Melbourne Stars 2 for 89 (Stoinis 39 not out, Marsh 1-15) beat Perth Scorchers 86 (Inglis 37, Coleman 3-16) by 8 wickets
Melbourne Stars confirmed their BBL title favourites status with a near-flawless display to crush a weary Perth Scorchers by eight wickets at Perth Stadium on Wednesday.
After electing to bat, the Scorchers were blown away by sustained Stars bowling and scintillating fielding. Opener Josh Inglis (37) scored almost half of the Scorchers’ feeble 86 all out from 13.5 overs in their third-lowest ever score in the BBL.
The Stars cruised to victory in 12 overs, with Marcus Stoinis finishing 39 not out to continue his stellar season.
It was a horror show from the erratic Scorchers, who looked jaded amid a brutal travel schedule exacerbated by being stranded at Tullamarine Airport on Tuesday due to bushfire smoke engulfing Melbourne.
Top of the table Stars (9-1) continued to be the tournament’s trendsetters, while the Scorchers’ (5-5) three-game winning streak ended.
Stars crash through Scorchers’ top-order
The Scorchers spectacularly crashed back to earth after scoring a team record 3 for 213 last start at home. The rot started when Liam Livingstone holed out in the second over off Nathan Coulter-Nile, who made a successful start against his former team.
Talented youngster Cameron Green was promoted, having struggled throughout the tournament batting in the middle-order. The 20-year-old lasted just five deliveries after being brilliantly run out by a direct throw from Haris Rauf in his followthrough.
In-form Inglis, however, made it look easy as he toyed with the bowling, marked by a scoop shot for six off a 149kph delivery from Rauf – an audacious stroke he mastered during his 73 against Hobart Hurricanes in his last game.
Inglis scored 37 of the Scorchers’ first 48 runs before falling innocuously to Glenn Maxwell, as the Stars clawed back late in the PowerPlay.
The Stars gained a stranglehold when a leaping Dan Worrall at backward point dismissed Mitchell Marsh. They made a rare mistake when Cameron Bancroft was dropped on 4 by Stoinis, who had earlier jubilantly celebrated taking Inglis in the deep.
The Stars regained full control when Jackson Coleman picked up Tim David and debutant Jaron Morgan as the Scorchers crashed to 6 for 68 at the midpoint.
Stars complete rout
Bancroft needed to anchor the innings if the Scorchers were to muster a competitive total, but he was run out in the 12th over attempting a risky second run. The crowd was stunned when Sandeep Lamichhane dismissed Joel Paris and Jhye Richardson with consecutive deliveries in the 13th over as the Scorchers stared down the barrel of being humiliatingly bowled out for less than 100.
Fawad Ahmed fleetingly brought some cheer from the ashen-faced fans when he hit a six off Rauf but fell later in the over, as the Scorchers lost 9 for 47 and failed to reach triple figures.
Stoinis guides easy chase
With such a low target to chase, Stoinis and Hilton Cartwright shed the extravagant shots against probing bowling from Richardson as the opening overs were reminiscent of the longer formats. Stoinis, fresh off his record knock of 147, found his groove in the fourth over with four boundaries off Paris to signal his intentions of an early finish.
Fawad caused problems after the Powerplay but was denied a wicket when Green dropped Cartwright at cover. Cartwright, the former Scorchers player, didn’t last too long though, while Fawad received deserved reward when he dismissed Ben Dunk.
It mattered little as a Stoinis-led Stars cruised to a convincing victory with eight overs to spare.