Perth Scorchers rocketed back into Big Bash League finals contention by beating the Melbourne Renegades by 51 runs at the WACA Ground on Saturday night.
The Scorchers have won three straight games since losing the opening two matches at home to have a 3-2 record while the Renegades have lost for the first time after winning their first four matches.
Renegades captain Aaron Finch won the toss and the Scorchers posted a league-best total of 3-187 thanks to 56 runs from 39 balls by South African import Herschelle Gibbs, 85 from 52 by Shaun Marsh and 40 from 27 by Adam Voges.
Bowling for the Renegades Muttiah Muralitharan returned 0-29 from his four overs while Will Sheridan had 1-22.
Needing to chase down the biggest score of the season the previously unbeaten Renegades stumbled to 3-24 with Finch out for eight, Marlon Samuels a first ball duck and Daniel Harris seven.
Ben Rohrer did his best to resurrect the innings with a tremendous 52 from 33 balls but, once he fell caught behind off Jason Behrendorff, the Renegades’ chances went out the window and they were all out for 136 with five balls remaining.
Alfonso Thomas was terrific with the ball for the Scorchers with 4-8 from 3.1 overs while Jason Behrendorff picked up three wickets despite conceding 44 runs from his four overs.
He had 24 taken off his third when Rohrer took a particularly liking to his left-arm bowling.
Thomas showed the WACA pitch is perfectly suited to his type of swing bowling, taking 4-8 on the same deck that Melbourne Stars bowler Lasith Malinga exploited to take 6-7 in the last game in Perth, and he loved every minute of his first home match.
“We always knew it was going to be a tough game, but the boys batted well up front and obviously with the new ball we took wickets early, which definitely put us on our way,” Thomas said.
“We were confident coming back to the WACA. It’s obviously a bouncy wicket and that was something we looked to exploit, and it worked for us tonight.”
Rohrer gave the Renegades some hope with his 52 in the chase but, in the end, the Melbourne side didn’t get close and they are looking to bounce back quickly at home to the Adelaide Strikers.
“The wicket was pretty good out there so the start we made was pretty disappointing,” Rohrer said.
“The stats are something ridiculous like 90 per cent of the time if you lose three wickets in the first six overs, you lose and we did that tonight and couldn’t fight back.
“There was a bit of swing there for both their opening bowlers and they used it well and nicked a few blokes off early which was disappointing, but that happens and we will bounce back in a couple of days time.”