Sydney Thunder v Perth Scorchers, BBL, Sydney January 11, 2012

Scorchers seal home semi-final with huge win


Perth Scorchers 103 for 1 (Marsh 64*, North 38*) beat Sydney Thunder 99 (Coulter-Nile 3-9) by nine wickets

Perth employed a scorched-earth policy at Stadium Australia tonight. Even without star-import Herschelle Gibbs, they obliterated Sydney Thunder to secure their fifth consecutive win and ensure a home semi-final.

Gibbs, with three half-centuries in five innings in the Big Bash, withdrew before the game began due to a foot injury, but his absence was not felt after Scorchers steamrolled Thunder for just 99. The home side could not bat out their twenty overs after choosing to bat.

Scorchers were white-hot with the ball and in the field, led by Nathan Coulter-Nile. The 24-year-old quick bowled with great pace and energy on a sluggish drop-in pitch. He knocked over Thunder's much-vaunted top three. First to fall was Usman Khawaja, who nicked a delivery that climbed a little higher than expected. Not all were convinced about the edge, Coulter-Nile did not even appeal, but Luke Ronchi was certain as he gleefully accepted the catch.

Second to fall was Chris Gayle. The Jamaican looked in ominous touch again, having reached 20 with two fours and a six. But a big swipe at Coulter-Nile yielded only a thin outside edge. Umpire Mick Martell initially shook his head but was over-ruled by the third umpire based on camera footage only. There is no traditional challenge system in place, but there is a form of review in exceptional circumstances. Martell changed his decision, via information from the third umpire, to send a perplexed Gayle on his way to a chorus of boos from 12,000 fans.

There was no doubt about Coulter-Nile's third scalp. Four balls after Gayle's departure Daniel Smith drove, with his feet anchored, at a 143kph carrot wide of off stump. Mitchell Marsh pouched the very sharp edge at slip with ease. Coulter-Nile had 3 for 6 from 12 balls and Thunder were half way down a very slippery slope at the conclusion of the sixth over.

The most energetic 40-year-old in Australia, Brad Hogg, was introduced in the seventh over and he bamboozled the two left-hand batsmen, Ben Dunk and Jason Floros, with a mixture of sharp turning leg-breaks and exceptional wrong-un's. Floros had no luck playing straight. So he elected to sweep and was promptly bowled by Hogg.

Luke Butterworth then took on Hogg with a strange hit and run. Hogg ran him out in the manner of Jonty Rhodes in his prime. It was the first of four direct hit run-outs from Scorchers. Nathan Rimmington accounted for Dunk, before Coulter-Nile twice swooped with elegance, and ease, to pull off two direct hits in six balls to end the innings. Few fast bowlers can field with as much skill, fluidity, and grace as Coulter-Nile. He deserved to be named Man of the Match.

Perth only looked vulnerable in the match for one fleeting moment. Luke Ronchi was clean bowled by Scott Coyte with the second ball of the chase. Thereafter it was all Marcus North and Marsh. The pair cruised to the target with 35 balls to spare. Marsh was particularly destructive hitting five sixes in his unbeaten 64. Anything fractionally short or angled down leg side was dispatched with raw power over the square boundary. Just to prove his abilities were not limited to one zone he hit two sixes off Trent Copeland in three balls. The first sailed down the ground over straight long-on, the second was clubbed inside-out over cover.

North remained the silent partner, but a slog-sweep off Floros over midwicket showed he also had the power to clear the rope. His dexterity to glide Coyte to the third-man boundary to seal victory epitomised how easy the win was for Scorchers.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 13, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    Oh Reallymari2619, are you serious? that was a thrashing. regardless of a POSSIBLE poor decision there was no way the Thunder was ever the game. much as wanted Thunder to get up it just wasnt going to happen; just accept that we were beaten by a better team on the night

  • Garry on January 12, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    @Meety, yeah I thought that might get a comment! He moved over here when he was 10 so I assume he wants to play for Australia as he's been with QLD for a few years now. Good enough for England, still there a few ahead of him but I've been impressed with a few of things he's done.

  • Mariam on January 12, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Terrible umpiring cost the thunder the win. umpire Mick Martell did a terrible job, khawaja wasn't out, even the bowler didn't appeal and the commentators clearly said there was no edge, the third umpire should have stepped in but failed to do so. Such decisions will cost the game alot of fans in Australia.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Mitch should play for Australia forget Watson non stop injury's Hogg also should be called up best spinner in OZ at moment

  • Ed on January 12, 2012, 2:48 GMT

    Since when did cricket abolish the rule that the benfit of doubt goes to the batsman ? It seems now, that the bowler gets the benefit of the doubt - weird.......

  • Aidan on January 12, 2012, 2:13 GMT

    Mitch Marsh has huge raps - the guy is being labeled 20/20 but his junior cricket the guy has some big long innings. Could be anything - maybe when Hughes goes to Eng (without the restriction of Langer) he can come back to the team closer to what he should have been by now. The talent pool is not that dire.

  • Damien on January 12, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    Was Coulter-Nile injured towards the end? if not why didn't he get to bowl his last over, you would think figures of 3-9 would warrant you getting a chance to bowl your last over. I have him in my Fantasy team, but I suppose 2 run outs in the last few overs made up for it. Good all-round performance. Good to See MM get some runs.

  • Terry on January 11, 2012, 23:49 GMT

    I know its only T20 but good to see Mitch Marsh in the runs and taking another step forward. Brad Hogg ....what a legend. Love his enthusiasm at the grand old age of 40. Reminds me of a Jack Russell in a cricket shirt :-)

  • Andrew on January 11, 2012, 23:11 GMT

    @ katandthat3 - I think Nesser is a Saffa!

  • Garry on January 11, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    Excited with the quality of allrounders (being either batting or bowling ones) around Australia at the moment. M Marsh, NC-N, Faulkner, Butterworth, Christian, Neser, McDonald. Add the talent in the bowling both young (Pattinson, Cummins, Hazlewood, Richardson) & experienced (Hogan, Copeland, Rimmington, Laughlin, Lee, Bollinger, Hilf and the improving Siddle) and it's looking good. Injuries are a concern. Batting and spin bowling are a little down, the talent is there but the runs aren't coming (and it's hard to put your case forward for selection via T20 or grade cricket during these middle 6 weeks - it's almost hard to remember what happened at the start of the SS season). Occasionally there is a one or two out of the box but batting and spin bowling are a later maturity thing. Feel some people are still pretty harsh on our top order in Test cricket but Hayden & Langer became greats but took a while to do so. The Scorchers look good though. A big game for the Renegades tonight.

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