Just as powerful Sydney Sixers opener Josh Phillippe and new partner Justin Avendano looked to take control of Sunday’s BBL clash with the Perth Scorchers, Ashton Agar’s brilliance spun the contest entirely.
The duo had simply cruised to 0-56 off seven overs but the Sixers ended the next one at 2-59, after the left-arm spinner produced two classy deliveries to dismiss both openers.
First he drew a leading edge from Phillippe and caught the ball himself, before spinning one past Avendano and knocking over his stumps.
Agar, who went on to finish with 2-23, was part of Australia’s T20 World Cup-winning squad but featured in just one game.
“It’s been nice to just get some consistent games in – obviously didn’t play much cricket throughout the World Cup, but to come into the Big Bash and play 11 games now it’s been awesome,” he said.
“It was nice to get on a wicket that had a little bit of grip out there. My first ball spun a bit, so you know around about that time how you’re going to go about your innings and fortunately things went my way.”
Agar’s brilliance combined with captain Ashton Turner’s thumping 69 helped the Scorchers win despite missing leading run-scorer Colin Munro and seamer Jason Behrendorff, with the former having COVID and the latter being deemed a close contact.
It allowed Turner to shift up the order to bat at four, along with a club debut for Chris Sabburg, who made seven not out off three balls and hit the winning runs to ensure Perth remain top of the BBL with a 9-2 record..
“We’ve been challenged throughout the tournament, we’ve had guys out through COVID, we’ve had guys out through injury here and then our depth has been tested,” Agar said.
“We’ve won some really tricky games and it was another one tonight.
“When we’ve had our really successful campaigns, we’ve won those close games and it’s looking like that this season. So fingers crossed, we can go all the way.”
Behrendorff along with all Scorchers’ players and staff members returned negative rapid COVID tests on Sunday morning.