The Perth Scorchers have completed a monumental turnaround to be anointed the undisputed kings of the Big Bash League and Test man Jhye Richardson literally bled for the cause.
The Scorchers thumped the Sydney Sixers by 79 runs in the final at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, Richardson suffering a bloodied nose in the raucous celebrations after he removed Stephen O’Keefe LBW to seal the win.
“I was busy appealing and Munners (Colin Munro) came in from square leg and got his shoulder into my nose,” Richardson said on Fox Cricket, post-match.
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With the Docklands venue’s roof keeping the Melbourne rain at bay, and preventing a washed-out tournament decider, the Sixers won the toss and bowled first.
And it looked like an inspired decision initially when Perth found themselves in a particularly grim situation after six overs, crashing to 4-25.
But Laurie Evans (76 not out off 41 balls) and captain Ashton Turner (54 off 35) spearheaded a remarkable recovery effort to get the Scorchers’ innings back on track.
Undeterred by the dire situation their team found themselves in, the pair aggressively took on the Sixers’ bowling attack, and the tactic paid off handsomely.
They combined for a 104-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help Perth reach 6-171, hitting eight fours between them while Evans smashed four sixes in a spectacular knock.
And the Perth bowling attack ensured their efforts weren’t in vain, producing a superb performance, only allowing the Sixers three boundaries in the first 10 overs after Jhye Richardson (2-20 from three overs) and Jason Behrendorff (1-12 from two) restricted them to just 1-26 in their power play.
AJ Tye (3-15 from three), who found himself on a hat-trick, Ashton Turner (1-6 from one), Peter Hatzoglou (1-13 from three) and Ashton Agar (1-25 from four) were also instrumental in applying the brakes, as Sydney finished up with only four fours and one six on the way to 92 – the lowest score in BBL final history – to deliver Perth their first title in five years.
The result saw Perth pull clear of the Sixers (three) as the competition’s most successful club with four titles, triumphing in the fifth meeting in a final between these two heavyweight clubs, and tipping the ledger in their favour 3-2.
In beating the Sixers for the fourth time this summer in as many games, the Scorchers eliminated any doubt about who was this season’s best team, and the achievement is even more commendable considering they only played one game in Perth for the entire campaign, having remained on the road since December 8.
The Scorchers also prevented the Sixers from becoming the first team to win a hat-trick of BBL titles, ensuring Victoria (2006-08) remain the only team to achieve that feat at Australian domestic T20 level after they did it when the Big Bash was a state-based competition.
PERTH PULL IT OUT OF THE FIRE
Perth’s recovery was all the more remarkable considering Sydney’s Sean Abbott (0-27 from four), Jackson Bird (1-6 from one) and Hayden Kerr (1-20 from three) restricted them to their worst power play of the season (1-14). Nathan Lyon (2-24 from three) then put the Scorchers in a really tough spot when he dismissed danger man Mitch Marsh (five) and Colin Munro (one) in the space of six balls.
BBL2021-220601: The wicket of Sydney Sixers player Dan Christian.
PATTERSON PLUCKS A PEARLER
With the Sixers’ in limbo at 3-62 in the 10th over, Perth’s Kurtis Patterson delivered the knockout blow when he took a spectacular two-handed catch diving forward at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Dan Christian (three) pulling Tye. Three overs later, Sydney’s fate was sealed when they slumped to 6-77 after Daniel Hughes, who was hampered by an ankle injury, was run out for 42 by Marsh, failing to scamper through for a single he ordinarily would’ve made if he was fully fit. The Sixers plunged to 8-77 when Tye dismissed Abbott and Ben Dwarshuis in consecutive balls.
Big Bash: An insane start to the Big Bash final has seen the Sydney Sixers take control. However, an easy dropped catch would give the Perth Scorchers a lifeline.
ABBOTT DROPS A SITTER
At the start of the fourth over in Perth’s innings, Inglis received a life on 12 when he charged down the pitch and mistimed a drive, lobbing a dolly up to mid-off where Abbott dropped one of the biggest sitters you’d ever wish to see, depriving Kerr a wicket with his first ball. It was hard to believe that Abbott was the same guy who took the ‘Superman’ catch-of-the-year contender a month ago against Brisbane. Luckily for Abbott, six balls later Steve O’Keefe had Inglis stumped for 13 by Jay Lenton.