Mitchell Marsh came to Perth Scorchers' rescue on Tuesday as they beat Lahore Lions by three wickets in the Oppo Champions League Twenty20. (Also Read: QUICK STATS: M19 - PERTH SCORCHERS V LAHORE LIONS)
The 22-year-old stand-in captain struck 63 not out off 38 deliveries as the Scorchers recovered from 62-7 to chase down 125. Thereby, the Lions' chances of making the last four were ended and the Chennai Super Kings qualified for the semis.
Marsh combined with veteran Brad Hogg (28no off 19) for a match-winning 68-run eighth-wicket stand, with the Scorchers earlier slumping to 40 for 6 in their chasing of Lahore Lions’ 6-124.
In the end, the Lions’ low score allowed Perth to get home, with the Scorchers attack, led by the impressive Joel Paris (3-22) and Marsh (2-12), who reduced the Pakistani outfit to 4-11 inside the first four overs.
Saad Nasim (69 not out off 55 balls) led the revival for Lahore, who needed a significant win to reach the CLT20 semi-finals, before the bowlers caused Perth all sorts of issues.
The Lions’ slow bowlers had the Scorchers top-order rattled, with skipper Mohammad Hafeez returning 2 for 8 from his four overs.
Nasir Jamshed (1), Usman Siddiq (1), Mohammad Hafeez (0) and Wahab Riaz (0) departed early to leave their team reeling at 11 for four.
Nasim, who hit seven fours and a six, rebuilt the innings with support from Umar Akmal (26) and Mohammad Saeed (20) before Akmal was caught in the deep and Paris returned to bowl Saeed out.
Although 125 was far from a stiff target, Perth's top-order batsmen struggled just as much as Lahore's had and they too were in big trouble early on.
Hafeez had Craig Simmons caught by Siddiq without scoring and Sam Whiteman spooned a catch to Asif Raza off Aizaz Cheema.
Left-armer Mustafa Iqbal then struck to remove Ashton Turner (4) and Cameron Bancroft (22). When Ashton Agar was bowled for five by Hafeez and Hilton Cartwright was stumped off Nasim, Perth were 40 for six.
Qualification was still on for Lahore, but Marsh, Yasir Arafat and Hogg had other ideas.
Marsh scored a boundary immediately and after Arafat was run out for three, he combined with Hogg to put on 68 in 41 balls for the eighth wicket and end Lahore's chances.
He then raced to a 35-ball half-century, scoring his 1,000th T20 run in the process, hitting a glorious lofted drive for six to level the scores in the penultimate over.
Hobart Hurricanes will play Kolkata Knight Riders in the first semi-final on Thursday (2nd October) before Kings XI Punjab take on Chennai Super Kings.
Perth Scorchers win by 3 wickets
Perth Scorchers 130 for 7 (Marsh 63*, Hafeez 2-8, Iqbal 2-20) beat Lahore Lions 124 for 6 (Nasim 69*, Paris 3-22) by three wickets
Man of the Match: Mitchell Marsh for his 63 off 38 balls and 12/2.
Marsh: "It probably wasn't the start we would have liked. We were lucky to get over the line and finish with the win. Joel's announced himself at this level, and I enjoyed bowling with the new ball. We'll never hear the end of that Brad Hogg innings! I think the tournament's been fantastic for us. We took both the IPL sides to the final over, and there's a lot to take from that."
Hafeez: "I think we were short of runs on the board, but the spinners brought us back in the game. Mitchell Marsh saw us off though. The plan was to post a big score, but I think we didn't play the right shots at the top of the order. We showed this tournament we have the talent here, and the boys will learn a lot from this tournament. The ball got a little bit wet towards the end, and we had our chances, but Mitchell Marsh was too good."