In a sensational contest at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, Mitchell Marsh hit a six off the last ball of the match to lead the Perth Scorchers to a thrilling six-wicket win over the Dolphins in Match 4 of the Oppo CLT20 2014. The Dolphins had posted 164-7 batting first, banking on their strength of being able to defend well. After some sensible batting from the Perth Scorchers’ batsmen right through the innings, it needed two spectacular hits from Marsh – off the last final two deliveries – to wrest the match from the grasp of the Dolphins right at the finish line. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M4 - DOLPHINS V PERTH SCORCHERS)
Marsh, who walked in to bat just before the half-way stage of the run-chase, had scored 27 from 23 balls before the start of the final over, at which stage his team needed 16 runs from six deliveries. Ashton Agar was dismissed off the second ball of the final over when his scoop landed in the hands of short fine-leg. Ashton Turner picked up a brace and a single off the next two deliveries to turn the strike over to the set batsman. Marsh didn’t disappoint, depositing the penultimate ball of the innings – a low full toss – over the midwicket boundary. The 22-year old knew what was coming next – yet another full toss – and successfully hit it straight into the sightscreen to spark off wild celebrations in the Perth Scorchers camp.
The Scorchers’ run-chase started poorly when they lost skipper Adam Voges cheaply. However, Craig Simmons and Sam Whiteman wrested the initiative back almost immediately through a 55-run partnership. The former was the more dominant of the two batsmen, using his muscle-power to find the fence frequently. Simmons, made 48 from 36 balls and looked good for a big score, before a sensational catch by Cameron Delport brought the curtains down prematurely.
Whiteman, who played second-fiddle when Simmons was going after the bowling, then took charge. He picked up six boundaries and hit the third-longest six of the competition, before he was dismissed by a sharp catch by Daryn Smit in the outfield. He made 45 from 32 balls and dominated the 49-run partnership with Mitchell Marsh.
The Scorchers were very much in the game heading into the final stretch of the contest. The team from Down Under needed 47 runs from 25 balls when Whiteman was dismissed. That came down to 16 from the final over, 12 from two balls and six from the final ball. That’s when Marsh, who remained unbeaten on 40 from 26 balls, obliged to gave the Perth Scorchers their second win in nine outings in the Champions League T20.
Robbie Frylinck, who was at the receiving end of those two Marsh sixes, and Kyle Abbott, were the pick of the Dolphins bowlers. Frylinck had conceded only 16 runs in his first three overs before conceding 16 more in his final over. Abbott, who accounted for the wicket of Voges, conceded 25 runs in his four over spell.
Earlier in the evening, Khaya Zondo’s unbeaten 63 was the pillar on which the Dolphins built their 164. Losing three wickets early on meant the Dolphins would take time to build their innings.
Zondo, who came out to bat in the second over and was involved in five useful partnerships, took time to get going; it wasn’t until after he had faced 20 balls that he scored his first boundary. Following that crisp drive through cover off Brad Hogg, Zondo made concerted attempts to increase the tempo of the innings. With some smart thinking – using the depth of the crease, changing his stance frequently or standing well in front of the crease – in a bid to upset the bowler’s length, he picked up frequent boundaries in the latter half of his innings. After crawling to 21 from 27 balls, the 24-year old added a further 42 from the next 23 balls to finish unbeaten on 63.
Keshav Maharaj (29) and Daryn Smit (21) were the other noteworthy contributors in the Dolphins middle-order, while Andile Phehlukwayo (14 from 11 balls) and Robbie Frylinck (15 from 6 balls) accelerated at the end. 67 runs were added to the Dolphins score in the last six overs, as they finished their 20 overs at 164 for 7.
Joel Paris, Jason Behdrendorff and Yasir Arafat were the Perth Scorchers bowlers to get among the wickets. But it was only Paris who returned with respectable figures; the 21-year old left-arm quick, who topped speeds of 140kph consistently, conceded only 21 runs in his four-over spell and picked up two of the first three wickets to fall.
Perth Scorchers win by 6 wickets
Brief Scores: Dolphins 164-7 in 20.0 Overs (Keshav Maharaj 29, Khaya Zondo 63*, Jason Behrendorff 3-46, Joel Paris 2-21, Yasir Arafat 2-42) lost to Perth Scorchers 165-4 in 20.0 Overs (Craig Simmons 48, Sam Whiteman 45, Mitchell Marsh 40*, Kyle Abbott 1-25).
Man of the Match: Mitchell Marsh, for his unbeaten 40 off 26 balls
Voges: "What a finish to an incredible game, for Mitch to hit two sixes, you don't get much better entertainment than that. They kept coming at us, we bowled really well up front before a poor last 4 overs. We found ways to win games during the Big Bash when we maybe shouldn't and we will take a lot out of this."
van Wyk: "You are sometimes on the wrong side of it in this game and all credit to the Scorchers for finishing like that. I feel for Robbie, but he is part of the reason why we are here and we always back him to come back strong. I am proud of the way we hung in there and our team will take a lot of confidence from this."