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'Said we were a stack of dominos': Perth disrespect leads to sweet Strikers revenge as spin twins skittle Scorchers

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20th January, 2024
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Adelaide Strikers have spun past Perth Scorchers in an upset Big Bash League victory to move within one victory of the tournaments decider.

Chasing 156 in the knockout final, the Scorchers were 0/38 before being rolled for 105 to end their chase for a third-straight BBL title.

It was a second successive loss for the Scorchers at the one-time Optus Stadium fortress in Perth where they had tasted defeat just once in their previous 18 games.

The Strikers will play Brisbane on the Gold Coast on Monday, with the winners to face Sydney Sixers in an SCG final on Wednesday.

The visitors looked dead in the water at 4-48 in the 10th over after being sent in, but rallied to 7/155 despite star batting pair Chris Lynn and Adam Hose, as well as bowler Jamie Overton, leaving for ILT20 duties in the UAE.

It proved to be more than enough for the Strikers, who spun a web around the Scorchers, leg-spinners Cameron Boyce (3-20) and Lloyd Pope (4-24) silencing the partisan crowd.

“It’s funny what can happen,” Boyce told Fox Cricket.

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“The boys always had belief and … we rode that wave in.

“Our plan was just to be different. A lot of teams come here pace-heavy and .. it can work against you.

“I’m rapt for Popey, we’ve been working really well together.” 

The Strikers’ win will taste all the sweeter after several acts of disrespect during their stay in Perth, with prominent newspaper The West Australian claiming the visitors were a one-man band with captain Matt Short the key to victory.

Short would suffer a rare failure at the top of the order, dismissed for 13 for only his second score of below 39 for the tournament; but a slashing half-century from the in-form Jake Weatherald, plus handy cameos from Ben Manenti and Henry Thornton, allowed them to put up a competitive total that would prove more than enough.

To add further fuel to the fire, Strikers coach Jason Gillespie noticed pre-match the Optus Stadium screen attendants had put a message up celebrating a Scorchers victory – clearly a practice run, but one the former great took a photo of all the same to motivate the troops.

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“Thought, ‘Jeez, they’re jumping the gun a bit here in the west,” Gillespie told Fox Cricket.

“I might have got a photo to show the boys.”

Speaking on the player mic, young Striker Thomas Kelly couldn’t hide his delight at his team’s revenge job.

“Bit of a dig at the rest of the team in the paper today – said we were a stack of dominos after Shorty. It’s beautiful,” Kelly said after the win was secured.

Missing Laurie Evans and Zak Crawley, the Scorchers’ new-look batting unit were unable to fire despite debutant Sam Fanning’s fluent 20-ball 31 offering a viable platform.

It was the introduction of leg spin from both ends that turned the tide, Pope picking up Marcus Harris (eight) and Aaron Hardie (six) while Boyce dismissed Sam Whiteman (two) and Josh Inglis (12).

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Short then dived to his left to dismiss Nick Hobson off his own bowling for four, before Ashton Agar’s duck left the hosts 7-78.

Cooper Connolly (31 off 22 balls) hit out to give Perth some hope but Pope popped up again with wrong-uns that bowled AJ Tye (eight) and Jason Behrendorff for a duck to complete a devastating spell.

Connolly went down swinging, James Bazley calmly tapping a catch back to himself as he tight-roped the boundary to seal the win.

The hosts’ pace and swing had them on top early on, with Tye producing arguably the ball of the tournament to undo in-form Short for a run-a-ball 13.

The veteran unexpectedly floated up a 112km/h slower ball that hooped back into Short – only one ball has swung more this BBL season, according to Fox Sports – to knock him over.

Weatherald’s blazing innings was the rearguard Adelaide needed, with Manenti (23 off 20) and Thornton (28 not out off 21) chiming in with crucial late runs. 

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Scorchers captain Hardie lamented the back-end of their bowling innings and said injuries to Ashton Turner and Jhye Richardson had made life difficult.

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“We had the men for the job but didn’t play our best, especially in the last couple of games,” he said.

“That was the team we thought they’d play but you never come into a game expecting to lose wickets like that.

“They backed their leggies in and it worked for them.”

© AAP

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