Hilfenhaus spell leads Hurricanes to victory
Hobart Hurricanes 140 (Birt 40, Edmondson 4-40) beat Perth Scorchers 109 (Hilfenhaus 2 for 10) by 31 runs
With all eyes on Australian Test incumbents Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey it was Test-discard Ben Hilfenhaus who stole the show at the WACA as the Hobart Hurricanes comfortably accounted for the Perth Scorchers in a low scoring affair.
Defending what seemed a paltry 140 on a ground that averages 176 per Twenty20 innings, Hilfenhaus exploited the pace and swing on offer with tremendous skill to claim 2 for 10 from four high quality overs.
He nicked off Scorchers' opener Herschelle Gibbs in the second over before beating Simon Katich for pace as he gloved down the leg-side for eight. Wicketkeeper Tom Triffitt accepted both catches gleefully.
Captain Xavier Doherty then pulled a rabbit out of a hat to remove Michael Hussey. Part-time offspinner Rhett Lockyear forced three dot balls before Hussey holed out in the deep trying to get off the mark. It was Lockyear's only over of the innings and he finished with figures of 1 for 1.
Former England batsman Paul Collingwood, averaging 6.5 at the WACA in two Tests and an ODI, was trapped plumb in front by Ben Laughlin for 4, to leave the Scorchers floundering at 4 for 28. Captain Marcus North departed 16 runs later top edging a sweep off Jason Krejza having been starved of the strike by the top-order collapse.
When Luke Ronchi and Brad Hogg fell in consecutive deliveries in the 15th over the game was over. Hogg's needless run-out summed up the Scorchers night as he dawdled back for two only to be beaten by a brilliant throw from Hilfenhaus.
Earlier Travis Birt top-scored for the Hurricanes in their total of 140, having won the toss and elected to bat. Birt, remarkably having left Tasmania in the winter to play for the Western Warriors this season, was back in Perth playing for the opposition. He struck three fours and one massive six in his 30-ball 40.
Ben Edmondson proved his wicket-taking ability, grabbing 4 for 40, while Michael Beer and Nathan Rimmington were extremely economical in collecting figures of 1 for 18 and 1 for 7 respectively. Collingwood also played his part as the architect of two run outs. He was helped significantly by some lazy cricket from Owais Shah and Lockyear.
For the record, Ponting made 17 for 19 balls opening the batting for the Hurricanes. Neither he nor Hussey allayed any speculation regarding their form. Hilfenhaus was the only player to make any statement in what was in the end a fairly unremarkable affair.