Buoyant Scorchers go top after crushing Sixers
Perth Scorchers 1 for 114 (Marsh 63*) beat Sydney Sixers 8 for 112 (Lumb 47, Willey 3-22) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
To cap off a momentous day for the BBL, defending champions Perth Scorchers produced their most ruthless performance of the season to dismantle Sydney Sixers in front of a reverberating, sold-out WACA crowd in Perth.
The atmosphere did not quite mimic the astonishing scenes at the MCG, where 80883 spectators attended the Melbourne derby earlier in the day, but 20444 patrons ensured the WACA was once again almost at capacity. Testament to the BBL being the hottest ticket in Perth, the Scorchers became the first team in BBL history to sell out all home matches in the regular season.
The parochial hometown fans, many garbed in superhero attire in a nod to the match's quirky Batman v Superman theme, had a merry time with the Scorchers winning their third consecutive game.
Perhaps buoyed by their rabid fans, the Scorchers completed the type of dominating all-round performance which has long been their trademark. On a pitch offering variable bounce conjured from several notable cracks very much reminiscent of the WACA's golden era, they were disciplined with the ball and energetic in the field. The stingy Scorchers reduced the Sixers to a paltry 8 for 112, then easily chased down the total with nine wickets in hand and 33 balls to spare.
The Scorchers openers Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger continued on from their record-breaking partnership against the Melbourne Renegades and ensured there would be no nervous chase. It appeared the Scorchers were headed for another 10-wicket victory with Klinger and Marsh easily combating the tricky conditions with smart batting. They effectively curbed dangerous Sixers pace bowlers Doug Bollinger and Jackson Bird with shrewd batting but pounced on anything loose.
However, Klinger was unable to bat through, dismissed for 28 in Sean Abbott's first over after a 65-run opening partnership. Marsh continued to remind the national selectors of his sublime talents, with a 54-ball 63 to once again be the Scorchers' superhero.
The lopsided match was a letdown, as there was much anticipation over the re-match of last year's epic final, which saw Scorchers win by one-wicket in arguably the greatest ever BBL clash.
Nic Maddinson, the Sixers captain, won the toss and elected to bat on a tricky pitch, where sharp bounce juxtaposed with deliveries that went low off several menacing cracks. But the lightning outfield ensured runs could be scored quickly.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, their confidence seemed bereft after a demoralising loss on New Year's Eve to the Travis Head-inspired Strikers. The Sixers could not handle the extra bounce engineered by the Scorchers' bevy of talented pacemen, led brilliantly by spearhead Jason Behrendorff (2 for 24) who continued his successful comeback from injury.
Scorchers wisely bowled on a back-of-a length to exploit the conditions and the Sixers' fragility. The visitors fell in an early heap at 4 for 48 by the ninth over, a perilous position which could have been graver had Andrew Tye not spilled an absolute sitter to reprieve dangerous English import Michael Lumb on 25.
In a notable contrast to his nervy team-mates, Lumb was adventurous and inventive in a determined bid to counterattack the unwavering Scorchers bowlers. Lumb did not always strike the ball cleanly but was effective in muscling the ball to the boundary.
However, Lumb was unable to find support, with the Sixers' top order rattled by the WACA's variable bounce, highlighted by opener Ed Cowan (6) being bowled by a David Willey delivery that hit a crack and stayed low. Conversely, Maddinson and Jordan Silk were undone by deliveries that reared sharper than they expected.
For Sixers to muster a competitive total, Lumb had to bat through the innings but his momentum was stifled with the constant wickets around him. When Lumb fell for 47 off 45 ball after an unsuccessful swipe off Behrendorff, the Sixers' hopes of a decent total were effectively over.
Wicketkeeper Ryan Carters tried valiantly and ensured Sixers would pass triple figures, but it was all in vain. The Scorchers have now leapfrogged to the top of the table and a three-peat is well on course.