Big Bash League: Perth Scorchers’ six key moments in championship-winning campaign
From COVID outbreaks to last-minute fixture changes, late call-ups, unlikely heroes and a 50-day stint away from home, Perth Scorchers’ BBL11-winning campaign was like no other.
Big Bash writer Jordan McArdle takes a look at six big moments during an against-the-odds fourth title for the Scorchers.
December 8, 2021
After failing to score a BBL half-century in his previous 27 matches, ex-Test batter Kurtis Patterson announced himself for a breakout tournament with a career-best 78 in the season-opening win over Brisbane Heat at Optus Stadium which ended up being the Scorchers’ only game in Perth before 15 on the road.
It was one of four 50-plus scores for Patterson in BBL11 on his way to a franchise-high 391 runs in 13 hits. Seamer Matthew Kelly, who didn’t play at all the previous season, was another fringe player to step up with a player-of-the-match effort of 4-28 to kickstart his 14-wicket campaign.
January 4, 2022
In a sign of the COVID-19 times, the Scorchers’ BBL10 final replay against two-time reigning champs Sydney Sixers on the Gold Coast was moved forward two days in a last-minute fixture scramble after Brisbane Heat, who were supposed to play the Sixers that day, had several players return positive rapid antigen tests.
Perth only had about six hours to prepare but still managed to dig their way out of deep trouble at 5-69 with Aaron Hardie the hero with the bat, scoring a career-high 45 off 24 balls, and young quick Lance Morris having his best game in orange including two power-play wickets.
The win was all the more impressive considering Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis were called up for Australian duties a few days earlier, while Nick Hobson (COVID) and Kelly (close contact) remained in Melbourne.
January 9, 2022
Exactly a month into their road trip, the Scorchers knocked off the Sixers in Coffs Harbour despite only having 12 fit players to choose from including one of three imports.
Tymal Mills returned to home to prepare for England’s T20 series against West Indies, New Zealander Colin Munro caught COVID and left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff was a close contact.
Captain Ashton Turner led from the front with a match-winning 69 off 41 balls and young gun Hardie chipped in before Chris Sabburg, a mid-tournament replacement player in his first BBL appearance in 2921 days, hit the winning runs.
January 14, 2022
Perth’s injury and COVID crisis hit a new low when Victorian grade cricketer Brayden Stepien was called in to take the gloves midway through a tough loss to the Strikers at Adelaide Oval while he was 20 minutes down the road at the beach.
With the Scorchers’ two recognised glovemen, Inglis (Ashes duties) and Cameron Bancroft (COVID) unavailable, Englishman Laurie Evans was named to ‘keep but suffered a broken toe while batting which nearly ended his season.
Sabburg did it for the first six overs before Stepien, part of the local replacement player pool, got there to finish the job.
Because he wasn’t named in the Scorchers’ 13-player squad, they were later docked their Bash Boost point earned in the match.
January 17, 2022
After several weeks of uncertainty, Ashes squad COVID call-ups Marsh and Inglis were finally released from Australian duties.
Marsh didn’t miss a beat in his return, producing his fourth player-of-the-match performance in six games with a typically-brutal 59 off 34 balls as the Scorchers reeled in Brisbane Heat’s score with eight balls to spare in their regular-season finale to finish minor premiership with an 11-3 record.
The news got even better when reigning Simon Katich medallist Jhye Richardson became available for finals after the Ashes wrapped up.
January 28, 2022
The Scorchers celebrated their 50th day on the road and captain Turner’s 100th BBL game with a record fourth title at Marvel Stadium.
Turner and Evans completed a successful recovery mission from 4-25 with a century fifth-wicket stand.
Pace duo Andrew Tye and Richardson did the damage with the ball, taking three and two wickets respectively to help roll the Sixers for 92.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails