Liam Livingstone has returned to form at the right time for the Perth Scorchers as the race for Big Bash finals spots goes into the last matches.
Clearing the mind has been key to Livingstone’s Big Bash turnaround, with the Perth opener blasting back-to-back half-centuries for the Scorchers.
Perth face a crucial week to determine their finals fate, as they walk the tightrope between a top-two finish and missing the finals altogether.
Saturday night’s seven-wicket loss to the Sydney Sixers snapped a five-game winning streak and left them two points behind the Thunder in second place.
But, crucially, they are just one point ahead of Melbourne Stars, Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers, with Hobart also just one more point behind that pack.
It makes for two big games against Brisbane as well as clashes with the Start and Hurricanes that are certain to decide their fate.
And Livingstone will be crucial in all of that.
The Englishman scored just 69 runs in his first five innings of the tournament, before exploding out of the blocks with scores of 54 and 67.
His 67 from 38 balls came after he was dropped on just one by the Sixers, before he released the shackles with 27 in one big over from Steve O’Keefe.
But Livingstone insisted the return to form was not a case of adjusting to Australia’s pitches or life after quarantine, but rather going back to his natural game.
“I played here last year so there’s no excuse that I’m not used to the wickets,” Livingstone said.
“Cricket sometimes can get you to, it’s a funny sport.
“I got dropped first ball (against Hurricanes) and all of a sudden you get a couple of fifties, and you feel really confident again.
“Maybe I was over-thinking things too much and sort of not playing the way I have played over the last couple of years which has been really successful for me.
“Hopefully, I’m back there now and we can run with it to the end of the tournament.”
Livingstone’s 68 amounted to little against the Sixers, after his dismissal prompted a collapse of 6-46.
It coincided with the start of the power surge taken at the earliest possible point in the 11th over.
The timing of the surge remains hotly debated, given there is a benefit to having set batsmen in while it can also risk a loss of momentum.
But Livingstone said he didn’t believe any team would ever confidently know the right way to play it.
“I don’t think any team will nail it,” he said.
“It’s a new rule and teams are still getting used to it.
“I think it’s just a game-by-game thing and sometimes it’s going to come off, some days it’s not.”