Recent Match Report – Stars vs Scorchers 20th Match 2022/23

Perth Scorchers 136 for 4 (Turner 53, Wood 2-29) beat Melbourne Stars 135 (Cartwright 36, Richardson 4-25) by six wickets

Quick Jhye Richardson bowled rapidly to overwhelm Melbourne Stars before skipper Ashton Turner again chased superbly under pressure as Perth Scorchers notched a six-wicket victory at PErth Stadium.

After Stars elected to bat, Richardson was twice on a hat-trick and claimed four wickets to help restrict Stars to a modest 135.

Emerging as the frontrunner to be picked in the Sydney Test match, left-arm spinner Ashton Agar started well before copping late punishment to finish with 1 for 36 off four overs. Scorchers batted cautiously in their chase before easily overhauling the target with Turner smashing 53 off 26 balls to power the defending champions to the top of the table.

Richardson’s hot form continues
In a timely reminder to national selectors, Richardson has been sensational to start the season in a stunning return from a nagging heel injury. He took eight wickets in his first three games before leaving empty-handed last start against Adelaide Strikers.

He was desperate to get back among the wickets but suffered a rare thrashing early against Tom Rogers, who clubbed him for three straight boundaries in the last over of the powerplay. But Richardson struck back with a clever slower ball before trapping Beau Webster lbw first up with a rapid delivery. He put everything into the hat-trick delivery with a ball clocked at 150 kmph dug out by Nick Larkin.

Richardson wasn’t done and in the 14th over he again claimed wickets with consecutive balls. He was firstly aided by a superb catch from Faf du Plessis, who clung onto a skier to dismiss Nathan Coulter-Nile. He then cleaned bowled Luke Wood with a yorker to end the over but was made to wait for his chance at a hat-trick.

He finally returned in the 18th over but was once again thwarted, this time by Trent Boult.

Out-of-form Stoinis struggles, Boult’s career best knock
Without injured skipper Glenn Maxwell, a lot of pressure has been on Marcus Stoinis to fire. But he’s failed to deliver with consecutive ducks to start the season while battling Covid-19.

He then made just four runs in a big home loss to Scorchers before being rested against Sydney Sixers on Boxing Day. Stoinis was hoping for a change of fortune on a ground where he smashed a whirlwind half-century against Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup. With Stars in major trouble, Stoinis couldn’t come to the rescue and fell for 10.

Wickets kept falling for Stars, who looked dead and buried at 8 for 86 before a cavalier 49-run partnership between Hilton Cartwright and Boult gave them a target to defend. Boult was enterprising with a trio of sixes to finish 23 not out off 16 balls in his highest T20 score from 44 innings.

Lyth performs, Turner provides finishing touches
As has been their penchant for years, Scorchers prefer batting first and letting their miserly attack defend with aplomb. Opponents believe they are susceptible to chasing and their only defeat of the season was batting second against Hobart Hurricanes.

Last start against Strikers, they only just got over the line chasing 134 after their top-order batted recklessly. Taking heed from that, Scorchers played cautiously with recruit Adam Lyth anchoring the innings.

Having made just 25 runs in four innings, Lyth was under pressure to retain his spot but blunted Stars attack.

It ensured Scorchers were unruffled despite the early wickets of du Plessis and Aaron Hardie, who was moved up to No.3 but made just 17 in an audition before a possible call-up to Australia’s third Test team.

Lyth got to 35 before he unluckily played on leaving Scorchers with work still to do. Like he did against Strikers, Turner was cool under pressure as he thrillingly clubbed star legspinner Adam Zampa to continue his rejuvenation after a form slump.

Zampa hammered, Coulter-Nile injury concern
Stars copped a hammering against Scorchers last start, conceding 229 – the third highest BBL score ever – and were hoping for a much better effort in an attempt to defend a modest total.

But they couldn’t conjure enough breakthroughs and failed to curb Turner’s hard-hitting towards the end. Zampa copped a rare hammering and was unable to find an answer for a red-hot Turner as Stars slumped to their third straight loss.

Stars will be sweating on a suspected hamstring injury to injury-prone quick Coulter-Nile, who left the field late in the game after he had completed his four overs.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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