Masterful Klinger guides Scorchers home

Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers
Sydney Sixers 167-4 (Silk 45*, Billings 33, Nevill 33, Maddinson 30, Willey 30-2) lost to Perth Scorchers 170-4 (Klinger 83, Turner 45, Sams 25-2) by 6 wickets at the WACA

Hilton Cartwright had just hit a pair of beautiful cover drives for four, as Steve O’Keefe pitched up and was whacked by virtue of lightning footwork and even faster hands. He needed to recover, and Cartwright, deprived of width, could only work the ball into the leg-side, straight to Johan Botha. Then Cartwright ran. He was sent back by Michael Klinger, who saw the dangers immediately, and was caught out by a long way as Peter Nevill whipped off the bails. The score was 2/17 after three overs, and the Scorchers, chasing 168, looked finished as Ashton Turner walked to the crease.

For the first time this season, the Scorchers had looked distinctly off colour. Mitchell Johnson was as tight as ever but didn’t have the penetration. Jhye Richardson, in presenting Nevill with a series of short, wide offerings, was not even tight. In their first three games, the Scorchers took a total of ten wickets in the PowerPlay. Here, they took one, as David Willey trapped Jason Roy lbw with a ball that pitched outside leg. For the first time in this tournament, the Sixers got off to a good start with the bat as Nic Maddinson and Nevill stroked the ball with ease. Nevill eventually departed to James Muirhead’s first ball, a wide half-volley which drew a poorly played slog and saw Daniel Hughes’ very late replacement stumped. Maddinson was a victim of a great catch from Andrew Tye, who threw it up after taking the ball, tripped on the rope and recouped it well, but he can have no complaints given the horribly played slog that was his downfall.

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Full flight: Jordan Silk hits another well-timed cover drive during his 45.

Sam Billings joined Jordan Silk and the pair ensured the innings had a big finish. They looked slightly below par even with some big hitting from Billings against the part-time spin of Adam Voges. They still looked below par as Silk was dropped by Cartwright, and when Tye outsmarted Billings to finish the eighteenth over on a high the Sixers looked to be in trouble. Then Ben Dwarshuis joined Silk, and a rapid finish ensued. Willey didn’t have the variety to bowl at the death, and Silk grabbed a pair of boundaries, before Dwarshuis, promoted for the mad dash at the end, hit Richardson for a towering six and a crushing four to set the Scorchers a big target.

With Cartwright’s dismissal following Willey’s failure as a pinch hitter, Klinger and Turner had a massive job to do. Turner was nearly run out early, but he recovered and soon both had found their touch. Klinger hit Dwarshuis for a pair of fours through the off-side, the second beating two diving fielders on its way to the fence. Roy, diving to his left, dropped a near impossible catch as Klinger drilled a cut shot, and Daniel Sams was subsequently hit for a big six over mid-wicket. Will Somerville, bowling canny off-spin to cover for an injury to O’Keefe, kept the runs down and nearly had Turner caught, as the Scorchers failed to make any real progress.

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Concentration: Michael Klinger hits to the off-side during his masterful 83.

Then Turner started to get a few away. Sean Abbott pitched too short and was dispatched over mid-wicket. Botha was hit for an effortless straight six. Abbott’s next over saw Klinger get one over the off side and Turner toe one through a vacant long-on for another four. Maddinson came on with an over of part time left-arm spin. It was a catastrophe, with a full toss hit for a straight six by Turner and the last ball drilled for four by Klinger. Then came the drop. It was Dwarshuis, who couldn’t have had it any easier as Turner took on Somerville and miscued badly. Turner was on 41, and sat on 44 by the end of the over, while Klinger raised an ominously comfortable half-century. The drop looked to be the big moment. It wasn’t. Turner only added four more run before skying one off Sams, this time finding the safe hands of Silk and bringing debutant Tim David to the crease. The Scorchers needed 11 an over, and now they needed something special.

It was Klinger who provided. One of Australian cricket’s most consistent performers, he stood up when he was needed, with David assisting him ably. The debutant hit his second ball for a graceful six over long-off, and when Klinger decided to match him with a powerful slog, the Scorchers sat in a solid position even when Dwarshuis delivered an excellent death over as the hosts failed to find the boundary. Then things happened very fast. Abbott lost his cool as Klinger hit him for a hat-trick of boundaries, before Sams recovered with a tight over and the wicket of Klinger, gone for 83. With 7 balls left, fifteen were required. It took two legitimate deliveries, with David hitting Sams for an incredible straight six before Abbott collapsed, five wides down the leg side removing all the pressure before Voges got a full toss away for six. The Sixers looked to have done enough, but the Scorchers were, as ever, just too good when it mattered.

Top 5
1. Michael Klinger (Perth Scorchers)
Klinger played a flawless innings of 83 to get the Scorchers over the line, using all of his experience and class and managing the game to perfection. He whittled the target down with a smattering of boundaries throughout the innings, and never lost his composure even when the Scorchers lost early wickets.
2. Ashton Turner (Perth Scorchers)
Turner salvaged the innings with his big-hitting, providing the Scorchers with the momentum they needed to complete the chase. He hit the ball beautifully to turn the game in the Scorchers’ favour, and despite benefitting from a fair slice of luck he looks to be a good option at number four.
3. Jordan Silk (Sydney Sixers)
Silk top scored with another excellent innings, hitting the ball around well at the end and finding plenty of timing and power. He finished just five runs shy of his half-century, and gave the Sixers a chance of setting an imposing target of 167. He is seeing the ball very well.
4. David Willey (Perth Scorchers)
Willey was the pick of the Scorchers’ bowlers, and despite an expensive last over he ensured they kept the target down with a pair of big wickets. He had a bit of luck with a favourable lbw decision, and couldn’t give anything with the bat, but his bowling at key points in the innings was dependable and kept the runs down well.
5. Daniel Sams (Sydney Sixers)
Sams was the pick of the Sixers’ bowlers, delivering when it mattered with the wickets of Turner and Klinger and an excellent penultimate over which gave them a chance. He is clearly the Sixers’ best death bowling option, and despite the odd bad ball he looks to be a good prospect for the future.

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