Stars too hot for the Scorchers
The Stars have aligned again to defeat the Scorchers at the Furnace in Perth this evening by seven wickets.
The Melbourne-based franchise notched up a hat-trick of victories over their semi-final rivals from the West with another dominant performance to move to the top of the Big Bash League ladder with only a handful of preliminary matches remaining.
On a barmy evening, and in front of a new venue record attendance for any Big Bash match played so far in Perth, the Stars sent a cold chill through the Scorchers, restricting them to 7-134 off their 20 overs.
They then backed it up with controlled batting to reach the 135-run target in the 18th over only three down.
Michael Beer was named player of the match, he spun a web over the Scorchers top-order with 2-12 including 16 dot balls off four overs.
The Scorchers will rue their missed chances in the field, dropping Kevin Pietersen twice before he took charge with an unbeaten 44. His fourth wicket partner Marcus Stoinis meanwhile survived a reviewed catch appeal in the 15th over on his way to 40 not out.
Rob Quiney provided the kick start for the run chase with a valuable 35 off 23 balls, casually hitting five fours’ to guide the Stars past fifty in the seventh over before he sliced a mid-wicket drive attempt to Shaun Marsh.
Peter Handcomb tried to get amongst the big hits though clipped a short ball from Jhye Richardson to Ashton Turner at mid-wicket in the 12th over.
Pietersen and Stoinis though maintained the required rate over the next six overs to reach the target without much fuss.
Mitchell Johnson had his usual fiery pace though was slightly wayward, going wicket-less tonight, while youngster Richardson collected a double and shared those spoils with English import Tim Bresnan who picked up Quiney’s wicket.
Earlier, the Perth Scorchers won the toss and elected to batting first though were soon regretting that decision with four wickets falling in as many overs.
Klinger moved swiftly to the 1500 Big Bash career runs milestone before he was bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus in the second over.
It seemed to trigger a collapse with a further three quick wickets falling. Ian Bell and Cameron Bancroft both came and went without scoring then Marsh fell for eight after surviving a caught behind appeal.
When Hilton Cartwright glided through to keeper Handscomb it appeared a new record Big Bash low total may have been acquired by the Scorchers.
From a precarious 5-34 in the eighth over, Turner and AJ Tye (42 off 33 balls) provided some resistance to briefly guide their team back into the contest with a handy 44-run sixth wicket stand.
With nothing to lose towards the end of the allotted 20 overs, Ashton Agar took on the bowlers with unconventional batting technics including a ramp shot attempt in the 18th over that flew off the outside edge to the third man rope.
Agar and Bresnan notched up a Scorchers eight-wicket partnership record off the final 34 balls.
Their unbeaten 51-run stand surpassed the previous best of 36 by Mitch Marsh and Nathan Rimmington which was set way back in Big Bash League season one against the Hobart Hurricanes.
The Melbourne Stars return home for a top of the table showdown with fellow minor-premiership contenders the Brisbane Heat at the MCG on Tuesday evening, while the Perth Scorchers travel to Hobart for what looms as a decisive finals qualifying clash next Saturday afternoon.
2016/17 Big Bash League – Match 26:
Perth Scorchers 7-134 (20 overs)
Tye 42, Agar 29no, Bresnan 20no, Beer 2-12, Hilfenhaus 2-15
Melbourne Stars 3-137 (17.2 overs)
Pietersen 44no, Stoinis 40no, Quiney 35, Richardson 2-26, Bresnan 1-23
Match Result: Melbourne Stars won by 7 wickets
Player of the Match: Michael Beer (Stars)
Toss: Perth Scorchers, batted first
Umpires: G Joshua, D Mealey
Match Referee: S Bernard
Venue: WACA Ground, Perth
Crowd: 21,171 (new venue record).
Perth Scorchers: Michael Klinger (c), Shaun Marsh, Ian Bell, Cameron Bancroft (wk), Ashton Turner, Hilton Cartwright, Ashton Agar, Tim Bresnan, Jhye Richardson, Mitch Johnson, Andrew Tye.
Melbourne Stars: Rob Quiney, Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen, Peter Handscomb (wk), Marcus Stoinis, David Hussey (c), Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Scott Boland, Michael Beer, Cameron Gannon.