The Perth Scorchers are chasing 152 for victory in the top-of-the-table clash with the Sydney Sixers at the SCG.
Ben Dwarshuis produced a big six off Scorchers import David Payne’s last ball of the innings to help the home side reach 5-151.
And they got off to the perfect start dismissing in-form Scorchers opener Cam Bancroft for just 1 on the boundary, before Nathan Lyon’s rotten SCG luck rolled on.
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Lyon thought he had Josh Inglis trapped in front, but on review it came back umpire’s call – just like the handful of devastating calls he received in the Test against South Africa at the same venue earlier this month.
Inglis’ (11 off 13) luck only lasted a few more balls as he gave Moises Henriques an easy catch.
Earlier Kurtis Patterson was able to throw the ball back into the field and complete the catch to dismiss Bancroft – all while chatting to Fox Cricket on the mic.
“What a catch!” Brendon Julian praised.
“I was worried we’d distract him.”
Aaron Hardie was then accused of not paying enough attention as he was clean bowled by Sean Abbott to leave Perth struggling at 2-14.
“That’s a rush of blood there from Hardie,” Fox Cricket’s Brad Haddin said.
“The dot ball pressure building up.”
“That’s a windy whoosh from Aaron Hardie,” Waugh added. “Just was not focused on the ball there.
“A loose shot! It actually looked a good shot but he just forgot to hit the ball.”
It was the returning Steve Smith who got the Sixers off to a flyer in his first game in the BBL, alongside fellow Test teammate Nathan Lyon.
Coming out as opener, Smith took to Scorchers star Jason Behrendorff by taking 12 runs off his second over.
He raced to 36 off 27 balls before Stephen Eskanazi pulled in a ripper full-length diving catch.
“Steve Smith throws his head back,” Fox Cricket’s Brad Haddin said.
“Big wicket there for the Perth Scorchers.
“This has been the feature of the Perth Scorchers’ game all year. They’ve taken those half chances and that’s exactly what you need tonight with some one in the form like Steve Smith.”
Commentator Mark Waugh laughed as he watched Peter Hatzoglou’s reaction before the catch was made.
“Hatzoglou thought it was four! His mood changed from anguish to a smile on his face,” he said.
But Josh Philippe and Kurtis Patterson continued to bank the runs after Smith’s departure.
At the halfway mark of the Sixers’ innings, they were 1-76.
As the sky darkened around the SCG with rain threatening, Hatzoglou struck again as Patterson chopped on for 23 off 16.
And just when the Sixers looked ready to take the power surge with Philippe motoring and Moises Henriques settled, disaster struck as the skipper chanced Behrendorff’s arm.
After Philippe drove down the ground, Henriques turned and chanced it against left-armer Behrendorff at mid on.
Tye easily took the bails at the bowler’s end and Henrqiues was caught well short.
“They did not need that the Sydney Sixers. It was straight to Behrendorff!” Fox Cricket’s Brendon Julian said.
“Moises did that off his own bat. I don’t think Philippe wanted to go,” Waugh added.
“Moises was off. He was always going.
“Took the gamble and it didn’t pay off.”
The Sixers took just 14 runs off their power play as Andrew Tye went for just 4 runs in his over.
“I feel like for the last couple of overs, it’s got harder to score,” commentator Brad Haddin said.
Philippe’s innings came to an end on 54 with 12 balls to go, after his ramp went straight to Hatzoglou at short fine leg.
“Just not the pace in the wicket tot play that tonight,” Haddin lamented.
“He stuck in there Josh Philippe.”
Dan Christian (1) was sent packing with five balls to go after he was caught short from a brilliant piece of fielding by English import David Payne.
Payne raced down the wicket side-by-side with Christian before soccering the ball into the stumps.
“Us English boys, we know how to kick a round ball,” Eskanazi laughed as he spoke to Fox Cricket.
Only a big Ben Dwarshuis six off the final ball of the innings lifted the Sixers past the 150 mark.
Pre-game, Lyon’s XI nod has come with controversy after News Corp reported the spinner was initially told he would be overlooked for Sunday night’s clash.
Lyon’s Test understudy Todd Murphy was told he would partner first choice T20 spinner Stephen O’Keefe for the match against Perth – before Lyon was officially named.
The Sixers already boast a wealth of BBL experience in their attack end, and have been able to regularly rest the likes of Sean Abbott and Jackson Bird.
Warner goes for a duck in BBL start | 00:36
Sixers: Sean Abbott, Dan Christian, Ben Dwarshuis, Moises Henriques (c), Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Josh Philippe (wk), Jordan Silk, Steve Smith.
Scorchers: Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Stephen Eskanazi, Aaron Hardie, Peter Hatzoglou, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis (wk), David Payne, Ashton Turner (c), Andrew Tye
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