Perth Scorchers 155 for 9 (Hardie 55, Bird 3-26) beat Sydney Sixers 117 (Kerr 42, Richardson 4-9) by 38 runs
After Hardie’s 32-ball 55 lifted defending champions Scorchers to respectability, Richardson starred with four wickets as Sixers slumped to their second straight loss to start the season.
It was a familiar triumph for Scorchers, who have notched five straight victories over arch-rivals Sixers.
Hardie rescues new-look Scorchers’ batting order
Heading into their season-opener, there was an unknown over Scorchers’ new-look top six with only Josh Inglis and captain Ashton Turner part of their title-winning triumph against Sixers last season.
In his first BBL game in a decade, du Plessis made just 14 as Scorchers slumped to 5-49.
He did exactly that by playing watchfully at first before accelerating superbly during the power surge in the 13th and 14th overs.
Hardie reached his first BBL half-century with a six in a hard-hitting performance that will be noted by national selectors, who rate the 23-year-old highly as underlined by his inclusion in the Prime Minister’s XI team against West Indies last month.
But Richardson struck with the first delivery of his second spell to remove Kerr in a game-changing over costing just three runs. His stellar return was capped by two wickets in the penultimate over to finish with stunning figures of 4 for nine from four overs.
Kerr might need to move up the order
For the second straight game, Sixers’ top-order failed to fire as they crashed to 3 for 9 to somewhat evoke Sydney Thunder’s horror show from 24 hours earlier.
They slumped further before Silk and Kerr’s partnership gave them a sniff but ultimately fell well short. Allrounder Kerr is a genuine batter who memorably lifted Sixers into the grand final last year after an incredible 98 not out as an opener against Adelaide Strikers.
Sixers’ Afghanistan recruits shine with the ball
Sixers were uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball against Strikers. But they hit back with veteran seamer Jackson Bird claiming three wickets in a four-over opening burst in his return.
Naveed, a legspinner, was a surprise selection in the BBL draft but continued to justify Sixers’ faith with a brilliant wrong-un to clean bowl Inglis.
He also picked up the key wicket of Hardie to change the momentum in an impressive start for the 19-year-old who has taken four wickets in two games.
Naveen also menaced with his changes of pace, which accounted for du Plessis as Sixers’ attack restricted Scorchers but it ultimately wasn’t enough.
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