The Scorchers are the first team to advance to the BBL decider following a Josh Inglis masterclass and a Sixers horror meltdown despite Ben Dwarshuis’ sparring blow.
The Sixers went 10-140 on 19.2 overs in their chase after the Scorchers went 3-189, with Dwarshuis scoring a record 66 from 29 balls for a No.9 batsman.
The Scorchers went 3-189 from 20 overs after winning the toss and striking first at Marvel Stadium, with Inglis best scoring 79 after a club-record opening partnership with Kurtis Patterson.
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SIXERS FIZZLE IN RUN CHASE DESPITE DWARSHUIS WONDER KNOCK
Justin Avendano was the first man out for the Sixers for a third duck after skiing one to Josh Inglis off Jason Behrendorff at second.
Opening partner Josh Philippe clipped one to Jhye Richardson in the third for five-for-eight balls to wobble the Sixers at 2-8.
Behrendorff had his second in the fourth when Jordan Silk cut one at a wide slip to be out for one on five to make it 3-11.
“It turns into a nightmare in the early stages of this chase,” Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket.
The nightmare continued when debutant Nick Bertus was knocked down by Ashton Agar for four out of seven to make it 4-21 in the seventh.
Dan Christian threw a first six pitch which was dropped by a fence jumper into the crowd in hilarious scenes.
However, he was caught in the deep for seven days to make it 5-34 with Agar recovering his second scalp.
Things got even worse when the Sixers fell to 6-41. A slower ball from Richardson got Moises Henriques past the ball, with Richardson posting numbers 2-5 at 2.2 overs at the time.
A stellar pitch from Ashton Turner at halftime wore Sean Abbott down for three as the slump continued quickly, with the Sixers falling to 7-55 from 12 overs.
“They were brilliant, the Scorchers,” Gilchrist said.
Michael Vaughan said: “I don’t think you can bowl and play on the pitch and be as intense a group as what we saw at the Scorchers. If there is a blueprint of what you should look like in a T20 game on the pitch as a bowling unit and a pitching unit, I think the Scorchers are giving us that display tonight.
“It was almost the perfect night,” said Michael Hussey.
Dwarshuis hit 18 on his first six balls – a Peter Hatzoglou over – but the Sixers never looked in the chase.
Dwarshuis beat the all-time high by a No. 9 on the way to his first BBL half-century to give the Sixers some positivity heading into their next game.
Dwarshuis hit 50 on just 24 balls, including five fours and three sixes.
Richardson, Behrendorff, Agar and Tye all grabbed two wickets apiece for the Scorchers, while Hatzoglou had one as the bowlers all split the spoils in a convincing victory.
Inglis has been crowned deserving man of the match and the Scorchers are now awaiting the winner of the Sixers’ clash and the winner of the Thunder’s game against the Strikers.
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SCORCHERS OPENERS EXTEND IN HUGE BLOW
In the innings for the Scorchers, Kurtis Patterson smashed his fourth half of the tournament, including four fours and two sixes from just 33 balls to set the tone for the game.
However, he was outplayed by his opening partner Inglis who completed a half-century 32-ball run, including four fours and a towering six.
Patterson and Inglis’ 120-run opening partnership was a record for the Scorchers in a final and set the team up for a monster total.
Patterson was eventually out for 64 of 41 balls when he was caught by Dan Christian bowling Hayden Kerr.
Inglis was finally puzzled by Josh Philippe on an intentional wide from Steve O’Keefe in the 18th, but not before breaking 79 of 49 balls, including nine fours and a six.
In a late appearance skipper Mitch Marsh broke 28 of 21 balls, including four to four, before being caught by Moises Henriques to give Kerr his second scalp of the night.
Kerr finished with numbers 2-37 to take his tally for the season to 24 wickets.
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LATE CHAOS ROCKS SIXERS
On the eve of the game, the Sixers were rocked by the news that fly-half Jack Edwards had been forced into solitary confinement just before the bat flip after his brother Mickey’s RAT result was “inconclusive”.
Sixers star Daniel Hughes was also injured attacking high balls on the boundary rope during the game’s warm-up, casting doubt on his ability to take the field.
Hughes was officially ruled out on the eve of the first ball with an ankle injury, with Nick Bertus making his debut in place.
“Daniel Hughes is missing from tonight’s final,” Kath Loughnan said on Fox Cricket.
“It was his ankle that he injured during the warm-up when he tripped over the limit rope.
“Nick Bertus will come from the player replacement pool and will make his debut for the club tonight.”
Loughnan also revealed that Hughes’ injury could see him miss the rest of the series finale.
“He’ll have to go for CT scans, but speaking to Sixers medical staff, there’s a chance Hughes won’t play again this season,” Loughnan said.
The horror start was made worse by the BBL’s call to block Steve Smith’s bid to play in the final series, with Nathan Lyon expressing his disdain for the decision.
“I think it’s ridiculous not to have our best players in the BBL final,” Lyon said.
“It’s ridiculous and I’m happy to say it. I don’t know if there will be any repercussions, but it’s ridiculous.
Top of the table Perth host second-placed Sydney Sixers in a blockbuster final at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, with the Scorchers winning the flip bat and batting first.
The winner will advance to the next round of finals and go straight to the final while the loser will have to beat the winner of the Thunder’s clash with the Strikers to advance to the final on Friday, January 28.
The Scorchers have been the in-form team all season, losing just three games in their 14 regular season encounters.
The Sixers have lost four games in the regular season but are the two-time defending champions and have the advantage of experience as they go for an all-time treble.
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Mitch Marsh and Colin Munro have been the Scorchers’ best batsmen, while Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye will be the dangerous men with the ball.
Josh Philippe and Moises Henriques were the Sixers’ top scorers, while Sean Abbott and Ben Dwarshuis were in rare form with the ball.
The Sixers are still reeling from the decision to bar Australian star Steve Smith from the final series and will have a point to prove against the searing Scorchers.
This sets the stage for a tantalizing clash between the two competition heavyweights with a place in the 2022 BBL Finals up for grabs.
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