
Lumb can, however, boast a winner’s medal from England’s success at the 2010 World Twenty20 and he is set to be joined at the top of the order by Notts Outlaws team-mate Riki Wessels.
Wessels survived one hairy moment in the semi-final in Adelaide – when a Kane Richardson bouncer lodged in the grille of his helmet – before he and Lumb kick-started the Sixers to an upset victory with a breezy opening stand.
It was specifically a sweet moment for the Nottinghamshire pair, in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 at the Adelaide Oval, after they had seen the Outlaws suffer heartbreaking home defeats in the domestic Twenty20 for the past four seasons.
With that unwanted record put to bed – coincidentally twice they fell at home to Hampshire and Carberry too – they will now have the 34-year-old left-hander in their sights in the Australian capital.
While that will ensure plenty of Nottinghamshire interest in the match, there are plenty of other English links too.
Scorchers skipper Adam Voges is set to lead Middlesex next season and could arrive at Lord’s with back-to-back Big Bash League titles under his belt after also leading Western Australia to the 50-over crown earlier this winter.
Scorchers seamer Yasir Arafat will return to England with Carberry for Hampshire in the summer while Michael Klinger, who captained Gloucestershire last season and is set to return again, is also set to open the batting for Perth.
The final will feature five of the top-six run-scorers in this season’s Big Bash League, with Lumb and Carberry among them.
Lumb has scored 262 runs at an average of 29.11 to be the fifth-most prolific batsman while Carberry, who has slowly become a fan favourite at the WACA Ground, is just five runs behind him with an average of 42.83.
Klinger is the equal leading run-scorer, alongside Melbourne Stars batsman Kevin Pietersen, with 293 runs apiece and it appears the stage is set for an English-linked batsman to take centre stage.
Whether that means Lumb or Carberry become the first England player to win the Big Bash – after Adil Rashid won it with South Australia before the tournament reverted to city-based franchises – remains to be seen and will provide a sub-plot to what looms as an entertaining decider.
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