After 34 matches of enjoyable and often intense T20 cricket, we are left with the Perth Scorchers and the Brisbane Heat to battle it out for the BBL02 title at the WACA Ground on Saturday night. At certain times of the competition, this match up would have been thought of as an impossibility. Both franchises experienced extreme highs and lows during the tournament and will obviously continue based on the result.
The Heat went into its game as against the Renegades as rank outsiders and triumphed mainly due Luke Pomersbach producing the highest score of the competition, a scintillating 112 not out from 70 balls. As we stated in the last article, a large Pomersbach contribution was required and he didn’t let his team down. 183 was always going to be difficult to run down and although the Renegades chased bravely, consistent wickets saw them fall 16 runs short.
While the Scorchers were at times impressive, they certainly weren’t as convincing as the Heat. The Cameron White and Brad Hodge partnership looked to have taken the game out of Perth’s reach, having scored 90 runs off the 32 balls prior to the rain break. While Perth were originally set 187 off 18 overs, a second rain break saw the Duckworth/Lewis system formulate a generous 139 off 13 overs. The Scorchers certainly didn’t start how they wanted. In fact, at one stage the Scorchers were out to $12.00 before Shaun Marsh’s 27 run onslaught of Alex Keath’s solitary over saw the match turn on its head. Then came the extraordinary final over bowled by stand in “captain” James Faulkner. Needing 10 runs to win, Mike Hussey was dropped first ball and caught out of his ground fourth ball had Handscombe hit the stumps, before Faulkner consolidated and restricted Perth to needing 3 runs from the final ball. After Warne and White stood at the top of James Faulkner’s mark pointing and barking instructions, they failed to notice John Hastings walking back to deep fine leg leaving only 3 fielders inside the circle. Unaware, Faulkner came in and bowled a perfectly executed wide yorker that Adam Voges couldn’t make contact to, only managing a ran through bye. Of course, the outstretched arm of the umpire brought the premature celebrations of the Stars to an end quickly. To add insult to injury, Faulkner bowled a front foot no ball that made the amateurish situation even more embarrassing. Hussey went on to hit the free hit over mid on and complete what can only be described as one of the more dramatic cricket finishes of all time!
Round 1: 3-1
Round 2: 4-0
Round 3: 1-3
Round 4: 3-1
Round 5: 3-1
Round 6: 3-1
Round 7: 2-2
Round 8: 2-2
Semi Finals: 1-1
Total to date: 22-12
Final. Perth Scorchers ($1.58) vs Brisbane Heat ($2.39) at the WACA Ground, Saturday January 19th.
Starting Time: 17:00 (local)
The Perth Scorchers lead all encounters 2-0.
Previous Encounter (December 18th, 2012)
Brisbane Heat 4/109 from 13.1 overs (Lynn 51, Christian 37no, Thomas 2/15, Beer 2/17)
Perth Scorchers 1/51 from 4.2 overs (Coulter-Nile 23no)
The Scorchers won by 9 wickets.
There isn’t much to take from the previous encounter of these two teams earlier in the tournament. The match was marred by rain after the Heat were beginning to build what was looking like being an above par score. Duckworth/Lewis again came up with an easier than expected formulation, with Nathan Coulter-Nile finishing a slow start with a blistering 23 from 6 balls.
The Perth Scorchers have continued to improve with every match they play, despite mainly relying on Shaun Marsh and its well structured bowling attack to perform consistently. The depth of the batting has certainly strengthened with Mike Hussey coming in for the semi final and taking on wicketkeeping duties mean the inconsistent Triffitt has been dropped. Adam Voges looks in great touch, while Katich and North have been solid when needed. While the bowlers had their first real off day in the semi final with a slippery ball, Thomas, Coulter-Nile, Beer and Hogg probably offer the best flexibility in the league and share 40 wickets between them while Behrendorff has looked at home since earning a spot. They’ll bounce back.
Luke Pomersbach is obviously the man of the moment for Brisbane. He has scored 194 runs from 112 balls over the last two games and it can be argued that he single handedly gave the Heat a finals birth. A 5 ball duck in the first game against Perth will see him determined to score big on his return to WA to prove some of his previous doubters wrong. Joe Burns has recently provided perfect support to Pomersbach and he’ll need more of the same if Brisbane wants to be competitive.
There will be minimal changes to either squad, but Ben Cutting being released from the ODI squad is great news for the Heat. He is Brisbane’s leading wicket with 11 while also operating with the best economy rate, 6.04 runs per over. His late order hitting can also be a feature. Alister McDermott has been an important wicket taking option since securing his spot back in the side with 8 wickets from 5 games and striking every 13.5 deliveries.
The Scorchers are difficult to beat at the “Furnace”. For Brisbane to win, they’ll need to either get Marsh out cheaply or rely on Pomersbach to score large again. With all that in mind, I believe the Perth Scorchers will be the BBL02 Champions.
Prediction: Perth Scorchers by 25 runs/ 3 wickets
Man of the Match betting.
Shaun Marsh ($5.50) and Luke Pomersbach ($7.00) appear to be the obvious betting options having received 3 MOTM awards each during the tournament. In fact, they are the only players to have received the award multiple times from the two squads.
There are a couple of nicely priced bowlers from each side that I believe offer great value. Alfonso Thomas especially looks good at $14.00. While he hasn’t received a “best on” yet this season, he has been extremely close. 12 wickets from 7 games and an economy rate of 5.95 suggest he is due. His 4/8 against the Renegades was pipped by a classy 85 from Shaun Marsh.
Ben Cutting is also great value at $15.00 if the Heat manages to get up and win, although he was MOTM against the Renegades in a losing side. His ability to take key wickets at important moments and hit big in the late order sees him in the game at vital moments.
Safe bet: Shaun Marsh @$5.50
Value best: Alfonso Thomas @ $14.00
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk. Odds quoted are from Sports Bet.
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