Hobart Hurricanes 4 for 110 (Doolan 41*, Agar 2-19) beat Perth Scorchers 8 for 107 (Agar 32, Meredith 3-15) by six wickets
The Hobart Hurricanes easily accounted for the Perth Scorchers in Launceston, after a destructive first innings opening spell followed by a controlled hand from D'Arcy Short and Alex Doolan condemned the visitors to their poorest start in BBL history.
Sent in after losing the flip, and at one stage slumping to 4 for 19, the Scorchers huffed and puffed and spluttered their way to 8 for 107 from their 20 overs on a slow Aurora Stadium track. At no point were the Scorchers able to impose their will on the Hurricanes bowlers, ably led by speedster Riley Meredith, who regularly pushed the 150kmh mark and finished with 3 for 15.
The hosts ultimately made short work of their chase. Guided by Doolan, Short and Matthew Wade, the Hurricanes found early momentum in the second innings, and didn't relent. Their comfortable win sees them retain their unbeaten start to the competition, and ensures they extend their lead atop the BBL standings.
Scorchers top order devastated in Powerplay
The Hurricanes made the perfect start, with James Faulkner achieving significant hoop to trap William Bosisto lbw with the first ball of the match.
The Scorchers laboured to eight runs from their opening two overs, before the introduction of Clive Rose in the third over brought another wicket; Michael Klinger slice-driving on the up to Johan Botha at cover point. It was an uncharacteristically casual shot from the Scorchers anchor, whose solidity so often provides the launch pad for his team-mates to capitalise upon. The shot suggested a slow track, which proved broadly true, with most batsmen struggling to consistently middle the ball at Launceston's UTAS Stadium hosting only its second ever BBL match.
Following Klinger's dismissal, the visitors' malaise continued. Ashton Turner chopped a sharp Meredith delivery on to his stumps, and three balls later, Cameron Bancroft followed.
It devastated the Scorchers top order, leaving Hilton Cartwright and Ashton Agar to consolidate. Both were happy to milk Botha, picking up ones and twos in the process. Short's mercurial offerings were eventually brought on, and still the singles ensued. Finally, a half-tracker brought some action, and it wasn't good news for the Scorchers. Cartwright, with eyes lit up, heaved it straight into deep midwicket's pouch. It brought David Willey to the crease at 5 for 65 in the 13th over
Later, Short dealt Agar a waist-high full toss - he slapped it straight to long-off. Despite some late-order hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile, the Scorchers innings never found rhythm, leaving the hosts with a modest target.
Bancroft's short stay
After the Hurricanes elected to bowl, all eyes focused on the returning Bancroft. Fresh from his highly publicised nine-month suspension, he was called into the fray early after the early dismissals of Bosisto, Klinger and Turner. There was a hint of a mixed reception upon his arrival at the crease, but the Western Australian started brightly enough, confidently turning his second ball off his pads for two.
It was at this point Channel Seven commentator and former Australian captain Ricky Ponting shared Bancroft's tongue-in-cheek fear of facing express pace, after a number of months in the relatively tame confines of Perth Premier Cricket. Indeed, Bancroft's deep breaths were palpable after a bouncer from the bustling Meredith, which suggested Ponting's mail was probably correct, as usual.
On his third ball, Bancroft fell to Meredith, nicking behind to Wade after hanging his bat well outside his body. In one of the more unforgiving returns to cricket, the ball was clocked at 149.3kmh. Welcome back to professional cricket, Cameron.
Hurricanes do it with ease
Once Short took nine from Jason Behrendorff's first over in the chase, it was always going to be an uphill climb for the visitors. While the Scorchers had struggled for timing throughout their innings, Hurricanes' openers had no such trouble. A succession of drives from both Wade and Short had the hosts off to an excellent start, and from there they didn't look back.
Once the openers laid the platform, Doolan provided the anchor job. He capably negotiated the duel speedsters Jhye Richardson and Coulter-Nile, steering the Hurricanes to victory with plenty of breathing space remaining.