Perth Scorchers 6 for 149 (Bancroft 50) beat Brisbane Heat 109 (Ahmed 3-16) by 40 runs
The Brisbane Heat's poor record on the Gold Coast continued as they crashed to their fourth defeat at Metricon Stadium in what has become a stuttering start to the tournament. The Perth Scorchers worked hard to post 6 for 149 on a two-paced surface that left them uncertain what a good total was, before their bowling attack overwhelmed a woeful batting display.
The Scorchers' innings never really fully came to life, but the scoreboard kept ticking and, crucially, they didn't lose wickets in clusters. Zahir Khan caused plenty of problems with his left-arm wristspin and in the end the Scorchers were content to play him out. Mitchell Marsh provided some brief power, but the innings was marshalled by Cameron Bancroft's calm half-century as the last five overs brought 46 runs.
The Heat's hopes all but went in the powerplay as they lost four wickets with questions remaining over the balance of their side. Ashton Agar and Fawad Ahmed took 5 for 32 between them against some poor shot selection, with Chris Lynn watching much of collapse unfold before he became part of it. AB de Villiers probably can't arrive soon enough.
The Scorchers didn't know what to do against Khan with most of the top order struggling to pick his variations. He was introduced in the fourth over and after Liam Livingstone sent him through midwicket (the only boundary he would concede), but next ball he was pinned lbw with a delivery that would have taken off stump. Josh Inglis was the next bamboozled as he charged at a googly and missed by a long way as the powerplay ended on 2 for 44. Khan's next two overs were the 12th and 15th of the innings as the Scorchers were trying to lift the tempo but he conceded just 10 runs and delivered five dot balls, four of them against Marsh. "Bit of a weird pitch," was Livingstone's view of the surface speaking later to the broadcasters, and it would be clear the Scorchers had got it right.
Bancroft's brains, Laughlin's century
Marsh threatened to ignite the Scorchers innings when he launched two mighty sixes into the upper levels of the stands but picked out the deep attempting a third. That gave Ben Laughlin his 99th wicket in the BBL and in the final over of the innings he became the first player to bring up a century when he claimed Agar. However, Bancroft held the Scorchers' effort together with a steady 41-ball half-century even though he rarely found the going easy. The 18th over, against Mark Steketee, was his most productive as he managed to clear long-on for six and heaved another boundary as a defendable total loomed into view.
Heat's heavy top topples
The Heat's two losses before today had come chasing, their win batting first, which suggests - with a small sample size - that a front-loaded batting order struggles to adapt to batting second (or that Lynn had a mad night in Sydney). They had a horrid powerplay on this occasion, losing four wickets before the six overs were done. Tom Banton was pinned lbw by Jhye Richardson's nip-backer, Max Bryant's poor start to the tournament continued as he charged Agar's first ball, and Chris Jordan also struck first ball when Matt Renshaw got a leading edge on a slower ball. Just to compound things, the ball after Sam Heazlett launched Matt Kelly for a leg-side six he was lbw to a very full delivery: 4 for 38 was no sort of platform, even if Lynn remained.
A mess against spin
A dismal batting display by the Heat continued with Lynn stranded at the non-strikers end and when he was on strike, having to play out dot balls to make sure he remained in the middle. No one could stay with him while the asking rate was within his striking range. Agar's excellent night with the ball continued when he removed Jimmy Pierson and Ben Cutting played an awful shot to be bowled by Ahmed. It was a no-win situation for Lynn and he picked out long-on against Ahmed to leave the Heat at 7 for 51. The game was gone.