Melbourne Stars 29 for 0 (Wright 23*) beat Perth Scorchers 69 (Malinga 6-7) by 24 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
As heavily as the rain tumbled at various stages in Perth tonight so too did the wickets and records at the WACA ground, as Perth Scorchers were thrashed by Melbourne Stars in one of the most bizarre games of cricket ever witnessed in Australia.
After Lasith Malinga ripped through the Scorchers, taking record figures of 6 for 7, to bowl the home side out for just 69, the Stars were 0 for 29 after two overs of the chase when rain halted play at 6.39pm local time. Under normal circumstances, the side batting second has to bat a minimum of five overs to constitute a match. The match had to recommence by 7.52pm to ensure a five-over chase. The rain stopped, but the confusion was caused by the revised Duckworth/Lewis target, which was 5. In which case, only one ball was required to be bowled as the score had already been reached. The Scorchers argued the ground was unfit for play, but Hilton Cartwright bowled one ball without issue, the players shook hands, and the Stars walked off as winners by ten wickets. To compound matters, that extra ball was later expunged and the margin of victory changed from 10 wickets to 24 runs*.
The confusion of the result overshadowed the star performance of the night. Malinga took the second-best figures of all time in domestic T20s to help dismiss the Scorchers for the lowest total in Australian T20 cricket. Had Malinga not delivered two wides, he might have claimed the record from the unlikely holder, Somerset's Arul Suppiah.
With intermittent rain throughout the day, Stars captain Shane Warne had no hesitation in bowling first on a lively wicket. It paid dividends with four wickets in the first four overs. James Faulkner had Herschelle Gibbs dropped first ball as it reared off the gloves and went through two sets of hands, that of wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb and first slip Cameron White, although it was incorrectly ruled leg byes.
Gibbs fell three balls later for a duck, bunting a full-pitched ball back to Faulkner. Malinga then knocked Marcus North's off stump out of the ground the next over, before Faulkner induced a nick off Simon Katich to leave the Scorchers reeling at 3 for 7.
It became 4 for 16 when the debutant Marcus Stoinis closed the face on one that seamed away and parried a leading edge to gully. Another T20 debutant Cartwright and veteran Adam Voges tried to salvage the innings and got through the next four overs unscathed. Enter Warne, with his supposed bruised ego from opening night. His control of a slippery ball was, well, Warne-esque. He delivered the perfect slider to Voges to trap him lbw.
Having held Malinga back for the middle order, Warne called upon his trump card the following over to finish off the innings. A brilliantly disguised slower ball had Cartwright spoon a catch to midwicket. Malinga then delivered a thunderbolt outswinger past the edge of Nathan Coulter-Nile before trapping him plumb in front with another superb slower ball.
Malinga's fourth and last over was another exhibition in deception. Tom Triffitt fell in identical fashion to Coulter-Nile, before Joe Mennie became the sixth victim for the Sri Lankan as another slower ball hit the base of off stump.
Extras was the third-highest score for the Scorchers as their total of 69 eclipsed the previous lowest Australian T20 total of 71, which New South Wales managed three seasons ago at the same venue.
The chase began nervously as Simon Katich dropped Luke Wright at mid-off the third ball. Wright then smashed five boundaries, the same number the Scorchers managed, in the next eight deliveries before the heavens opened and mass confusion reigned.
After the drama, the Stars won their first match of the tournament while the Scorchers started their campaign with back-to-back losses.
*09.07GMT, December 14: This article has been updated.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth