Perth Scorchers captain Ashton Turner maintained his nerve to lead his team over league leaders Adelaide Strikers in a low-scoring thriller at Optus Stadium. Chasing a modest 134, the Scorchers were in disarray at 72 for 6 until Turner and Jhye Richardson teamed for a 43-run partnership. Turner smashed 16 runs off three deliveries from fast Henry Thornton to virtually seal the match in the 19th over.
Turner keeps his cool to help Scorchers past Strikers
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This season, the Scorchers’ new-look batting order has been a mixed bag. They set a new record with 229 for 7 against the Melbourne Stars last time out but were dragged back down to earth against the Strikers. Their batting centers heavily on Faf du Plessis and Josh Inglis, both of whom hit quick half-centuries against the Stars but fell in the first ten overs here. The Scorchers’ hopes were limited, but Turner maintained his cool and had strong backing from Richardson.
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Turner cleverly kept the power surge hidden until the 19th over, when the Scorchers needed 19 runs to win. Turner turned the fight on its head with a sequence of huge smashes that sent the home fans into a frenzy. Turner’s batting in all forms has plummeted in recent years. Turner, who has played nine ODIs and 18 T20Is for Australia, is highly recognized for his tactical acumen and is often considered as the greatest captain in the BBL. Additional performances like these might see him return to the national team, particularly with Australia searching for more leadership options in limited-overs cricket.
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Strikers risk with spin till the game is won
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Wes Agar was a surprise exclusion, having taken 4 for 6 in the Strikers’ spectacular annihilation of Sydney Thunder, and he also took three wickets last time out against Brisbane Heat. But Strikers’ brain trust had a strategy. They thought the Scorchers’ hitters weren’t as skilled with the pace off, so they chose offspinner Ben Manenti for his Strikers debut after joining from the Sydney Sixers. Manenti’s catch of Inglis looked like a masterstroke.
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It was one of four caught by Strikers’ three spinners. A tight game came down to the wire, and skipper Peter Siddle had a big choice to make before the 19th over. He was debating between in-form fast Thornton, who had been costly, and spinners Manenti and Matt Short, who had both performed well earlier in the innings.
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Siddle chose Thornton, which backfired
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Hatzoglou, a spinner, explains his selection. Since the BBL’s start, the Scorchers’ formidable pace attack has been the backbone of their success, especially on bouncy home courts. But for this game, they chose legspinner Peter Hatzoglou over seamer Matt Kelly, who proved costly in their season opener against the Sixers at Optus Stadium. Hatzoglou, who was a crucial member of the Scorchers’ title-winning squad last season, didn’t miss a beat on the road against the Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Stars.
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He returned the confidence with a miserly effort against Strikers, conceding just 22 runs in four overs. He bowled brilliantly after the powerplay with frontline spinner Ashton Agar, laying the groundwork for their assault on slower wickets on the east coast. Hatzoglou may have to be an automatic pick at home after the Scorchers’ spinners brilliantly supported their quicks’ typical clinical approach.
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Lynn fails to capitalize on another start
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Chris Lynn, who spent his whole career with the Heat and scored the most runs in BBL history, has certainly received a lot of attention. Lynn has shown hints of his muscular hitting with his new squad but has yet to play a defining inning. When Henry Hunt fell in the first over, Lynn had a perfect chance. Lynn was held back by the Scorchers’ hallmark precision as the Strikers recorded their lowest four-over powerplay total of 18 runs.
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Lynn, who was resolved to play within himself, shed the huge shots. Lynn appeared set to put the foot down with a thunderous shot to the boundary off Agar early in his innings, but it proved a tease. Scampering for a fast single, Lynn was wonderfully run out at cover by a straight underarm throw from Jason Behrendorff. His 33-ball 35 was the highest score for Strikers, although he would have preferred considerably more.
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