Melbourne Renegades v Perth Scorchers, BBL, Melbourne December 22, 2011

Shaun Marsh crafts Scorchers' win

The Report by Alex Malcolm

Perth Scorchers 192 for 2 (Shaun Marsh 99*, Gibbs 57) beat Melbourne Renegades 188 for 3 (McDonald 50, Finch 49*) by eight wickets

Shaun Marsh showed little signs of his back trouble as he smashed an unbeaten 99 off 52 balls in Perth Scorchers' emphatic eight-wicket win, in pursuit of Melbourne Renegades' imposing total of 3 for 188. The innings should state his case for a Test return against India on Boxing Day.

Marsh hit nine fours and five sixes to help the visitors home with four balls to spare, in the tightest game of the tournament so far.

The attention was on Marsh to prove he was Test ready, though he was playing a Twenty20 game. He spent all 39.2 overs in the field, fielding without any trouble, before playing one of the best innings of the tournament to date.

At times, he was starved of the strike as Herschelle Gibbs peeled off a majestic 57 in their opening stand of 95. Marsh sprinted between the wickets with purpose. His running with his younger brother Mitchell stood out. But most importantly, he handled the raw pace of both Shaun Tait and Shane Harwood, and the penetrative leg-spin of Shahid Afridi, with equal aplomb. Marsh ended the night with a straight six off Abdul Razzaq to seal the match.

The Renegades did not help their cause with some sloppy fielding and strange tactics in their defence of what seemed a winning total.

The captain Andrew McDonald dropped Gibbs on 14 in the third over, and substitute Meyrick Buchanan spilled Marsh on 39. Buchanan made matters worse by parrying the ball over the rope for six. McDonald's field settings were questionable though. Gibbs' strong off-side play is well known, but the Renegades strangely played to his strengths as he hit 18 off a Razzaq over.

McDonald got a lucky break when Gibbs holed out to the only man at the cover rope when the South African was in total command. Mitchell Marsh joined his brother and the pair took on the fielders with some audacious running. The younger Marsh should have been run out in the twelfth over but Graham Manou failed to handle a strong return from long-on cleanly.

McDonald also neglected to bowl the left-arm spinner Aaron Heal. The decision was strange enough given Heal's impressive record in this format, but even stranger given the Scorchers' two most successful bowlers in the match were the left-arm duo of Michael Beer, and Brad Hogg. The pair collected 3 for 50 from their combined eight overs when their team-mates all conceded more than nine-an-over.

The Renegades would have thought they were in a strong position after winning the toss and setting 188. The openers, McDonald and Aaron Finch blasted 91 from 64 balls. Finch was sent to hospital with a suspected broken rib after being struck by Ben Edmondson, but he still managed 49 from 40. McDonald's 50 from 33 was an innings of great class. Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Reardon, and Razzaq clubbed six sixes between them to progress to an imposing total. Maxwell launched three in a row off Marcus North's offspinners.

But in the end Shaun Marsh stole the show, proving why he is regarded in some circles as Australia's best batsman in all formats.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on December 24, 2011, 5:15 GMT

    @VivGilchrist... Yes, that looks like the starting list... Pity... I was looking for Christian to start in the XI at Bellerive... Might have made the difference & won the series... Going into another series carrying dead weights & players who will not feature in the coming years...

  • Roo on December 24, 2011, 5:13 GMT

    @fastbunny... Yes there is no comparing the BBL & Test teams in fielding as some of the drops were from grade cricketers... Still they will improve as they get used to the crowds & noise... Having the international players will also help at SS level with young players getting more experience...

  • Girik on December 23, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    @mick82, well India are not a great fielding side to put it lightly especially their aging slippers. Having said that Australia's fielding has also gone down with their general team decline although Warner is a breath of fresh air. I expect both teams will need to take more than 20 wickets (because of the drops) in every Test.

  • Michael on December 23, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    Great effort by Marsh should be right for the boxing day test

  • Satish on December 23, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    Marsh is the best orthodox T20 batsman around the world.. Even better than Mahela...

  • Gavin on December 23, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    Marsh was brilliant!

    MacDonald's captaincy needs to come in question...Afridi should have come in to bat and Heal should've been given a bowl before others...most of them went for 10 an over.

    Tait should be dropped.

  • far on December 23, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    if he plays the boxing day test i bet ponting runs him out

  • Matthew on December 23, 2011, 1:51 GMT

    I don't think you can comment on Aussie fielding based on the Renegades - they have to be the worst fielding side in the competition! In both their games there fielding has been horrible. Some of the other sides have much better fielding especially players like Warner.

    Extremely puzzling not bowling Aaron Heal at all - he is in the side for his bowling and he would have bowled well based on Beer's performance.

  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2011, 1:40 GMT

    Great that Marsh took WA over the line, and even better that he'll be back in the Test team. It's a much more imposing top three with him in there. I still suspect that either Ponting or Hussey might be left out to put Christian in the side. Even if that doesn't happen, when Watson is fit and bowling again he'll be brought back, and then either Ponting or Hussey will likely be left out.

  • Basil on December 22, 2011, 22:08 GMT

    I guess now Australia will go into the Test with just the four bowlers. Marsh will bat 3, which is great, but Christian will be pushed to the side to accommodate the two out of form old guys. So in effect, the bowlers will have a heavier workload because of the gold pass selection, more pressure will be on our inexperienced openers, and Christian and Khawaja have there Test careers put on hold.

  • No featured comments at the moment.