Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars, BBL semi-final, Perth

Scorchers prevail in dramatic, rain-hit match

The Report by Alex Malcolm

January 16, 2013

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

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

Michael Hussey celebrates after scoring the winning run, Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars, BBL semi-final, Perth, January 16, 2013
Michael Hussey celebrates after hitting the winning runs © Getty Images

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harmony111 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.

Posted by Pelham_Barton 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.

Posted by Shaggy076 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.

Posted by tsfm 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

Posted by Chris_Howard 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.

Posted by Harmony111 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.

Posted by frogger235 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

Posted by Kushalagr007 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.

Posted by Shaggy076 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.

Posted by Moppa 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?

Posted by Gizza on (January 17, 2013, 3:27 GMT)

Considering how few overs were completed (31 in total) it was a very entertaining game. Still believe that more overs means more skill (and therefore Tests are the best followed by 50 overs) but T20 can definitely has heaps of entertainment value. So many twists and turns in only a 13 over chase. Quite amazing. Well done to Marsh, in particular that one over of clean brutal hitting against the debutant Alex Keith.

Posted by Magenius on (January 17, 2013, 3:10 GMT)

Anyone suggesting Perth didn't deserve to win that has rocks in their head

1. Scorchers bowled their spinners more than they would have because they wanted to finish like most teams with pace, yet due to loss of overs they lost one over from one of the best T20 change of pace bowlers in the world and had extra overs from spinners which surely would not have happened had they known it was 18 overs going into the innings. The spinners could clearly not grip the ball when bowling which resulted in arguably the two best spin bowlers this tournament getting smashed.

2. Brad Hodge was run out , he was given not out, common-sense should have prevailed as he was out of his ground when the stumps where clearly broken and bails removed. The extra wicket (through Duckworth-lewis) and the loss of a run would have impacted the amount of runs the scorchers had to chase.

3. One of the best hitters in the BBL Gibbs pulls a hammy and can't get a runner due to law changes and Perth still wins.

Posted by Tumbarumbar on (January 17, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

The criticism of D/L for 20/20s overall may be appropriate (but I would wager that similar criticism could be made of any alternative), however the following points should be consider in regard to last night's match. It is unlikely that Coulter Nile would have batted in that position in normal circumstances so the Scorchers could have been just one wicket down. Who would have bowled the extra overs for the Stars if the game had gone on longer, Faulkner couldn't bowl them all. The system worked as it came down to runs off the last ball, a perfect scenario, and the Stars only have themselves to blame for losing.

Posted by Dashgar on (January 17, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

A small stat for the D/L defenders. After five overs in this game the Stars were 1/40. That was considered a good start. The five overs Scorchers didn't have to bat they were compensated 0/44, so essentially they got off to the absolute perfect start they needed without having to pick up the willow. Add to that they still had 3 powerplay overs left, the ball was brand new, and Melbourne didn't get the opportunity to bowl out their best guys. It's not a fair system, the chasing side is unfairly advantaged, and every player would agree they'd prefer to chase when there's rain around.

Posted by Lazarus99 on (January 17, 2013, 2:02 GMT)

All in all D/L is reasonably fair except that it doesn't adjust the wickets available. If the chasing team had the number of wickets avaiable reduced by 1 for every 5 overs in 50 over matches and by 1 every 2 overs in T20's then we start to get a more fair scenario. Less overs should not only affect the numbers of runs needed to win for the chasers but also the number of wickets required for the defenders.

Posted by Dashgar on (January 17, 2013, 0:42 GMT)

Some people are saying Perth were 'on track' to get the target of 182. That is exactly my point. Being on track isn't the same as winning. Melbourne could take wickets or clamp down the run rate in those 5 overs. In this case though Perth are just declared the winner. They get to bat less time so less can go wrong. We haven't seen 500 yet in a 50 over game cos batting at ten an over cannot be done indefinitely. Perth's last over the wheels began to fall off. Dropped catch, singles to the keeper. How would they go keeping that up 5 more overs. We'll never know.

Posted by shelts7 on (January 17, 2013, 0:36 GMT)

To Dashgar and anyone else who are blaming the D/L systems have you forgotten the farce that happened last time the Stars played the Scorchers. In that match the Stars only had to play for 2 overs when they should have bowled a minimum of 5 overs so it works both ways. You should blame Warne for not bowling it might have been a different result if he had bowled.I can only think he didn't bowl because he thought the ball would be too slippery as it was for the whole of the Scorchers bowling innings which is why the Stars made such a big total. Well done to the Scorchers you deserved the win.

Posted by SloppyJoe on (January 17, 2013, 0:24 GMT)

Much rather chase 139 off 13 than 183 off 18 or 200+ off 20. I agree that the chase should have been set higher. 145-150 would have been about right.

But the system is what it is. With variable playing conditions due to the weather, you are never going to have a completely balanced target. Do we reduce the target because the Scorchers were playing with a wet outfield when the Stars had a dry outfield for most of their innings? Do we increase the target because the Stars' innings was interrupted? Never going to develop a completely fair algorithm for those types of things.

The Stars had a real chance to win this, but they blew it. I had to laugh at the line in the article: "The Stars' three captains had failed to notice they only had three men inside the circle". That's what happens when you try to cheat the system by claiming you have a "leadership rotation" policy.

Posted by shrek_k on (January 16, 2013, 23:21 GMT)


Excellent argument. Not often are such lucid, logical comments backed up by stats seen on these forums. I personally feel that Perth should have been made to score a little bit more may be in the order of another 5-10 runs (nothing scientific, just gut feeling) but that may not have made a difference in the game result. Also D/L for T20s will get better as they get more data regarding scoring patterns of T20.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 16, 2013, 23:06 GMT)

I agree with Dashgar & Moppa. For very short duration matches, DL's basic assumptions get exposed and the relative imp of the 2 resources needed to score runs becomes more and more distant. For a 7-8 over match, wickets become least imp.

A long time back there was an article on cricinfo itself that had talked of the inherent limitations of DL when it was applied to T20s in a manner similar to ODIs. I wish I'd bookmarked it, I would need to search for it now.

Ofc if one looks into DL then target of 139 wud be justified by the model but intuitively it seems how can the chasing team be asked to score less runs in less over but at the same NRR with the same no of wickets?

Someone talked of Powerplays. Well in that case the resources a team has to score runs are Wickets, Overs + Powerplay Overs getting special explicit weightage, not an implicit one like here.

Anyways, a last ball finish is always super exciting and maddening. Must have been a great match.

Posted by muralibgowda on (January 16, 2013, 22:50 GMT)

Warne not bowling in the match. Last over catch drop. Last ball no ball. Imagine the headlines if it was Pakistan.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (January 16, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

I think that the correct score set should have been 152. I can show my calculations but I think common sense would show that that is the ballpark of what the correct target should have been. 139 was far too lenient. Would Perth have still won chasing 152? Perhaps. But they actually would have lost this match if it weren't for the stuff up on what should have been the final ball. For the second time this tournament, Perth win a game they were flogged in because of Duckworth/Lewis being thoroughly inappropriate for Twenty/20 matches.

Posted by Moppa on (January 16, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

@Dashgar is right - D/L is ill suited to T20, and in fact also to 50 over matches where the chasing team faces many fewer overs than the team batting first. The basic issue that D/L fails to take into account is that its easier to chase at a certain intensity for a shorter period of time given a fixed number of wickets (and a fixed number of good batsmen). If Perth had started out needing to score at the required rate for 18 or 20 overs, they would not have been able to take as many risks as they did. A New Zealander, Scott Brooker, did a PhD thesis (in economics) explaining an alternative method and, while its a bit technical in terms of statistics, I'm convinced of his criticism of D/L and that his alternative method is better. @frogger235, you are right that the Scorchers were well placed to chase the Stars' full total on this occasion, especially as they were only 2 wickets down - but this doesn't mean that their task wasn't made artificially easier.

Posted by ygkd on (January 16, 2013, 21:09 GMT)

It's hard not to like Michael Hussey. But why was he keeping? Brad Hodge took Brad Hogg's chinamen to the cleaners and then Michael Beer got one through a charging Hodge's legs and there's no-one home to finish the job. Triffitt should have been there. At least the Stars played Handscomb, rather than entrusting the gloves to a batsman like Rob Quiney. Handscomb, I think, should concentrate on his batting too, but he's capable enough with the gloves at domestic T20 level. I don't think the gamble to glove Hussey came off. Rather, it just didn't cost them big-time because the conditions weren't helping the spinners and the game was shortened anyway. Now, I've no doubt that Michael Beer is happy with the overall result, but if he wants to get back in Australian colours he'll need a proper wickie to do that. Cricket has keepers. Baseball has backstops.

Posted by Chris_P on (January 16, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

D/L for T20? They have totally, & I mean totally violated this great game of ours.

Posted by 200ondebut on (January 16, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

Looks like Warney choked and let the pressure get to him. Must be his old age.

Posted by Moz. on (January 16, 2013, 16:58 GMT)


If you look at the five highest and lowest overs for each side:

Melbourne: 26, 18, 15, 13, 12 and 3, 5, 5, 6, 7 Perth: 27, 14, 12, 12, 11 and 4, 5, 8, 8, 8

In other words, hardly any difference in scoring quality. In addition, Perth also had only 3 powerplay overs vs Melbournes 6. Both teams actually batted in very similar ways, which is why the match went down to the last ball. You can't blame D/L here. The difference between two excellent sides came down to the mistakes made in the last over.

Besides, what would you replace it with?

Posted by frogger235 on (January 16, 2013, 16:19 GMT)


I think you fail to realise that at 2-143 after 13 overs (with only 3 powerplay overs as opposed to Melbournes 6 powerplay overs), that Perth were on track to score well over Melbournes 183 off 18 overs and also were on track to score well over 200. I would have to say Marsh played a pretty exceptional innings. Voges and Hussey also played there parts

Why Perth only received 3 powerplay overs and not 4 was a mystery, so Perth did it after being shafted there. Perth also had the disadvantage of having to bowl there innings in rain with a wet ball!

All that said super high quality game, sad there had to be a loser as both teams batted really well. Melbournes drop catch and no ball in the last over, meant they have no one to blame but themselves

Posted by mikebcmos on (January 16, 2013, 15:56 GMT)

Well, Warne gets his just desserts. He should never have been allowed to play, but for a lily-livered CA not banning him appropriately. I bet he wishes the Melbourne derby had been his last game now after all. The cricket gods see all. Hussey bats, strikes the winning runs. Warne doesn't bat. Doesn't bowl. Doesn't even captain. And boy! Did he not captain for that last ball. Hussey > Warne. In every possible way. Mr Cricket won. Cricket won.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

What a great match, well done the scorchers.Now if only the WA team could transfer this form to real cricket.

Posted by Dashgar on (January 16, 2013, 15:00 GMT)

How the D/L came up with such a small number I'll never know. If White and Hodge Didnt have to go off for rain they were on course for well over 200 but the required rate in just 13 overs was only just over 10. They should have been chasing about 155 to be a fair match considering how Melbourne batted. There was little extraordinary about the Perth innings except one over against a debutant while the Melbourne innings was one of the highlights of this season. The best team lost tonight. Time to scrap D/L, it's a 50 over tool, it should never be used again in T20s

Posted by SkylaDark on (January 16, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Ah, T20 cricket. Your drama and high-headedness are beyond comparison.

Posted by sando31 on (January 16, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

I bet blokes in the eastern states wrote us off from the get go! After such a poor start to the tournament perth deserve to be there more than any other team. Brisbane gunna get scorched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Tournament Results
Scorchers v Heat at Perth - Jan 19, 2013
Heat won by 34 runs
Scorchers v Melb Stars at Perth - Jan 16, 2013
Scorchers won by 8 wickets (with 0 balls remaining) (D/L method)
Melb Reneg v Heat at Melbourne (Docklands) - Jan 15, 2013
Heat won by 15 runs
Hurricanes v Heat at Hobart - Jan 12, 2013
Heat won by 8 wickets (with 35 balls remaining)
Strikers v Scorchers at Adelaide - Jan 10, 2013
Scorchers won by 98 runs
More results »
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