Perth are the kings of the Big Bash once again after claiming an unprecedented fourth title, ending Sydney Sixers’ two-year reign with a record 79-run thrashing at Marvel Stadium.
The Scorchers recovered from a horror start to post 6-171 thanks to a 101-run stand from English import Laurie Evans (76 not out off 41) and milestone man Ashton Turner (54 off 35), who came to the crease at 4-25.
Both showed positive intent and calmness from the get-go under immense pressure on their way to half-centuries during a game-changing partnership in 59 balls, with player of the final Evans continuing on to post the best and most important knock of his debut BBL campaign.
The 34-year-old T20 journeyman, who was no certainty to play as coach Adam Voges considered allrounder Aaron Hardie as an extra bowling option to cover for hamstrung Mitch Marsh lining up as a batter only, said his attitude was to “go down swinging” and felt his experience batting all through the top six helped.
“This game is about scoring runs and I guess it was just trying to find a way to score runs in the circumstance and the situation,” Evans said.
“It’s a do-or-die game so you come out and you try to go down swinging if you can and I tried to add a little bit of experience and skill and tried to put that all together into an innings.
“I’m just lucky it went my way today.”
In reply, the depleted Sixers were rolled for 92 in the largest ever grand final result in BBL, with the run chase failing to reach the blockbuster heights of their previous four deciders which were split at two apiece.
Assistant coach Jay Lenton took the gloves, local replacement player Nick Bertus opened the batting and captain Moises Henriques was one of four players carrying injuries for the depleted Sydneysiders who were $3.60 outsiders with the bookies pre-match and ended up living up to that.
The Scorchers dealt with serious adversity of their own, being away from home for 50 days and 15 consecutive matches because of WA’s strict borders, with a third of their squad getting COVID at some point in the tournament.
It completed only the second BBL/WBBL double in history and first since Sydney Thunder did it in 2015-16.
“It’s quite surreal at the moment,” Turner said.
“I think that any captain would stand up here from all eight teams and could talk about adversity and obstacles that we’ve had to overcome to get to the end of this tournament and we feel no different.
“We’re very fortunate that all of the teams have been so competitive this year, everyone has made so many sacrifices from the sponsors to the players to the families.
“The Sydney Sixers have been the best side for the last couple of years, you’ve taught us how to play in a lot of respects on wickets like this and they’ve deserved all of their success.”
Dan Hughes (42 off 33) played a lone hand with the bat for the Sixers, anchoring the innings gallantly while battling a pre-existing ankle issue which kept him out of the last two games.
That same ankle saw him unable to make his ground for a quick single called by his partner Sean Abbott.
When Scorchers all-time leading wicket-taker Andrew Tye (3-15 off three) had Abbott (1) and Ben Dwarshuis (0) in consecutive deliveries next over, it was game 8-77 and game over.
Speedster Jhye Richardson (2-20 off 3.2) delivered the knock-out punch, trapping veteran Steve O’Keefe LBW in what’s likely to be his final BBL match, before getting a blood nose himself during the wicket celebration.
A serious boilover looked on the cards early when the star-studded Scorchers’ top-four – Kurtis Patterson (1), Marsh (5) and Colin Munro (1) and Josh Inglis (13) – all went cheaply in the first six overs including just 14 runs coming off a shaky power play.
Marsh (5 off 10) looked uncharacteristically circumspect, taking nine balls to get off the mark before belting O’Keefe to the mid-wicket boundary, but was out first delivery of Nathan Lyon’s (2-24 off three) spell to start the sixth.
Then came the heroics of Turner, in his 100th BBL appearance, and Evans.
Evans hit four sixes, including two stunning shots over the cover fence, and as many fours, despite still carrying a broken toe sustained in the penultimate regular-season match.
“AT and I have formed a really good relationship, we love batting together,” Evans said.
“I love playing for him and we trade off pretty well, he likes to hit as straight as possible and I like to hit square if I can and straight at the end.”
Turner’s contribution didn’t end with the bat, with several astute captaincy moves in the field, including bringing himself on straight after the power play and breaking a dangerous second-wicket stand between Nick Bertus (15) and Hughes.