Brisbane Heat vs Perth Scorchers
Brisbane Heat 191-6 (Cutting 46, Lynn 39, Burns 36, McCullum 32, Willey 40-2) def Perth Scorchers 142 (Agar 31, Willey 25, Doggett 35-5, Steketee 28-3) by 49 runs at the Gabba
All through this season, the Perth Scorchers have dug themselves out of holes, and have won from all kinds of positions. They haven’t looked perfect, but they have always done just enough to come through with the win. This time, however, things were different. The Brisbane Heat got off to a flying start, and the Scorchers’ usually dependable bowling attack had no answer as they were belted to all areas of the Gabba and never got themselves back in the game. The Heat were just too good, as the Scorchers winning run was ended in the most emphatic way possible.
The Heat seized the early initiative, with Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum finding their destructive best. Lynn’s innings alternated between streaky and destructive, with edges through the slips and fine leg combining with some breathtaking displays of raw power. Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye were flayed through the covers, and David Willey was slapped contemptuously back over his head. When McCullum began to join in the act, the Heat’s tally had reached 0/57 off 5 overs and the Scorchers looked as if they would be blown away. Then they recovered. Willey started it by removing Lynn, who had always looked like the danger man. He was cramped for room and could only hit the ball straight up as Michael Klinger took a tumbling catch. Balls later, McCullum was nearly dismissed too, as second-gamer Tim David dropped a relatively straightforward catch on the boundary. It could have been costly, but it wasn’t.
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Powerful: Ben Cutting hits the ball onto the leg-side during his brutal 46.
Ashton Agar and Joel Paris brought about the Heat’s middle overs struggles. Neither McCullum nor Sam Heazlett could get the ball to the fence, and soon both were gone. Heazlett was the first to succumb, picking out David on the edge of the ridiculously short boundary on one side of the ground, and McCullum chipped one to cover the next over. When Alex Ross, so often the reassuring presence for the Heat this season, was bowled by a ripping Richardson yorker, the Scorchers appeared to have turned things around completely. Then the short boundary came into play. Joe Burns did what few others have and launched the dangerous Tye over the rope three times in an over, and plundered the tournament’s leading wicket-taker for 23 off six balls. Then Ben Cutting got in on the act.
Cutting had arrived at the crease with the Heat in a bit of trouble following the dismissal of Alex Ross, and looked to have ended his stay at the crease before it had begun when he top edged a sweep shot off Agar. Tye looked slightly lackadaisical as he ran in to take the catch and slid forwards in an attempt to take it, and it went to ground. It was a costly miss, but Cutting still hadn’t got going as Burns launched his assault at the other end. Then Paris came on, with the short boundary on the leg-side. Two full tosses were dispatched, along with a half-volley, and Cutting never looked back. When Richardson served up a full toss on his hip, it was helped on its way, and in the last over Willey was belted to the long boundary as Cutting flew to 46 off just 19 balls. He was out the next ball, but his big-hitting had carried the Heat to a total of 6/191 which looked too big for the Scorchers.
The Scorchers never had the firepower to finish off the chase. Michael Klinger hit some nice shots, but had no support from the out-of-sorts Willey and was dismissed as he slashed hard at Mark Steketee but lost his shape. Hilton Cartwright was gone for a golden duck, edging a length ball to a diving Burns at slip. Ashton Turner negotiated the hat-trick ball and Willey closed out the over with an ugly slash for three, but the Scorchers already looked out of the contest. They were an unconvincing 2/38 when the PowerPlay closed, as the Heat tightened the screws.
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Game over: Ashton Turner makes the long walk back after being dismissed by Brendan Doggett.
Willey’s innings lasted a long time but never really got out of first gear. He could barely score singles as the innings started, and it didn’t improve even when he helped a short leg-side ball from Brendan Doggett to the boundary. He was only going at a run a ball after depositing Yasir Shah over his head for six, and was out the next over, his occupation ending as he hit Mitchell Swepson straight to Burns. Any hopes of a flurry of boundaries from the hard-hitting Englishman evaporated, and after his departure the Scorchers didn’t look a chance. Turner played a ramp shot for four and was dismissed the next ball, chipping a catch to Swepson. It was over.
Agar started to give the Scorchers a faint hope as he carted Swepson for a pair of sixes. Then Voges was dismissed, hitting the ball too flat and picking out the man on the rope. Agar swung hard, but his efforts were futile as he found deep mid-wicket, and with his dismissal the Scorchers’ hopes of a Lazarus-style comeback were finally extinguished. Doggett removed Josh Inglis, David, Tye and Paris late to collect five wickets for the match, but his haul was merely a postscript to a game which was meandering to its inevitable conclusion. The final margin of 49 runs reflected the gap between the sides perfectly, as the Scorchers’ aura of invincibility was shattered by a match in which they were outbatted, outbowled and outfielded by a better side. The Heat go top of the table, with the caveat of more games played than their competition, and are starting to look like a force to be reckoned with.
1. Ben Cutting (Brisbane Heat)
Cutting was in excellent touch with the bat, playing himself in before exploding in the closing overs to take the Heat to an unassailable total. He hit the ball with tremendous power through mid-wicket, and showed good maturity to play himself in with his side under pressure. His bowling was far from spectacular, but he showed enough consistency to justify his selection as the fifth bowler.
2. Brendan Doggett (Brisbane Heat)
Doggett capitalised as the game finished with a flurry of wickets and boundaries, bowling a consistent line and length and removing four batsmen late as they looked to go for the slog. His wicket of Turner came just as he was looking to get a move on, and all but ended the Scorchers’ chances. Put in an extraordinary effort in the field.
3. Chris Lynn (Brisbane Heat)
Lynn found his dominant best in a big way to get the Heat off to a flying start, and looks perfectly at home opening the innings. He showed brutal power straight and through the covers, and his rapid start after receiving a bit of early luck put the Scorchers on the back foot. His efforts ensured the Heat will be sorry to lose him to international duty so soon after his return.
4. Ashton Agar (Perth Scorchers)
Agar returned from his brief stay with the Test squad to deliver an all-round performance of excellent quality, bowling in the right areas to halt the Heat’s early momentum and top-scoring for his side with a well made 31. He hit the ball nicely throughout, and his calmness under pressure with both bat and ball was a rare highlight for the Scorchers.
5. Mark Steketee (Brisbane Heat)
Steketee finished with three massive wickets after an excellent bowling performance. His dismissals of Klinger and Cartwright drove a wedge through the Scorchers’ top order, and he removed Agar just as he looked to get going to cap off a great bowling performance. He found pace, consistency and some nice bounce, and has stepped up to lead the pace attack well.