Cricket fans and commentators are rallying around Ben Dwarshuis after the Aussie star showed incredible courage to play and star for the Sydney Sixers on Friday night just days after the sudden death of his father. Dwarshuis took 3-36 as the Sixers kicked off their BBL campaign with an eight-run win over the Melbourne Renegades, continuing his brilliant form over the last few years.
Sixers players were wearing black arm bands during the game and got around Dwarshuis when he took his first wicket of the night. Channel 7 commentator and former NSW player Trent Copeland revealed to viewers that Dwarshuis' father had died just days prior to the match.
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Despite the devastating tragedy, which also came just days after Dwarshuis played for Australia in the T20 series against India, the left-armer felt his father would have wanted him to play. "Tragic news in the family this week, losing his father a couple of days ago," Copeland said. "Incredibly tough circumstances. You've come off a high playing for Australia. He's now out here, playing for his team, the Sixers. The boys are all wearing black armbands today.
"Tragic circumstances for one of the great people in Australian cricket. A good friend of mine and love seeing him out there taking some wickets so we're all feeling for you, Ben. I was at his wedding earlier this year, Ben and Courtney.
"He [father] was so full of life and energy. A tragic, sudden passing. His teammates get around him. I'm sure I speak for everyone watching tonight, we're all with you, Benny. Good on you, mate."
The commentary team later asked Sixers teammate Steve Smith how the side had gotten around Dwarshuis during the difficult time. "We're a close bunch here," Smith said. "Benny is going through a tough time, obviously. We're all feeling for him. It's showed real courage I guess coming out here tonight.
"He was keen to play. So credit to him for coming out. And we value him very much in change room. He's done incredibly well for a number of years now. Yeah, we're all feeling for him."
On Wednesday, Dwarshuis' sister revealed the tragic news in a post on Instagram. "We don’t have the words at the moment to express the grief and loss we are feeling," the caption read alongside photos of Dwatshuis' father and the family. "Our beloved, precious husband and Dad passed away suddenly yesterday. He was the sunshine in all our lives and we will be forever grateful for the joy he brought to us."
Ben Dwarshuis and Steve Smith star for Sydney Sixers
With the Renegades needing 22 runs from the final over for victory on Friday night, Dwarshuis stepped up and secured the win for the Sixers. The paceman bowled Tom Rogers with the first ball of the over, before conceding a six to all-rounder Will Sutherland that threatened to swing the momentum back to the Renegades.
But Sutherland (who made 51 not out) swung and missed at Dwarshuis' penultimate delivery of the game, sealing the win for the Sixers. The Renegades finished on 7-167 in reply to the Sixers' 6-175 and have not beaten the Sydney side in four years.
Smith earlier made 61 off 42 balls in his latest brilliant display as an opening batter. Picked in the BBL team of the tournament last year despite only playing five games, Smith continued where he left off as he got the Sixers away to a flying start.
"It's good to have your Australian players play whenever they can," Smith said. "It helps grow the tournament, I've always tried to come back every chance I've had."
Heartbreaking. 💔 all the love BD. 🙏🏽
— Trent Copeland (@copes9) December 6, 2023
Very brave and he did so well. No-one would’ve been surprised if Ben had chosen not to play tonight.
— Martin (@hammersaint) December 8, 2023
Emotional scenes as the @SixersBBL players get around Ben Dwarshuis after he takes a wicket.
The players are wearing black armbands after Ben's father passed away this week.
Our thoughts go out to Ben and his family. #BBL13 pic.twitter.com/4vKw7X5ZCO
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 8, 2023
Amazing resilience by Ben Dwarshuis to play tonight just a few days after he lost his father suddenly.
No way I could have played cricket back when the same thing happened to me.#BBL13
— Menners 🎙 (@amenners) December 8, 2023
T20 isn’t Steve Smith’s best format, but class prevails in BBL. Will Sutherland starts an important BBL for him in fine style. Player on the rise. Stiff not to be POTM. Hats off to Ben Dwarshuis for playing so well in his personal circumstances. #BBL13
— Andrew Wu (@wutube) December 8, 2023
It is wonderful to see Ben Dwarshuis bowling tonight for the Sixers after what would’ve been a very very difficult week 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #BBL13
— Hannah (@hclaire29) December 8, 2023
For his Dad😢
— Al Prior (@AlrantAl) December 8, 2023
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