The Perth Scorchers remain unbeaten atop the Big Bash table after a thrilling 21-point victory over the Melbourne Renegades at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday in the site’s second-highest score ever.
Red Mitch Marsh sensational set the Scorchers up with the bat with a whopping 86 on 53 balls, while Laurie Evans finished the visitors’ innings to bring them to a gigantic 5/206.
It was always going to be a huge total to chase down, but the Renegades made it a good first.
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Hard-hitting duo Aaron Finch, who played their first BBL game since the T20 World Cup, and Nic Maddinson went crazy to build a massive 130-race partnership – the biggest in Renegades history and create an exciting competition – while as the latter was dropped on 49 in a key missed opportunity for Perth.
But after wreaking havoc with the bat, Marsh also secured the key to the breakthrough with the ball by brushing aside Maddison from behind, while Ashton Agar took the wicket from Finch soon after.
From there, the Renegades’ running rate slowed as the middle order couldn’t keep up, finishing 5-185 on a total that would have won at Marvel Stadium most other nights.
It was the Scorchers’ sixth victory of the season as a favorite to win this year’s BBL title.
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First innings: Marsh leads Perth to third 200-plus in franchise history
The Scorchers won the bat flip and chose to beat first.
Perth got off to a slow start with opener Josh Inglis only caught for two points in the second round.
But star duo Cameron Bancroft and Mitch Marsh helped build their innings with a 42-point partnership before the former fell behind in a key breakthrough for the Renegades.
However, Mitch continued his spectacular form to climb to 48 of 29 at the end of the 10th as Perth was 2/87 before turning to his half-century soon after.
“He’s (Marsh) in incredible contact right now, they have to find a way to stop him from the Renegades,” Melbourne Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell told Fox Cricket.
“If they don’t bring him out, the Scorchers could score anything from here.”
Nothing the Renegades threw at Marsh could stop him as he continued his dominant innings, charging Perth to total command alongside Colin Munro.
At the end of the 14th, Marsh had 73 of 45 balls at a 162.22 strike rate, including three fours and five sixes, while Perth had 2/123.
He was sorely ruled out on the last ball of the 15th for 86, crushing it in the air to Nic Maddison for extra cover.
“It was an amazing round,” said Maxwell.
Marsh then said, “Very bad termination. Do all the hard work and then you go. Disappointing, but we’re in a great position here.
Ashton Turner and Laurie Evans would power Perth at home in a brilliant 53-point partnership, as the latter hit 42 of 16 balls at a 262.5 hit rate, including four and six in two of the last three.
“Exclamation mark on the sleeves,” said Fox Cricket commentator Corbin Middlemas.
The Scorchers finished 5/206 on strains in an assertive total, marking the third time they have reached the double century in franchise history.
Round two: Finch and Maddinson establish record-breaking partnership, but the task is too big
The Scorchers wasted no time tearing up the Renegades’ batting offense as Jason Behrendorf knocked down Mackenzie Harvey on the second delivery of innings.
Aaron Finch broke in the third, crushing a huge straight six to keep the Renegades in pace.
“It’s great of the Renegades, they are putting the Scorchers on their backs, kind of like Mitch Marsh did with them,” said Maxwell.
“These are danger signs right now, if Aaron Finch is in such good shape, there isn’t much that can stop him.”
Nic Maddinson also activated it for the sinister Renagades as he and Finch stacked on a 79-point partnership in eight bouts.
Maddison was thankfully abandoned on 49 after punching Tymal Mills in the ring in an opportunity that begged the visitors, before raising his 50 soon after.
“A big time this,” Maxwell said of the abandoned capture.
The Renegades were 1-94 in the 10th over the mark to sit ahead of the Scorchers at the same intersection.
Finch went berserk in the 11th, scoring 20 points to discuss his partnership. The partnership between him and Maddinson rose to 121 to set a record for the Renegades’ biggest second-wicket partnership, surpassing the efforts of Cameron White and Marcus Harris (113).
“We are seeing some incredible stroke games here,” said former England skipper Michael Vaughn.
Maddison fell behind in the 13th for 67 as he and Finch’s partnership ended at 130 – the biggest in Renegades history – at a key turning point in the game against Mitch Marsh’s bowling.
Finch fell shortly after failing to shoot long range as he was caught by Behrendorf on the limit for 68.
Melbourne suddenly fell into a hole as Ashton Agar took her second wicket overhead, knocking out Mohammed Nabi lbw.
Agar’s 15th pass ultimately proved critical to continue the game as the wind blew through the sails of the Renegades.
The starts of Finch and Maddinson proved to really slow down the hosts’ innings, as the middle order was unable to keep up the momentum.
Peter Hatzoglou hit two sixes in the last inning, but Melbourne finished their innings 5/185 to miss 21 points.
Burners: Cameron Bancroft, Josh Inglis, Mitch Marsh, Colin Munro, Ashton Turner (c), Laurie Evans, Ashton Agar, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorf, Peter Hatzoglou, Tymal Mills
X Factors: Matthew Kelly, Nick Hobson
Renegades: Mackenzie Harvey, Aaron Finch, Nic Maddinson, Sam Harper, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Mohammed Nabi, Will Sutherland, James Pattison, Kane Richardson, Reece Topley, Zahir Khan
X factors: Jack Prestwidge, James Seymour
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