Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Perth Scorchers continue to do what they do best.
Even when it seemed as if they had not made enough runs, their high-quality attack, led by five wickets from Andrew Tye, found a way to defend 142 and defeat Melbourne Stars.
Tye claimed the spoils, as he did against Sydney Sixers, but all five of the Scorchers bowlers were frugal. They delivered 53 dot balls between them with no bowler conceding more than 7.5 runs per over.
They found a way with the bat too, after being reduced to 3 for 10 in the fourth over. But Hilton Cartwright and Adam Voges steadied the innings with an 83-run stand and some late hitting from Ashton Agar gave the bowlers the buffer they needed.
Scorchers dealt their own medicine
In last season's semi-final at the WACA, the Stars' top order slumped to 4 for 26 against Scorchers in the Powerplay. The Stars got their own back after choosing to bowl first on Tuesday evening. James Faulkner and Michael Beer bowled six overs between them to take 3 for 29.
Faulkner swung the ball into the right-handers first up and then induced an outside edge from Will Bosisto with one that angled across. Michael Klinger, on return from personal leave, and Ashton Turner, Man of the Match against the Sydney Sixers, were victims of a build-up of pressure. There were nine dot balls bowled in 13 deliveries before Klinger holed out to mid-on and three more in the next four before Turner played all over a straight ball from Beer.
The left-arm spinner finished with extraordinary figures of 1 for 14 from four overs with 15 dots. Faulkner, having only bowled one over in the Stars' loss to the Brisbane Heat, took 2 for 19 from his three overs.
Cartwright and Voges rebuild
Just as he did in the win over the Sixers, Voges provided a cool head in a crisis. Having walked out at 3 for 10, he maneuvered the ball into gaps and ran brilliantly between the wickets to take the pressure off Cartwright. Voges' ability to keep the scoreboard ticking gave Cartwright the time he needed to find his groove. The allrounder possesses power very few others do, but it has not translated into short-form cricket in the same way it has in first-class cricket. He absorbed 21 dot balls in his 53-ball 58. But unlike previous efforts he offset the dots with five fours and two powerful sixes. If he can find a method to turn those dots into singles and twos and lift his career strike-rate from 107 to above 130, he could become a very damaging player in this format. But his first T20 half-century proved the difference in this game as no other player in the match passed 35.
When Cartwright fell with 16 balls remaining in the innings, Agar picked up the slack. His 33 not out from 21 balls proved an equally valuable contribution and turned a potential sub-130 total to something defendable.
The Scorchers never, ever panic. Not even when Ben Dunk square-drove the first ball of the chase for four. Mitchell Johnson adjusted his length and zipped the next four balls past Dunk's outside edge. He found the edge with his first ball of the third over to start the rot.
Then Tye's changes of pace were called upon for a rare appearance in the Powerplay. He was fortunate to pick up Peter Handscomb. A well-struck hook shot carried all the way to the rope but Bosisto produced a stunning catch, deliberating throwing the ball to himself while he stepped outside the rope and then back in. Wright was then deceived by a slower ball later in the over. When Maxwell was bowled by Jhye Richardson, the Scorchers had exceeded their key performance indicator of three wickets in the Powerplay. It allowed them to deliver the next seven overs at the cost of just two boundaries and Agar raced through his four overs for just 18. Tye picked up the dangerous Marcus Stoinis, again to another brilliant outfield catch from Cartwright.
The trademark squeeze
The Stars needed 83 from the last 10 overs but with only five wickets in hand. James Faulkner, Rob Quiney and John Hastings are capable of such a heist but Voges again used his resources superbly. He brought back Johnson and Tye earlier than expected to raise the run-rate beyond 10 an over. Tye then had 17 runs to defend in the last over. He gave up just four and picked up his fifth wicket to help his side to a second-straight win.