Recent Match Report – Scorchers vs Sixers 6th Match 2022/23

Perth Scorchers 155 for 9 (Hardie 55, Bird 3-26) beat Sydney Sixers 117 (Kerr 42, Richardson 4-9) by 38 runs

Emerging allrounder Aaron Hardie hit a maiden BBL half-century before a Jhye Richardson-led Perth Scorchers attack defended a modest total in trademark fashion to defeat Sydney Sixers in a grand final rematch at the Optus Stadium.

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.

But the formidable presence of Faf du Plessis was hoped to be an antidote for the shorthanded batting order. Once an antagonist for Australian fans, the 38-year-old was warmly embraced by the parochial Scorchers faithful who turned out impressively to Optus Stadium in contrast to modest crowds at the recent West Indies Test match.

In his first BBL game in a decade, du Plessis made just 14 as Scorchers slumped to 5-49.

The predicament did provide an opportunity for Hardie to get a long stint at the crease. With Mitchell Marsh ruled out for the season with an ankle injury, Hardie was expected to step up after being on the fringes last season.

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.

A nagging heel injury frustratingly relegated him to the sidelines for the past month but Richardson returned sharply. He removed title-winning teammate Kurtis Patterson amid a hostile burst, where he conceded just two runs in his opening two overs.

He wasn’t done, though, returning at a crucial juncture in the 17th over amid the power surge with Jordan Silk and Hayden Kerr giving Sixers unexpected hope with a blistering 75-run partnership.

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.

Batting at No. 7 might be too low for Kerr after his exhibition of clean hitting, where his 35-ball 42 was marked by three big sixes. He also made 13 not out from nine balls in their season-opener against Strikers but could be better utilised by a move up the order.

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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