<
>

How Scorchers plotted the Sixers' downfall

Jhye Richardson celebrates with Ashton Turner Getty Images

12-2-31-6

These, remarkably, are Mitchell Johnson's combined figures from his last three Big Bash games. After his outrageous performance in the semi-final win over Melbourne Stars, he insisted that he did not have the aura of old. But all the signs here suggested Johnson was wrong. His first ball did Daniel Hughes for pace, and the opener was not off the mark until his fifth. Next over, Nic Maddinson panicked and Michael Lumb edged behind; Sixers were three down. Before the launch of his excellent counterattack, Haddin played Johnson's third over with plenty of respect, and it cost just once. Again, he had Scorchers off to a flyer. Again, he could barely be hit off the square.

Maddinson's moment of madness

Since being dropped from the Test side, Maddinson has had a forgettable BBL. In seven innings, he has made 75 runs off 68 balls, reaching double figures just thrice and finding increasingly interesting ways to get out, not least when he was bowled by Joe Burns in the semi-final. He managed to combine all of that here. Before he had faced a ball, he was nearly run out, then got solidly in behind one from Johnson. He turned his second ball behind square for one. Or not. He completed the run, then - seemingly the only man keen to get on strike to Johnson - called Lumb through for a second. Jhye Richardson swooped round from fine-leg, and threw sharply to Sam Whiteman who took the bails off. Not even a desperate dive was enough.

Scorchers' selection success

Speaking of Richardson… The 20-year-old right-arm quick has been one of the BBL's breakout stars, but he faced being overlooked for the final due to the return of Jason Behrendorff, Scorchers' all-time leading wicket-taker. But Justin Langer and co backed their man, and he had his best game yet. He was brought on to bowl straight after his brilliant run out and found four dots in an over that cost eight, before returning to the attack with Sixers' fightback in full flow. First, he had danger man Brad Haddin caught at midwicket, a classic Scorchers wicket, with a sharp bouncer, the second in succession. Then off the next over, he struck a double blow, with Moises Henriques also caught at midwicket, and Jordan Silk finding third man. Sixers' top six were gone, and Richardson ended with figures of 3 for 30.

The flying start

Scorchers looked to determined to win the game in the powerplay. Sam Whiteman showed Ben Dwarshius' first over respect, but laid into Jackson Bird, with three fours and a six to the short leg side boundary. Then Dwarshius was mauled, with a pair of sixes behind square on the leg side. Not even the introduction of Nathan Lyon and Sean Abbott, the competition's top wicket taker and young player of the year, could stem the flow as Michael Klinger got stuck in. By the end of the powerplay, Scorchers were 61 without loss, Sixers were looking ragged, and Klinger had hit a ball so far it took three minutes to recover. The game was as good as done.

The cruise

Whiteman fell stumped to Lyon, but it was too little, too late for Sixers. Out came Ian Bell, oozing class to finish the job alongside an emboldened Klinger, with both hitting heftily down the ground and pulling anything short. As Klinger nailed Johan Botha down the ground for six and instantly leaped for the sky, the most comprehensive BBL win ever was completed and even on a sweltering Perth day, the Scorchers had barely broken sweat.