A stunning innings from Ashton Turner helped Perth Scorchers to another record run-chase at the WACA. They keep finding a way to win games from difficult scenarios, this time defeating the title-contending Melbourne Renegades to reclaim top spot on the BBL table.
An uncharacteristically sloppy bowling and fielding performance left the Scorchers chasing 186 to win following superb knocks from the Renegades duo Cameron White and Tom Cooper.
But Turner, with the help of David Willey and Ashton Agar, produced arguably the best innings of the tournament. His 70 from 32 balls was an exhibition in T20 batting. He was run out with 19 still to get from 16 balls but Agar did the rest.
It was the Scorchers' second successive record run-chase at the WACA, and they remain undefeated against the Renegades in BBL history.
Cut and thrust
The first 15 overs of the match showcased a rollercoaster ride of momentum. The game swung violently in both directions in a matter of overs. The first two overs went to the Renegades. Agar dropped Aaron Finch while Marcus Harris found the boundary four times in 10 balls. Then Mitchell Johnson nicked off Finch for the second time in two meetings this season. Johnson and Jhye Richardson bowled 18 balls of express pace for 10 runs. Then Harris and Cameron White took 22 from Richardson's second over to round off the Powerplay at 1 for 51.
Harris and White were rolling until Harris gifted a catch to backward point and the game shifted again. The Scorchers were atypically loose. Agar copped tap for the first time in the tournament. Josh Inglis took a sharp catch off Finch low to his right but dropped a towering sky-ball off Cooper. But Willey, Agar and Johnson delivered three overs for 17 runs to leave the Renegades 2 for 114 with 30 balls left.
Cooper ramps up
Cooper really struggled early. White cruised to his third fifty of the tournament at the other end and anchored the innings perfectly. Meanwhile, Cooper was 15 from 21 balls and ramped a ball into his own head. Two conventional strikes down the ground got him going. Then he delivered a series of incredible reverse-laps and scoop-ramps to the fast bowlers. Facing the left-arm of Willey from around the wicket with third man and point up inside the circle, he predicted a wide yorker and reverse-lapped it for four. With long-off and long-on back for Richardson he expected fast straight yorkers and bravely ramped them into the stands beyond fine leg. Richardson's figures of 0 for 55 were the most expensive in the history of BBL games at the WACA. Cooper's third ramp for six came off Andrew Tye in the final over. Two further boundaries saw him reach 57 from 33 balls, his last 12 balls yielding 42. The Renegades scored 71 off the last five overs to post a menacing total.
Hogg's last hurrah in the west
Michael Klinger was the key in the record chase against Sydney Sixers. Mohammad Nabi removed him with the first legitimate ball of the innings but bigger moments were to come. The Scorchers' Powerplay of 1 for 40 was steady but well under the run rate required. It meant they had to up the ante against Brad Hogg, who was playing what might have been his last match at the WACA ground, his home for the majority of his 24-year professional career. He was emotional pre-game but was assured at the bowling crease. He should have had Willey stumped in his first over but Tim Ludeman made amends one ball later, stumping Hilton Cartwright instead. Hogg was in full command bowling his first two overs for just eight runs to leave the Scorchers needing 109 from 60 balls. But Hogg let the game slip through his fingers in the 11th over. Turner sliced a ball from Jack Wildermuth to third man where Hogg was stationed. He dropped the relatively straightforward chance and the Renegades' heads slumped.
Turner made the most of the reprieve. He struck three fours and five sixes but they weren't all trademark clean strikes down the ground. He took a leaf from Cooper's book and ramped Wildermuth twice to a vacant fine leg. In addition to that, his running between the wickets was exceptional. He is the fittest player in the Scorchers squad and regularly leads their running testing. He ran a remarkable eight twos during his innings. He found the perfect partner in Willey, a fitness machine in his own right. They pinched twos where most players would have jogged ones and neither player fatigued in the manner most do under the stress of repeat sprints. Willey did not strike the ball as sweetly as Turner but was unselfish in his running and his dismissal. Turner was run out 16cm short of pinching a leg bye to regain the strike. Dwayne Bravo needed to side-foot the ball onto the stumps to dismiss him. Agar remained cool despite Adam Voges running himself out and Tim David absorbing some dots in the penultimate over.