Sleeping BBL giants the Perth Scorchers continued their soaring climb with an exciting 17-point victory over the competition leading to Sydney Thunder in Perth on Saturday night.
The Scorchers lost their first three games, but have now won four straight games, dropping from seventh of eight pre-game teams to fifth place and in the final.
“Four in a row, look outside, there they are,” Brad Haddin said on Fox Cricket.
“They needed a loved one, they needed to see if they could keep their cool under pressure.
“And they did.”
Ahead of the competition, Mark Waugh said the Scorchers deserved to be considered favorites and on Saturday he said he would pick a Scorchers-Thunder rematch in the final.
Despite the loss, the Thunder remain at the top of the table, just ahead of city rival Sydney Sixers, who has a game going.
“They’ve got what it takes, after a really slow start,” Waugh said of the Scorchers.
“It was a great test against the in-form team in the competition.”
Kiwi slugger Colin Munro (50 of 41) and Ashton Turner (31 of 13) were the mainstays of Perth’s impressive 6-185 total in front of a large crowd at Optus Stadium.
Thundering fast Brendan Doggett – a forgotten man of the Australian game – took 4-22 of his four assists, but the Sydney spinners were unable to repeat their recent success on a generally quick and bouncy Perth pitch.
In response, England importer Sam Billings threatened to win the match on his own, smoking 83 to 48 before his thin-leg paddle attempt from AJ Tye grazed his pad and erased the strains.
“It’s great and I think it won the game for them,” Brett Lee said of Tye, who finished 2-28.
Scorchers speedster Jhye Richardson was even more impressive with the ball, taking 4-24.