Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars, BBL semi-final, Perth January 16, 2013

Scorchers prevail in dramatic, rain-hit match


Perth Scorchers 2 for 139 in 13 overs (Marsh 68) beat Melbourne Stars 2 for 183 in 18 overs (White 88, Hodge 70*)

You need more than the Duckworth/Lewis method to work out how the Perth Scorchers won this extraordinary semi-final against Melbourne Stars, and qualified for the Champions League again. Rain reduced the contest from a 20-over affair to an 18-over match at the end of the Stars' magnificent batting display. Then more rain initially reduced it to a 17-over chase, before a 13-over pursuit of 139 was finally begun.

You could talk about the ten runs needed from James Faulkner's final over, and Jackson Bird's drop of Michael Hussey from the first ball of the over. But the match, the BBL final, and the Champions League berth all hinged on what appeared to be the last ball of the match.

Adam Voges took strike, needing three runs to win, and two to force a one-over eliminator. Faulkner, who was controversially made the stand-in captain for the Stars with both Shane Warne and Cameron White on sanctions for slow over-rates earlier in the tournament, stood at the top of his mark with his actual captain, Warne, and the former acting captain, White, trying to set a field to keep the scoring to two or less.

The trio parted ways, all pointing every which way. Faulkner delivered a brilliant wide yorker that Voges missed and despite Hussey running through for a bye the Stars thought they had won the match, until they saw standing umpire Mick Martell's right arm outstretched to signal a no-ball.

The Stars' three captains had failed to notice they only had three men inside the circle. To rub salt into the wound Faulkner also over-stepped the frontline. Either way the Stars looked at it, the ball needed to be re-bowled and the Scorchers needed just one to win.

Hussey, of course, struck the winning runs over mid-on, and the Scorchers booked a home final for Saturday night at the WACA.

The Scorchers can thank Shaun Marsh for getting them there. Chasing 139 to win, Marsh produced another astonishing hand. His innings of 68 from 40 balls was the difference in the end. The Scorchers were 1 for 38 after five overs, having lost Herschelle Gibbs to a hamstring strain and Nathan Coulter-Nile to a superb running catch from Brad Hodge.

Marsh then targeted debutant Alex Keath, who was called upon for his first over by one of his captains. The left-hander assaulted the youngster, taking 27 from the over. Both a full toss and a half volley landed in the long-on bleachers. Then two elegant cover drives found the cover rope in different ways, one on the bounce, the next along the carpet. The fifth ball went for six again, the sixth Marsh took a single to retain the strike in a commanding display of batting.

Off the first ball of the seventh over, Marsh slashed Bird to third man to bring up his fifth half-century of the tournament, and the third in a row. He and Voges continued to find the rope with ease before Marsh holed out with 38 runs still needed.

But it only brought Hussey to the crease to hook his second ball for six. His 18 not out from 12 balls was vintage Hussey, but credit must really go to Voges who finished with an unbeaten 36 from 21 deliveries to help the Scorchers to the most remarkable of victories. Given the wet conditions and the shortened match, Warne did not bowl for the first time in the BBL.

It was a result that never seemed likely after the Stars' phenomenal batting display. Simon Katich asked the Stars to bat with one eye on the looming rain clouds. Cameron White was promoted to open and nearly doubled his tournament run tally in 53 balls of brutal hitting. White had managed just 90 runs in seven innings this tournament. His 88 here looked a match-winning effort. After a cautious start the Stars were 1 for 69 through the first ten overs. But then White and Hodge cut loose. They hit 10 sixes between them, each as large as the next. No bowler was spared with the exception of Coulter-Nile who conceded only a run a ball while his colleagues were clubbed to all corners of a packed WACA ground.

A rain delay brought about White's downfall as he picked out long-off first ball after the resumption. It did not stop Hodge though. His unbeaten 70 from 43 deliveries helped the Stars to an imposing total of 2 for 183, which would have certainly been in excess of 200 had they been allowed to bat the 20 overs.

Hodge received a life on 40 when the makeshift wicketkeeper Hussey missed a stumping chance. But the gamble of gloving Hussey would pay dividends in the end for the Scorchers. Perth will host the BBL final for the second successive year, and despite the disgrace and disappointment of the 2012 Champions League, they will be there again in 2013.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on January 19, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    @tsfm: I've not seen the video nor am I aware of the exact situation of the last ball but the rule is that if a team needs 1 run to win and the batsmen cross then even if the ball reaches the boundary the match is deemed over right when they cross and the ball becomes dead, so the boundary never comes into existence.

    But in this match I don't know if they crossed or just stood there. So I could be wrong.

  • Pelham on January 18, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Two points that are worth noting about D/L. (1) With regard to the wickets Stars had in hand, the fact that they had only lost 2 wickets by the end of the innings is irrelevant, because their innings had already been shortened. What is relevant is that they had only lost one wicket when their innings was shortened. However, there is very little extra value for large numbers of wickets in hand when there are very few overs left. This makes sense to me because if the team uses up its wickets by hitting out and giving catches, each catch will be a non-scoring ball. Even if they use them up by taking suicidal runs, a new batsman will have to come in and try to score quickly straight away. (2) D/L takes account of the fact that it is easier to miantain high scoring over a smaller number of overs, but in very high scoring matches (as this was) teams have to score quickly throughout an innings. Thus the curves are much "straighter" for high scoring matches and the target set seems fair to me.

  • Graham on January 18, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    Chris Howard - Let me pick the obvious flaw in your argument, in that situation Perth would have to bat cautiously only having two wickets up there sleeve but on the other hand Melbourne played there entire innings with the knowledge that there are 10 batsman up there sleeve. Its hard to make a completely fair system but Duckworth/Lewis had been better than all the alternatives.

  • Simon on January 18, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    Did anyone else notice that the final ball was actually hit for a FOUR and not a single?

    So the final score For Perth should be 142/2

    Player stats on this site will now be (slightly) incorrect

  • Chris on January 17, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    Why not limit the team chasing in a T20 D/L situation to the same number of wickets that the first team lost after the number of overs allocated to the second team? So in this match, Perth would have been allowed only one wicket with the second ending their innings. It would make a fairer contest. In those crazy games where the second team only gets five overs but with 10 wickets in hand, it would be much fairer as they'd severely limited on the wickets available. And it's a simple system that doesn't require any extra convoluted and confusing maths.

  • Harmon on January 17, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    @ Moz: Your argument in defense of Duckworth-Lews System looks like it actually comes from the old and famous Rain Rule of 92 WC times. I thought we'd done away with it.

    What the 2 teams' scoring pattern had been like for a sequence of overs, esp the highest and lowest ones should not matter here. I don't think this was even considered when Perth was given a target of 139 off 13.

    1. MS Scored 183 in 18 overs, so PS intuitively needed a higher RR for a 13 over chase. 2. MS lost only 2 wickets, so they cud have scored even more. Add this to #1. 3. As for wet ball or not, there are operational hazards. 4. Powerplay overs are a new factor. I'd say they need more weightage. T1 will still take its PP a bit more casually while the chasing team will know it has to make the most of its PP overs. I don't think D/L had factored this in cos in those times PP did not exist.

    I like D/l a lot but TBH I don't like the weightage it gives to past data. A match shud be judged on its own.

  • Robert on January 17, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Dashgar,you seem to fail to factor in,that Perth only got 3 overs powerplay, when the Star 1/40 came off 5 powerplay overs. plus they had an additional 1 over powerplay. How do u explain Perth being given 3 overs or powerplay for 65% of their innings? Surely 65% is 2/3 so 4 overs powerplay wouldve been fair. Perth bowling with a wet ball was a serious disadvantage. Perth's wheels began to fall off in the last over?Are you kidding it was Melbourne who dropped the catch,Stars who had only 3 inside the circle.Surely that was the Stars wheels At the end of the day had Melbourne batted 20 overs, they wouldve got 200ish+ At 2-142 off 13 Perth also were in a good position to score a 200ish+ score So the fact the match came to the last ball, despite great batting from both teams in the overs they were allowed, meant the system wasnt a complete failure. Maybe not entirely perfect,but at the end of the day.The Stars had the game in their grasp and the dropped catch and no ball cost them thegame

  • Kushal on January 17, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Warney was so concerned about Over Rate that he not only gave up the captaincy but also didn't bowl a single over!!!! I think these days he is trying too hard to be in the news rather than performing on the field,probably someone(Ian Chappel) needs to tell him that he has passed his sell-by date.

  • Graham on January 17, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Yes D/L favours the team batting second, how ever the system is better than any alternative going around. If it didnt favour the team batting second well then Katich would have batted first and all scenarios will change again. In the end it was a good contest and the Melbourne Stars choked in a game they should have won.

  • Guy on January 17, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Nice to see a good debate on the merits of D/L. @Tumbarumba, alternatives to D/L will have flaws, but the only question is whether it is consistently and noticeably better than the current system. @Dashgar makes the clearest and simplest point on the limitations of the current system - the players strategically choose to chase when there is the threat of a rain interruption. This is what the cricinfo commentary from the match last night said before a ball was bowled: "Simon Katich has won the toss and they've interstingly elected to field. Perhaps to do with the weather around, there is some talk about rain, so they may think batting second is an advantage if the match is shortened due to rain." Prescient? Or just common sense?

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