Hogg spins Scorchers to clinical win
Perth Scorchers 5 for 184 (North 70, Gibbs 65) beat Adelaide Strikers 142 (Hogg 3-20) by 42 runs
A sprightly Brad Hogg incited panic among the Adelaide Strikers with a consummate spell of left-arm wrist spin to deliver the Perth Scorchers a 42-run victory at the WACA. The Strikers were motoring in pursuit of the hosts' 5 for 184 until Hogg flummoxed Michael Klinger in his first over, and followed up by dismissing the visiting captain and Tom Cooper in his second.
Michael Beer chimed in with the wicket of Callum Ferguson, and by the end of the night Hogg had scooped 3 for 20 from his four overs while also knocking Aaron O'Brien's drive onto the stumps to run-out Cameron Borgas. Ferguson and Klinger were both stumped adeptly by Luke Ronchi, another key contributor to the Scorchers' defence.
Herschelle Gibbs and Marcus North had made attractive runs to lift Perth to their total, despite the parsimony of O'Brien and two wickets from the young spinner James Muirhead, who has a promising leg break but needs to polish his fielding.
Daniel Harris and Klinger had begun the Strikers' chase in a most intelligent and productive fashion, picking off boundaries with neatly lofted strokes, though never resorting to anything too wild. One Klinger straight drive from Nathan Rimmington was as clean as anything struck in the tournament so far, while Harris earned six when his drive off Nathan Coulter-Nile landed on the rope at wide long off.
They had added 48 in less than five overs when Harris played inside a Ben Edmondson delivery that flicked off stump. Adam Crosthwaite followed a charge and drive redolent of Dean Jones with an ill-advised hook and a running catch for Hogg, but Klinger continued to pierce the gaps and keep the run-rate around 10 per over.
He was held up for the first time in the innings by Hogg, who began with two perfectly-pitched googlies to beat Klinger's pressing blade and conceded only four runs from his first over. The pressure told on Ferguson, who stumbled out of his crease when Michael Beer drifted one down the legside and was stumped by a yard.
Klinger could not make head or tail of Hogg, and the first ball of his second over slipped past the Strikers captain for Ronchi to complete another fine stumping, this time removing the bails with Klinger's foot judged to be on the line. Tom Cooper then swung Hogg to deep backward square where Edmondson held the catch on the jog. Hogg's bowling had turned the innings, and Adelaide would not threaten the target.
Gibbs has been providing a decent helping of crisp strokeplay at the top of the order for the Scorchers, and here he pinged three boundaries from Brendan Drew's first over through midwicket, gully and cover, the third from a free-hit after the bowler had overstepped.
Daniel Salpietro's unassuming offspin was greeted with a Gibbs six first ball, and the South African flayed two further boundaries in the over to lift the hosts to 48 from five overs. Harris' first over was treated with similar contempt, three full tosses put away, though the third might have been stopped by Muirhead, who was struggling in the outfield and had already dropped North at square leg.
As such, Muirhead had some compensating to do with the ball, and he duly found a nicely pitched leg break that landed short of where Gibbs wanted it and drew a skied drive to long-off. North by now was getting into stride, cracking a pair of wonderfully clean sixes from the bowling of Muirhead and Salpietro, but he lost Mitchell Marsh when Drew found some extra bounce outside off stump.
Paul Collingwood rattled up 18 runs, all of them from the bowling of Muirhead, before another delivery of useful loop and drop fetched a second wicket from an outfield catch. The final overs were suitably hectic, North's composed innings ended when he was first dropped at long-on then run-out as Drew recovered to fire in a flat return.
The Scorchers are now level with the Hobart Hurricanes at the top of the table, while Adelaide are stalled with three other sides on four points.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo