Perth Scorchers steal history in SCG epic against Sixers

The Perth Scorchers recorded their fourth win of the KFC Big Bash League season to consolidate second spot on the table, seizing a historic victory over the Sydney Sixers at the SCG in Australian domestic Twenty20’s first super over finish.

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It was yet another tremendous nailbiting win from Perth, which lost two wickets for no runs in the first over of the match, having won the toss and elected to bat.

Skipper Simon Katich (71 from 56 balls) combined with tyro Sam Whiteman (53 from 49) to rebuild the Scorchers’ innings and the two helped their side to a defensible 5-153.

The Sixers struck back - led superbly by Test returnee Steven Smith (65 off 48) - and tied the game with a scurried single off the final ball, not only resulting in a historic super over, but also meaning Perth made history for a second time in the night in defending the lowest total set on the SCG.

The super over had each side select three batsmen - two dismissals immediately ends an innings - and one bowler, with the Sixers’ Smith and Moises Henriques heading to the middle first.

Scorchers import Yasir Arafat, who took 4-24 through regular over play, struck immediately, knocking over Smith’s leg stump as the batsman attempted to ramp the delivery over Whiteman.

Nic Maddinson then entered and made a single, before Henriques sliced to Craig Simmons at backwards point, ending Sydney’s stand at three balls for just one run.

The clutch bowling by Arafat earned him Man of the Match – his second for the season – and was immediately backed up by the bat of Adam Voges, who whipped a shot through mid-wicket for four off Brett Lee’s first ball to secure the win.

Arafat could not hide his excitement following his over, but after dropping Smith at fine leg when the batsman was on 27, said it was a performance he felt he needed to deliver.

“It was a great over, getting two wickets from the first four balls and it was good for us to be in the game,” Arafat said. “But, if I took the catch earlier, the game would have been finished earlier.

“It’s lucky I got him (Smith) twice in the match, so it’s good.”

The Sixers headed to the crease for their innings having been set 154 for victory.

???????????????????????????It took powerplay specialist Jason Behrendorff little time to strike, dismissing dangerous opener Stephen O’Keefe for just 10 in the second over. The dismissal had the Sixers sitting at 1-15, still in a far better position than Perth at the same stage, yet facing one of the best performing bowling attacks in the competition.

The Scorchers showed that the next over, as import paceman Arafat struck for the second wicket, with opener Maddinson gone for eight, caught by Voges at first slip.

It was a well toiled over, but it was Behrendorff who continued to haunt the Sixers, as the 23-year-old took his second scalp with Henriques departing for a duck, before making it consecutive wickets with the dismissal of state teammate Marcus North for another nil score.

It had Behrendorff’s figures sitting at a remarkable 3-5 after just eight balls and he ended with numbers of 3-21, with a tournament record-equalling 17 dot balls, from his four overs.

Smith headed to the crease and always loomed as the danger man, earning the reputation as he dug in with Jordan Silk for a 55-run partnership, before the latter chipped a soft return to Voges to be caught-and-bowled for 23. The wicket returned ascendency to the Scorchers, but the trouble was still Smith and Perth had its chance to dismiss the batsmen when he was dropped by Arafat at fine leg for 27.

Smith continued on to make his 50 from 39 balls and built another partnership alongside Dan Smith, but that duo ended when the wicketkeeper was caught for 12 with an attempted reverse sweep off Brad Hogg.

Arafat had his chance for redemption in the 18th over and took it, snaring Smith with a slower ball that carried off the toe of the bat to Voges at backwards point. The courageous batsman exited for a well-struck 65 and his team at 6-122 at 15 balls remaining, with the game appearing to finally swing definitively in favour of one team.

But as quickly as fortunes move one way in Twenty20 cricket, they swing another, and as Arafat took the ball for the final over, the Sixers completed a well-executed fightback and took every run they could to tie the game and force the first super over of Australian domestic Twenty20.

The ball then fell to Arafat, who bowled his most important over for the Scorchers yet, taking two wickets for one run, including the dismissal again of Steven Smith, first ball, before having Henriques caught at backwards point.

Perth Scorchers logoHistory then came off the bat of Voges.

It was only a little more than three hours, but what felt like a lifetime since a 143km/h, full, straight delivery from Lee’s second ball of the match got through Simmons’ defence to leave the Scorchers 1-0 and, two balls later, Marsh departed after scooping a loose shot to wicketkeeper Daniel Smith in a double wicket maiden to open the game.

Katich immediately set about rebuilding his side and led from the front with three boundaries in Josh Hazlewood’s subsequent over, finally finding a lasting partner in Sam Whiteman.

The pair combined for a much needed partnership that built to 2-61 at the halfway mark, as Whiteman played some risky, but much-needed shots.

The move to spin through the middle overs by the Sixers was a nice fit for Whiteman, particularly, and the duo wielded away to build to the team ton in the 16th. It was a tally below what the Scorchers would have liked, but one well beyond what it could have been given the innings’ start.

Whiteman brought up his half-ton off 48 balls with a six over point that was dropped over the boundary by Stephen O’Keefe, but the celebrations were short lived for the youngster, as a full and straight Lee delivery bounced off Whiteman’s back leg to take out middle and off stump.

A few balls later, his partner in crime and captain Katich was dismissed, gone for another skipper’s knock of 71 as he sent a bottom edge through to the keeper off the bowling of Hazlewood, before the team pushed on to 5-153.

James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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