Perth Scorchers players were probably wishing they were still curled up sleeping at the airport after copping an embarrassing eight-wicket hiding from the Melbourne Stars at Optus Stadium.
The Scorchers were skittled for 86 off 13.5 overs on Wednesday night – the franchise’s third lowest total in its BBL history.
In reply, the Stars reached the victory target with 48 balls to spare, finishing at 2-89.
Opener Marcus Stoinis (39no off 31 balls) led the way again, just four days after his unbeaten 147 off 79 balls against the Sixers.
The Stars’ seventh-straight victory has put them in the box seat to finish in top spot.
As for the Scorchers, there’s plenty of soul searching to do before they fly to Melbourne to take on the Stars in a rematch.
The Scorchers’ insipid performance could be blamed on their horror preparation for the match.
Already dealing with a torrid travel schedule, the Scorchers had another spanner thrown into the mix due to the bushfire crisis.
The Scorchers’ flight from Melbourne to Perth on Tuesday was delayed by more than five hours due to smoke, meaning players returned home less than 24 hours before their match against the Stars.
Vision emerged on Tuesday afternoon of Scorchers players attempting to sleep on the floor of Melbourne Airport while waiting for their rescheduled flight.
The lengthy trip back to Perth clearly had an effect, with Scorchers batsmen committing a host of brain fades.
Stars paceman Jackson Coleman snared the scalps of Mitch Marsh (7), Tim David (3) and debutant Jaron Morgan (1) as the Scorchers slumped from 1-39 to 6-68.
Matters didn’t improve for the Scorchers, whose tail-enders struggled against Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (2-7 off three overs).
Coleman finished with 3-16 off three overs in a superb effort.
Scorchers opener Josh Inglis (37 off 19) top-scored for the home side, with Cameron Bancroft (10 off 19) the only other player to reach double figures in front of 25,074 fans.
The Scorchers’ plight was summed up by Cameron Green, who was run out for four by Haris Rauf after failing to stretch forward to make his ground.
It was a wasted opportunity for Green, who had been promoted to No.3.
The Scorchers at least avoided their lowest score of 69, set in 2012 against the Stars, and their second-lowest total of 79 in 2019 against the Melbourne Renegades.
But their batting flop will raise serious questions about their finals credentials.
SCORCHERS’ LOWEST TOTALS:
* 69 v Stars at WACA Ground, 2012
* 79 v Renegades at Optus Stadium, 2019
* 86 v Stars at Optus Stadium, 2020
* 103 v Renegades at Docklands, 2018.