Perth Scorchers 157 for 2 (Inglis 67*, Hardie 65*, Bartlett 1-31) beat Brisbane Heat 155 for 6 (Bryant 36, Behrendorff 3-21) by eight wickets
After captain Ashton Turner elected to bowl on a batting-friendly Gabba surface, Behrendorff led a typically disciplined Scorchers attack to thwart the return of Australia Test players Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Renshaw.
Inglis and Hardie then chased the sub-par total of 156 with ease in a brutal 132-run partnership as defending champions Scorchers claimed their second win over Heat in four days.
Behrendorff claims 100th BBL wicket
For the second straight game against Heat, Scorchers were thrashed early and Turner decided to use returning left-arm spinner Ashton Agar in the third over.
It failed to do the trick with Agar, who usually bowls after the powerplay, as he conceded 13 runs.
Scorchers would have been in worse trouble if not for Behrendorff, whose in-swinging deliveries targeting the leg stump were kryptonite for rampaging opener Josh Brown.
The left-arm seamer bowled five dot deliveries in a row at one point before dismissing Brown, who unluckily played on in a tangle much like David Warner against Tim Southee at the recent T20 World Cup.
Behrendorff then dismissed Labuschagne and Renshaw with help from superb catches from Stephen Eskinazi and Andrew Tye.
He impressively mustered all his experience to limit Heat during the power surge as Behrendorff joined Tye as the only Scorchers bowlers to have claimed 100 BBL wickets.
Bryant overshadows returning Test players
Struggling Heat needed a tonic and the return of captain Khawaja, Labuschagne and Renshaw fitted the bill. But switching formats just three days after the third Test against South Africa proved difficult amid an underwhelming Heat display in favourable conditions.
Khawaja opened in his debut for Heat after crossing from Sydney Thunder on a multi-year deal. He struggled early and was hit in the helmet after attempting a scoop shot. He also survived a confident shout for caught behind off Behrendorff that wasn’t reviewed. Khawaja then built a platform but couldn’t convert and so too Renshaw.
Labuschagne, who sports an underwhelming BBL record, entered at No.3 and started sedately before holing out to deep cover.
Inglis has point to prove
Scorchers were in trouble at 25 for 2 after the powerplay, but the pressure was released when Khawaja gambled by using part-time spinner Labuschagne in the fifth over.
Inglis smashed a six off his first ball then struck consecutive boundaries in a momentum-changing over. He was in sweet touch and showcased his deft use of the feet by counterattacking spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, including one gorgeous six over cover.
Wicketkeeper-batter Inglis notched his third half-century of the BBL season and this would have been particularly satisfying, having earlier in the day missed out on Australia’s upcoming Test tour of India.
He combined superbly with Hardie, who started with an elegant drive to the boundary en route to his second straight half-century against Heat. Scorchers passed the target with 22 balls to spare, with Hardie sealing the deal with a six.
Johnson menaces on BBL debut
The left-arm quick bowled particularly sharply, with one delivery clocked at 147kmph, as his great height extracted considerable lift from a benign surface.
The 27-year-old had played in the 50-over Marsh Cup previously for South Australia and was on Adelaide Strikers’ list last season. For many, however, it was the first time they had watched Johnson in action and he showed enough to warrant a sustained run with Heat.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth
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