The Stars’ ambitions of making the KFC T20 Big Bash League final were thwarted at the Furnace tonight in front of a sellout crowd after a brilliant bowling display from the Perth Scorchers ensured the Stars fell 18 runs short of the required 145.
The fairytale run of five consecutive victories for the Stars came to an end closing the curtain on an unforgettable BBL|04 comeback campaign.
The Scorchers won the toss and chose to bat first on a firm Furnace track. But the loss of early wickets to the Stars inside the first six overs and late wickets at the tail-end of the innings enabled the men in green to reduce the home side to a gettable 7/144.
However, ultimately the task of chasing down the target proved too difficult, with the Scorchers’ bowling exploits on full display, a cornerstone to their game.
Initially the Stars began brightly with leading BBL|04 wicket-taker (16 wickets) John Hastings (3/27) silencing the Furnace crowd when he broke through removing Michael Klinger in just the second over for five.
Captain Cameron White then combined with Hastings two overs later dealing the home side another blow when Adam Voges was brilliantly caught at cover for three. (Scorchers 2/20 after four overs)
Pressure built on the men in orange, as Jackson Bird applied the clamps bowling a tight and consistent line.
The Scorchers were 2/29 at the end of the sixth, however, they then upped the ante after the power play accelerating to 2/69 off ten overs.
Michael Carberry and Shaun Marsh (35 off 34) guided the Scorchers through the middle overs partnering up to score 68 from 52.
From overs 13-15 the Stars were able to regain the momentum that they had developed earlier in the innings snaring two pivotal wickets, with the Scorchers threatening to unleash.
With one of the best economy rates in the tournament Michael Beer again showcased his T20 bowling ability, removing the dangerous Carberry in virtually identical fashion to Marsh at the end of the 15th.
The only Scorcher inclusion for the match, Nathan Coulter-Nile (22 off eight) provided some fireworks for the home crowd with some late big-hitting lifting the Scorchers’ total.
Late wickets from the Stars’ bowlers, including a phenomenal final-over maiden from Clint McKay enabled the men in green to peg back the ascendency heading into the batting innings.
The opening pairing of Cameron White and Luke Wright (31 off 25) started forcefully scoring nine off the first over.
The Stars openers continued to play smart cricket with 11 coming off Coulter-Nile’s second over, including two boundaries.
However, when White was caught behind for 13 off the bowling of Yasir Arafat in the seventh over the Stars’ chase was halted momentarily.
As he has done countless times throughout the BBL Kevin Pietersen wowed the crowds from the moment he entered the crease.
Pietersen (31 from 27) produced one of the shots of the tournament, bringing the run chase to life with a breathtaking switch-hit for six that travelled 86 metres, lifting the Stars to a promising position at the half way point.
The Stars struck a significant roadblock when Wright and Peter Handscomb both fell to Andrew Tye (4/14) in the 11th over. The Man-of- the-Match was an ever-present thorn for the Stars batsmen.
The loss of Wright triggered a batting collapse with the Stars crumbling to 6/95 after being evenly placed at 1/64 after ten overs.
Hastings seized his opportunity, striking a big six bringing the Stars back into contention. He produced a cameo knock of 22 off 15 to almost will the Stars to victory.
We would like to thank our Members and fans for their continued support throughout BBL|04. We’ll see you again in BBL|05!