Tye puts Scorchers in fourth straight final
Perth Scorchers 7 for 144 (Carberry 50, Hastings 3-27) beat Melbourne Stars 126 (Wright 31, Pietersen 31, Tye 4-18) by 18 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Perth Scorchers have qualified for their fourth consecutive Big Bash League final, and hence fourth consecutive Champions League T20, after beating the Melbourne Stars for the third time in a BBL semi-final, who themselves have been eliminated for the fourth consecutive season at the semi-final stage.
On a balmy evening in Perth in front of a raucous full house at the WACA, the Scorchers squeezed the Stars in a tense and nervy run-chase to win a pulsating encounter by 18 runs and confirm their place in Wednesday's final against the Sydney Sixers in Canberra.
Chasing a stiff but certainly manageable 145, the Stars innings was hampered from the start by an uncharacteriscally timid innings from Cameron White who faced 15 dot balls in his 24-ball 13. However, rather than being a scratchy, panicky 13, White appeared confidently insouciant even when the Stars finished the Powerplay at 0 for 37, and even when he failed to capitalise on a 24-ball platform, falling in the seventh over to Yasir Arafat, there was a sense that the Stars were in control.
Yet, the Scorchers also appeared quietly confident, and having never lost a BBL semi-final and won 11 of their last 15 matches batting first, so they should have been.
When Brad Hogg sent down two consecutive dot balls to Kevin Pietersen in the 10th over with the run rate slowly climbing but with nine wickets in hand, there was a sense that something had to give. And give it did. Pietersen flipped round in his stance to the fourth ball of the over and struck an 86-metre switch-hit six. A moment upon which you sensed finals would be made and missed.
With ten overs gone the Stars were now primed for a final push, they required 81 off 60 balls. A relatively simple chase with nine wickets in hand and two set batsmen at the crease, you would think. But no, not against the Scorchers. Not at the WACA.
Two wickets in the 11th over, bowled by Andrew Tye; Luke Wright for a 25-ball 35 and new man Peter Handscomb for a duck preceded three overs in which no boundaries were scored. The noise in the crowd built and tension mounted as the Scorchers initiated the squeeze.
When Hogg finished his spell of four overs, from which he conceded just 22 runs, the match reached another pivot point. The second ball of the 15th over, bowled by Nathan Coulter-Nile, was hit for four by Rob Quiney which stirred hope once more for the Stars. However, Quiney was dismissed on the following ball and when Pietersen fell for 31 two balls later the match was suddenly and firmly in the hands of the Scorchers.
A couple of lusty blows from John Hastings did little to dent the spiralling run rate and with the crowd surging the Scorchers onwards wickets kept falling; two to Tye in the 19th over and two to Arafat in the final over saw the Stars bowled out with one ball remaining. Tye's headline-grabbing figures of 4 for 18 belie a practiced and perfected team effort of partnership bowling and generally good fielding despite a couple of dropped catches.
Earlier on, the Scorchers, having elected to bat, forced their way to 7 for 144 with a disjointed but effective innings made up of a handful of useful contributions. Michael Carberry top-scored with his third fifty of the season, but no one player really took control.
Michael Klinger fell in the second over and Adam Voges in the fourth to set the Scorchers back early on. However, a useful partnership between Shaun Marsh and Carberry hauled them back towards a competitive total.
Marsh's dismissal in the 13th over was followed by two more in quick succession, but as seems to always be the case with the Scorchers, they found another way. Sam Whiteman and Coulter-Nile struck six boundaries between them as the Scorchers forced 45 off the four overs prior to the 20th. But then in the last over, six superb slower balls bowled by Clint McKay were all swung and missed at by Tye to complete the innings with a maiden.
Tye, booed as he swung and missed at the fifth and sixth balls, may well have been the villain at the end of the first innings, but a little less than two hours later with figures of 4 for 18 he was certainly the hero. The Stars meanwhile, are left to contemplate yet again, what could have been.
Freddie Wilde is a freelance T20 journalist. @fwildecricket