Simmons 112 powers Scorchers to final
Perth Scorchers 5 for 193 (Simmons 112) beat Sydney Sixers 6 for 48 (Maddinson 36) by five runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Craig Simmons produced another extraordinary performance with the bat to score his second century of the tournament and send Perth Scorchers to the Champions League 2014 and ensure they host their third successive BBL final, against Hobart Hurricanes on Friday.
Remarkably, despite Simmons' innings, they were two minutes from elimination after an agonising downpour delayed the start of Sydney Sixers' run-chase. The game had to restart by 10.37pm local time or it would have been abandoned and the Sixers would have progressed without facing a delivery. But the rain relented at 10.35pm and the Sixers were asked to chase 54 from five overs and fell five runs short.
It would have been unjust if Simmons' work was washed away in vain. Few could have predicted he could have produced another innings as spectacular as his record-breaking 39-ball century against the Adelaide Strikers. This innings was different in some ways, but so similar in others.
The anomaly was his start. Halfway through the eighth over, Simmons had scored just 6 from 16 balls, having watched Simon Katich take most of the strike before he was caught at third man for 26, off 21 balls
Simmons then kick-started his barrage of sixes with a mis-hit over long-on off Trent Copeland. It took until the 11th over before his score overtook his balls faced. But thereafter, he hit 10 sixes in 32 balls. The only man who was spared was Mitchell Starc but he inside-edged the left-arm seamer to fine leg for four to bring up his century. Simmons received great support from Adam Voges who quietly accumulated 31 at the other end.
The Scorchers' euphoria of scoring 5 for 193 was quickly tempered as the rain fell swiftly and without interruption.
The Sixers' large chase was reduced to 54 from 30 balls and it initially played into their favour. Michael Lumb and Nic Maddinson took eight runs from Alfonso Thomas' first over. Then Jason Behrendorff swung the game back in Scorchers' corner with a double-strike in one over. Lumb and Ravi Bopara both holed out and Maddinson was also dropped at deep cover by the substitute Hilton Cartwright.
That nearly proved costly as Maddinson smashed 36 from 16 balls to take the Sixers closer. He needed seven runs off the final two deliveries of the match having already found the boundary twice off Nathan Coulter-Nile in the final over. But Maddinson was run out trying to scramble back for two on the penultimate ball, with Sam Whiteman brilliantly gloving an awkward throw from the deep. Brett Lee failed to lay bat on ball, needing to hit the last ball over the rope.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth