Shaun Marsh leads Scorchers to semi-final with fine fifty

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Shaun Marsh’s half-century gave Perth Scorchers a home semi-final.

When Perth Scorchers arrived for their last league game on Saturday (January 21), they came in as the favourites against Hobart Hurricanes. A win would have secured them a spot in the semi-final, with the added incentive of playing at home. Hobart, though, needed a win but even that wouldn’t have sealed a berth in the knock-out, with their luck dependent on a few other results. Chasing an in-between total of 135 to win, Perth romped home in a canter, riding on a 82-run stand for the second wicket between Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger.
Earlier on the final day of the league stage of the Big Bash, Perth won the toss and invited Hobart to bat first. It took Mitchell Johnson less than two overs to draw the first blood, sending Tim Paine back into the hut for only five runs. Paine, had hit the left-armer for a boundary in the first over but the paceman returned in his next over to enjoy the last laugh. Ashton Turner, who took the new ball from the other end, was taken for two fours by D’Arcy Short, setting the ball rolling for the batting unit.
Johnson, with a spring in the stride, removed Ben McDermott with a fiery short ball that climbed up to the batsman, only for him to top edge a pull to long leg. In no time, Hobart were two down for 31 in five overs. While D’Arcy Short went about finding boundaries with ease, there was hardly any support from the other end. Bailey was dropped by Turner at long off in the ninth over, but the former Australia limited-overs captain failed to cash in on the reprieve.
D’Arcy Short dragged one back onto the stumps off the bowling of Tim Bresnan, throwing away a crucial start in the tenth over. Bailey, followed suit, when Turner redeemed himself with a stellar effort at long off again. He took the catch at the edge of the ropes before going over, just tossing the ball towards Bresnan in the nick of time for the burly fast bowler to pouch it. Hobart failed to arrest the fall of wickets as Daniel Christian holed out to long off in the next over from Adam Voges.
Jonathan Wells came out swinging, picking up regular boundaries and once Beau Webster was dismissed with five overs to go, Clive Rose joined the party to give the Hobart total a facelift in the late overs. Together, they struck six boundaries and a six to lift Hobart to 134 for 6, a decent total considering they were struggling at 88 for 6 at one stage.
However, 135 was never going to be a tough ordeal for the Scorchers, who despite losing Sam Whiteman as early as the second over, won the game rather comfortably. Rose, bowling his first over to Whiteman, took a one-handed stunner on the follow through to dismiss the keeper-batsman, who had already hit two fours in the first over of the chase. Klinger started off confidently picking up two boundaries inside the first ten balls he faced to provide the chase some momentum.
Shaun Marsh wasn’t someone to shy away as he picked Rose for a four and a six off consecutive deliveries to put the pressure totally on Hobart. Jake Reed, who was bowling his first boundary, ran into Marsh to concede three boundaries in a row. Perth by then had reached 59 for 1. With a mighty heave over the on side field, Marsh raised his fifty but Klinger fell in the same over, trying to play the slog sweep, only to find the fielder at short fine leg.
Adam Voges walked in at number five, and hit three sixes and a four off Cameron Boyce to take Perth to within a sniffing distance of a semi-final spot. This came right after Marsh edged a drive to Paine to fall for a well-compiled 57.
Ashton Turner, who came in to complete the formalities, hit two fours in the 14th over before Voges picked up a single to finish off the run chase. Perth secured a seven-wicket win, and also sealed a semi-final spot for themselves. However, Hurricanes were knocked out of the tournament, after this loss.
Brief Scores: Hobart Hurricanes 134 for 6 in 20 overs (D’Arcy Short 36, Clive Rose 29*; Mitchell Johnson 2-15, Tim Bresnan 2-20) lost to Perth Scorchers 135 for 3 in 13.5 overs (Shaun Marsh 57, Michael Klinger 29; Clive Rose 1-28) by seven wickets.

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