Hobart Hurricanes 6 for 178 (Bailey 69, Hardie 2-25) beat Perth Scorchers 9 for 177 (Whiteman 68, Faulkner 3-36) beat by four wickets
Masterful batting at the death by James Faulkner bookended his spectacular opening bowling onslaught to lead Hobart Hurricanes to a nerve-jangling victory over a shell-shocked Perth Scorchers at Perth Stadium.
Faulkner claimed three wickets in his first seven deliveries to leave Scorchers reeling at 3 for 7 before the home side recovered to post a seemingly sizeable total of 9 for 177.
In an unpredictable contest, Hurricanes looked out of the chase on several occasions and needed 16 runs off the last over against Scorchers ace bowler Andrew Tye.
Enter Faulkner, who lived up to his moniker of ‘The Finisher’ as he needed just three deliveries to seal a memorable victory and move top-of-the-ladder Hurricanes a step closer to a finals berth.
The stinging defeat leaves BBL powerhouses Scorchers (three wins and six losses) in jeopardy of missing the knockout stages for the first time.
Faulkner tears through Scorchers
The match was slightly delayed due to the ODI at the MCG going the distance and Scorchers’ innings started with India still needing 14 runs to complete a series triumph.
Those who tuned in late missed Faulkner run through Scorchers’ vaunted top-order with a masterclass of swing bowling. Once a mainstay of Australia’s limited-overs teams, the 28-year-old reminded everyone of his talents removing Cameron Bancroft (0) with the third delivery of the match as the in-form opener hit straight to gully.
Faulkner struck two balls later when he trapped struggling opener Michael Klinger lbw for a golden duck with a gem of an in-swinger. Klinger, however, could consider himself unlucky after replays showed the ball would have missed the stumps and had also pitched outside leg.
A luckless Klinger, the BBL’s all-time leading scorer, fell off the seventh legal delivery of a Ben Dwarshuis over last start against Sydney Sixers and has scored a miserable 115 runs during a wretched campaign.
Faulkner’s most important scalp came in his next over with the prized wicket of Ashton Turner for two. With another biting in-swinger, Faulkner deceived Turner who who had smashed 210 runs in his past four innings.
Archer’s horror show, Scorchers’ counterattack
Despite a horrendous start, Scorchers did not revert to conservatism with Sam Whiteman counterattacking Faulkner impressively by smashing two huge sixes in the fifth over. Whiteman combined well in a 77-run partnership with Hilton Cartwright to get Scorchers back into the match but they were aided by monumental struggles from quick Jofra Archer.
The 23-year-old’s spell ended prematurely after bowling two beamers in his first 10 deliveries. He received a warning in his first over after miscuing a slower ball full toss to Whiteman before repeating the dose.
Archer had also misfired on his fourth delivery with a short delivery flying way over Whiteman and resulting in a free hit. He conceded 19 runs during his brief bowling spell as his lacklustre campaign continues.
Hurricanes, however, recovered by picking up four wickets from overs 12-to-15 as the Scorchers slumped to 7 for 117 before dynamic batting at the death from Tye and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who smacked consecutive sixes off the last two balls, lifted Scorchers to a strong total – a score unimaginable after the first 13 deliveries.
Short falls early
D’Arcy Short, the BBL’s leading run-scorer, has spurred Hurricanes’ sizzling start to the season with his imperious batting setting the tone at the top. There was added spice in the contest with Short playing against some of his Western Australian teammates, who hoped to have inside knowledge in how to stop the rampaging southpaw.
There was much resting on Short after Matthew Wade fell in the second over, but he was unable to find his groove against a weakened Scorchers attack minus Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Ashton Agar.
Short (13) perished attempting a trademark belligerent hoick off Andrew Tye’s second delivery leaving Hurricanes in a hole at 2 for 40.
Debutant Caleb Jewell took it upon himself to revive the visitors with a slew of shots marked by sweet timing. Jewell (32 off 20 balls) was feeling confident after smashing an Aaron Hardie delivery for a huge six but fell two balls later in the seventh over as Scorchers took control of the contest.
Bailey fights gamely before Faulkner’s heroics
Hurricanes’ chances looked dire when Simon Milenko fell at 5 for 96 in the 13th over but George Bailey summoned his wealth of experience to ensure a tense finish. He put the foot down against spinner Usman Qadir in the 14th over with a six and two boundaries as Scorchers’ inexperienced attack started faltering under pressure.
Bailey found willing support through Faulkner and inched Hurricanes within 25 runs of the target until the match flipped again when he was caught behind off Tye in the 18th over.
Hurricanes appeared to be up against it needing 16 runs off the final over before Faulkner’s finish for the ages. He hit Tye’s first ball for six over fine leg and then smoked a boundary on the next ball to move Hurricanes closer.
Faulkner memorably iced the match with a straight six to trigger scenes of jubilation from the Hurricanes players amid stunned silence at Perth Stadium.