The Perth Scorchers emerged as the BBL champions for the third time when they beat the Sydney Sixers by 9 wickets in the BBL final in Perth tonight. The young Jhye Richardson and veteran Michael Klinger were the stars of the show for Perth in what turned out to be a one-sided contest. Richardson was well supported by a mellowed down yet dangerous as ever Mitchell Johnson and Tim Bresnan who helped restrict the Sixers to a total of 141, on a pitch where the average total has been around 150. Thereafter, the openers Michael Klinger and Sam Whiteman effectively ended the contest by forging a 75 run opening wicket partnership in less than 8 overs.
Earlier, having been put into bat, Sydney Sixers got off to a horrendous start. They were reduced to 17/3 within 3 overs thanks to a mixture of some good bowling from the opening bowlers, Johnson and Turner, and some mindless running between the wickets. It was left to Brad Haddin and Sixers captain Moises Henriques to rebuild the innings from there on. The duo put up 57 runs in quick time to bring the Sixers back into the game. Haddin was the aggressor in the partnership and brought up his highest score in this edition of the tournament at the right time for the Sixers. However, after this brief period of recovery, Richardson struck a body blow to the Sixers by removing the dangerous looking Haddin, Henriques and Silk in quick succession to have them reeling at 80-6. The Sixers couldn’t recover from this jolt and it was left to Johan Botha’s cameo of 32 off 25 balls to salvage some sort of competitive total.
The Sixers would have felt they had a something to bowl at, with 141 on the board given their bowling line up of Botha, Lyon and the tournament’s highest wicket-taker Sean Abbott. However, the pressure of chasing in a final never really affected the Scorchers. The absence of Shaun Marsh, their most reliable batsman this season, never really affected the Scorchers as they began their innings perfectly to chase down the low target. The openers, Sam Whiteman and Michael Klinger, were in punishing form as the Scorchers raced to 70-0 in just 7 overs.
Lyon got Whiteman out stumped for 41 off just 20 deliveries, but Michael Klinger just kept going. He got to his half-century off 36 balls. Klinger ensured he stayed on till the end to finish with 71 off 48 balls to see off the chase along with former England batsman Ian Bell.
The final couldn’t really live up to its promise of being a close contest between two evenly matched teams. It was a contest that was spiced up owing to the history between the two teams. This was the third time in six editions that these two teams were facing each other in the final of the tournament. The Perch Scorchers had come into the final as slight favourites to win the tournament. Throughout the tournament, they had been the more consistent of the two teams. To add to the home advantage, the toss also went the way of the Scorchers.
With the Scorchers moving to a new stadium the next season onwards, they leave the WACA with fond memories in what will probably end up being their last BBL game there, having now become the most successful BBL side in its short history.