Recent Match Report – Scorchers vs Heat 35th Match 2023/24


Perth Scorchers 163 for 6 (Hobson 48*, Connolly 35) beat Brisbane Heat 128 (Peirson 42, Tye 4-14, Morris 3-26) by 35 runs

Nick Hobson and Cooper Connolly again tormented Brisbane Heat to ignite Perth Scorchers’ 35-run victory at an oppressive Optus Stadium as their hunt to finish second on the BBL ladder continues.

Having recovered from 83 for 5 after batting first, two-time defending champions Scorchers mostly dominated from there to win their ninth straight match at home.

The result officially secured them a finals spot, but Scorchers will be eyeing a runner-up finish on the ladder and a coveted second chance, otherwise a home elimination final awaits. Scorchers and Sydney Sixers clash on Tuesday in Perth with second place up for grabs.

Heat suffered their first defeat of the season but had already locked up top spot after beating Scorchers by 23 runs on Wednesday at the Gabba. They will host either Scorchers or Sixers in the Qualifier on January 19.

Heat made a number of changes and did not play internationals Colin Munro and Sam Billings, who are about to fly out to the UAE’s ILT20, as precious game time was given to those who will be part of their title push.

Their new opening partnership of Josh Brown and Jimmy Peirson, making his season debut, made a strong start in the chase with a blazing half-century partnership.

But Heat crumbled after Brown’s dismissal with quicks Lance Morris and Andrew Tye overcoming the stifling conditions to finish with a combined seven wickets.

It was with good reason that eyebrows were raised when a daytime fixture was scheduled in Perth, Australia’s sunniest city, during peak summer. The temperature reached 41 degrees by mid-afternoon and Heat did well to hold it together as they bowled with energy on a surface offering more bite than previous BBL games at the ground.

But they perhaps predictably ran out of gas as their old tormentors Hobson and Connolly lifted Scorchers to a competitive total in an impressive fightback.

After electing to bat, Scorchers’ top-order woes continued. Opener Stephen Eskinazi replaced Zak Crawley, who has left for England’s tour of India, and he made his intentions clear with a six on the second delivery after skipping down the pitch at Michael Neser.

Neser responded with a fierce short delivery that left Eskinazi shaken after the ball thudded into his grill via the glove. After medical attention and a change of helmet, Eskinazi smashed a boundary before being undone by a clever slower delivery from Spencer Johnson.

Opener Sam Whiteman has not got going in his BBL return to Scorchers and he fell on the last ball of the powerplay with Scorchers slumping to 25 for 2.

As has been the case often this season, the pressure fell on Aaron Hardie and Josh Inglis but they were dismissed in quick succession as Scorchers stared down the barrel.

Without injured skipper Ashton Turner, Laurie Evans has stepped up in the middle-order with composure and cavalier batting. He had almost single-handedly lifted Scorchers over the line at the Gabba and continued his form with a superb straight drive off Johnson that motored to the boundary.

Evans unfurled his audacious batting with a scoop off left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, but the stroke proved his downfall against left-arm seamer Paul Walter.

The dismissal brought together Connolly and Hobson, who were Scorchers’ unexpected heroes in last year’s epic final against Heat. Both have made minimal contributions this season with Connolly, 20, struggling initially as an opener before shifting down the order.

Connolly and Hobson both launched massive sixes to rekindle memories of their heroics. But Connolly on 35 was cut short by a brilliant catch from Neser, who had run back to the boundary in a similar effort to his blinder against Scorchers in the last match.

Hobson made Heat pay after he was caught off a no ball on 2 and later dropped by Xavier Bartlett in a tough chance on the boundary.

Hobson, who holds down a day job as an accountant, capitalised on an increasingly flagging Heat bowling attack as he flayed three sixes at the death to finish with his highest BBL score of 48 from 30 balls.

Scorchers’ total still seemed short when Brown ran riot in the powerplay after surviving a dropped catch by Tye in the first over. Brown has had a habit over the years of not going on with his fast starts and that was the case again when he holed out to Morris.

Heat fell away and were pinned down in the middle overs. Stand-in captain Nathan McSweeney, who returned to the line-up, and Matthew Renshaw were dismissed cheaply as the run rate required blew out of control.

It was just a matter of time before Scorchers clinched victory to provide cheers for their heated fans with some of the 32,587 crowd bravely sitting without shade covering.

But the Perth faithful will know that a match with much higher stakes awaits.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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