Perth Scorchers 7 for 133 (Klinger 37, Willey 31, Hogg 2-16) beat Melbourne Renegades 9 for 130 (Cooper 34, Harris 32, Johnson 3-13, Tye 3-37) by three wickets
Perth Scorchers are a perfect three for three in this season's Big Bash League, and seven for seven against the Melbourne Renegades in BBL history.
But they made hard work of their latest victory. Their batting remains unconvincing in the absence of Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Bancroft, but their bowling is extremely potent as the Renegades found out at the Etihad Stadium.
Mitchell Johnson put on a masterclass of fast bowling, claiming 3 for 13 in four blistering overs, while the Renegades batting collapsed to 9 for 130 after laying a good platform in the first nine overs. The chase looked like another Michael Klinger clinic, as he had done on three previous occasions against the Renegades. But his dismissal followed by Adam Voges' bizarre run-out sent panic through the Scorchers camp. Ashton Turner held his nerve to get it done with six balls to spare and three wickets in hand.
Scorchers' relatively cold start
The Scorchers' Powerplay bowling is pivotal to their success. The Scorchers have taken four wickets in the Powerplay in their opening two wins and kept their opponents under 133 in both games. They looked set to do it again when Johnson ripped the heart out of the Renegades top order. He removed Aaron Finch in the first over and the in-form Cameron White in the third over.
Normally, the Scorchers would nab two more on the back of immense scoreboard pressure but Marcus Harris and Tom Cooper stabilized quickly. Cooper struck the ball as cleanly as any player in the tournament so far. He check drove Jhye Richardson down the ground and laced Johnson to the cover fence. The Scorchers looked in real trouble when Cooper climbed into the tournament's leading wicket-taker Andrew Tye, launching two sixes from the first three balls of the 10th over.
Two bad decisions
The game changed in five balls. The first mistake was from Cooper. Having taken 15 from Tye's over through five deliveries, he decided to try for a third six rather than knock a good length delivery down the ground for a single. He was bowled wiping across the line for 34 off 24 balls.
Four balls later, Harris, who had set himself to bat deep into the innings, was incorrectly adjudged lbw to Ashton Agar from a ball that pitched outside leg and was missing off stump. Voges then called Johnson back to bowl his fourth over before Brad Hodge and Dwayne Bravo got set. Johnson hit Hodge's middle stump with a searing yorker and conceded one from the over. The Renegades fell away quickly, with Tye bagging another three scalps.
Scorchers change the order
The Scorchers openers haven't fired so far in the tournament. They elevated David Willey to open to add some firepower. Willey and Klinger scored 49 without loss in six overs to lay the perfect platform. Klinger showed his class while Willey lined up Cooper, hitting him three times through and over extra cover in the fifth over. After Hogg removed Willey, Agar was promoted to No. 3 to keep the run-rate going. He struck two sixes before Hogg had him stumped.
Not every move worked
Klinger and Voges looked set to cruise to victory. But when Klinger fell to Mohammad Nabi, who bowled four outstanding overs, Hilton Cartwright was sent in ahead of Turner. Cartwright scored just four runs from eight balls before inexplicably holing out on the long-on fence with 22 needed from 26 balls. Voges took control but was strangely run-out. Turner tried to pinch a single after a throw hit the stumps and ricocheted away. Voges' bat stuck in the turf as he tried to make his ground and his foot was short when Tim Ludeman knocked the stump out.
Josh Inglis, in just his second BBL innings, lost his off stump strangely trying to scoop a Dwayne Bravo slower ball when the equation was nine runs off 14 balls. Richardson was run-out in the next over but Turner launched Kane Richardson over backward point for six to avoid the game reaching the last over.