Two games in less than 24 hours proved too much for the Melbourne Stars as the Perth Scorchers jumped out to a seven-point lead at the top of the BBL ladder after recording a bonus-point win in Geelong.
Glenn Maxwell’s exit from Covid isolation and return to the line-up wasn’t enough for the Stars to back-up Monday night’s MCG win as the power-packed Scorchers went big in the daytime clash.
After Stars stand-in captain Adam Zampa declared he and his teammates were “pretty flat” his team was forced to front up for a second match just 14 hours after beating the Strikers amid a frantic Covid-enforced fixture re-shuffle.
As the double-up took a toll, the Stars floundered in the chase for a mammoth 3-196 which included 10 sixes and 12 fours from the Perth batters.
Laurie Evans (69 off 46 balls), who received a life on two when Haris Rauf missed a gilt-edged chance to run him out, and captain Ashton Turner (47 not out off 26) were the chief destroyers for the championship favourites with eight sixes and five fours between them.
With Cameron Bancroft sidelined by Covid, Nick Hobson played his first BBL game for the Scorchers in nearly three years and smashed six boundaries in his 36-ball innings for 46 runs.
Melbourne bowlers Clint Hinchcliffe (0-27 off two), who was subbed in for Brody Couch as the X-factor player, Qais Ahmed (0-40 off four) and Rauf (2-38 off four) came in for particular punishment.
In response, the Stars took too long to get going, waiting 19 balls for their first boundary, and failed to get the required run rate under control, despite the best efforts of Beau Webster who opened the batting for the Stars for the first time and hit 63 off 47.
Maxwell managed just five, his fourth single-figure score in a row in games spread out before and after he tested positive for Covid-19.
Perth quick Matthew Kelly ripped through the Stars’ batting order, taking career-best figures of 4-25 off his four overs, including the key wickets of Joe Burns and Hilton Cartwright, as Melbourne ended up on 9-149 after losing 6-43 in 38 balls.
WRONG MAN TAKES STRIKE
At the start of Perth’s power play in the 11th over, Evans whipped Rauf over square leg and into the top tier of the Reg Hickey Stand, but he shouldn’t have faced up because he finished the 10th over at the striker’s end.
Clearly, the umpires and batsmen lost track of proceedings after the drinks break, but the Scorchers ended up taking 18 off the over, with Evans cracking another six and four, in a massive sliding-doors moment which ignited Perth as they pillaged 117 off the final 10 overs.
Hobson, who was at the non-striker’s end, told Fox Sports it was an honest mistake.
BURNS GOES BANG
In the seventh over of the Stars’ dig, Burns said to Evans, ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’, as he smashed Jason Behrendorff (1-26 off four overs) over square leg and onto the roof of the Reg Hickey Stand, hitting the ‘GMHBA Stadium’ sign on the full.
SCORCHERS SCRAMBLE FOR A KEEPER
With Bancroft a late withdrawal for Perth, after confirmation he was a close contact of a suspected Covid case on Tuesday morning, and Josh Inglis unavailable on national duties, the Scorchers ultimately threw the wicketkeeping gloves to Evans.
Hobson ensured Bancroft’s absence in the batting order wasn’t missed.