Adam Voges and Cameron Bancroft strung together a revitalising fifth-wicket partnership to deliver the Perth Scorchers a last-over win, and the top spot on the BBL table
Perth Scorchers 6 for 141 (Voges 56*, Bancroft 49, Rashid Khan 3-20) beat Adelaide Strikers 6 for 137 (Weatherald 56, Carey 25, Richardson 2-23) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In the last-ever BBL game at the WACA, the Perth Scorchers ran down a small total to clinch a win over the Adelaide Strikers in the last over. It was a predictable, yet fitting finale to a ground that has served them so well.
The nervy win secured the Scorchers the top spot on the BBL table. They have already booked a home semi-final at the brand new 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium, just across the Swan River. Should they win that match, they will host the final courtesy of this victory.
The Strikers paid a price for tinkering with their line-up. They limped to 6 for 137 on a great batting surface. The Scorchers bowled exceptionally well, as they always do, but the decision to bat Alex Carey at No. 6 to promote Jono Dean will be questioned should the Strikers be forced to travel for the final. They also opted to rest the in-form Peter Siddle eight days away from the semifinal.
Billy Stanlake and Rashid Khan pulled the Strikers back into the game with four quick wickets in the chase, but Adam Voges and Cameron Bancroft steadied the ship. The Scorchers captain finished with a calm and calculated unbeaten half-century to guide his side home with three balls to spare.
Carey won’t play in the Strikers semi-final due to international T20 duty. The Strikers management elected not to open with him in order to prepare for the semifinal with a new opening combination of Jake Weatherald and Jono Dean. So the second-highest run-scorer in BBL 2017-18 http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?id=11935;type=tournament sat for 15.5 overs while the Scorchers strangled the Strikers. Weatherald made an excellent 56 off 43 balls, but his last 44 runs came from 41 balls. Dean, Colin Ingram and Jonathan Wells scored 27 runs from 46 balls. Mitchell Johnson bowled 12 dot balls in his first three overs and conceded just eight runs. Ashton Agar bowled six dot balls in three overs, conceding just 17, before Weatherald taxed him for a six and a four in his last. Carey made a mockery of his batting position, scoring 25 off 10 balls before a Richardson missile got through him. Richardson had two in two when he castled Michael Neser in the same manner next ball.
Another pacer off the Scorchers production line
The Scorchers lost Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff pre-tournament to injury, and then lost Andrew Tye and David Willey to international duties during the tournament. Matthew Kelly had only made his first-class debut this summer, and the extent of his T20 experience had been restricted to club cricket. But since being called into the Scorchers line-up, he has bowled superbly. He picked up two key wickets tonight, including Weatherald in the 16th over. With Weatherald on a roll, he delivered two dots in a row by executing a yorker, which was dug out, and beating the outside edge with angle and seam movement. He then bowled him next ball with another cracking yorker. Kelly showed great skill execution in his four overs, and Voges trusted him with the new ball and at the slog. He has seven wickets in four games with an economy rate of 6.6.
Stanlake terrifies, Rashid mesmerises
If the Scorchers have a weakness, it is their Powerplay batting, and the Strikers exploited it. They got lucky with the dismissal of Sam Whiteman, who picked out short fine leg from a rank half volley down the leg side. But Stanlake and Rashid were superb again. Stanlake’s terrifying pace and bounce forced a miscue from Michael Klinger. Ingram cleverly turned to his trump card, Rashid, in the Powerplay, and he was mesmerising. He forced a panicked shot from Hilton Cartwright, having already bowled two dots to him in the over. He then delivered a dazzling wrong ‘un to Ashton Turner first ball that trapped him lbw. It zipped and spun so far that Hawkeye revealed it was missing leg stump, but the umpire gave it out on first sight. The Scorchers were 4 for 28 after five overs.
Old dog, old tricks
Voges is the man for a crisis. His extraordinary record across formats speaks for itself. Four times in his innings, he faced consecutive dot balls. Two of his teammates had already fallen trying to make up for two dots with boundary strokes. Voges remained calm, continuing to find a way to keep his own strike-rate above 100 and not let the required rate go beyond 7.5. He had an excellent ally in Bancroft, who has now made 193 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of 133 since returning from Test duty. He fell one run short of a third half-century, also undone by a superb wrong ‘un from Rashid. But the 77-run partnership had got the equation to 33 off 26 balls. They had forced Stanlake and Rashid to bowl out, leaving the inexperienced Wes Agar, playing in place of Siddle, to bowl at least one over in the last four. Voges twice found the boundary in that over, taking 12 runs from it to leave 14 needed from the last two overs. Ben Laughlin bowled an exceptional penultimate over to give Neser nine runs to defend. But Voges hit the first ball for six, allowing Tim Bresnan to hit the winning runs with an uppercut for six over third man.