Two sixes from the final two balls allowed BBL champs Perth to pull off an unbelievable win in their CLT20 opener
Earlier, young left-arm paceman Joel Paris made the initial inroads for the Scorchers with two wickets in as many balls in the second over after Dolphins won the toss and elected to bat.
Next over, his more experienced new-ball partner Jason Behrendorff chipped in with a wicket of his own to have Dolphins reeling at 3-12.
Lance Klusener’s side refused to go into their shell however, Keshav Maharaj leading the fightback with a quickfire 29 (21) before holing out to third man to give Behrendorff a second wicket.
A fifth-wicket counter between Khaya Zondo and Daryn Smith showed some promise before Yasir Arafat chipped in with a wicket, snuffing out Smit’s aggression by trapping the right-hander in front.
With Michael Beer left out of the side in favour of the extra seamer, the Scorchers demonstrated their considerable depth by still being able to call on spinners Ashton Agar and Brad Hogg, while Marsh also featured as captain Adam Voges rotated the bowlers regularly.
None of them however, could get the better of Zondo (63 not out off 50), who held the Dolphins’ innings together admirably.
Together with some late hitting from 18-year-old Andile Phehlukwayo (14 off 11) and Robbie Frylinck (15 not out off 6), the latter of whom hit the final ball for six, the middle-order man was able to steer his side to a competitive total.
Scorchers captain Adam Voges promoted himself to the top of the order in the absence of injured star Shaun Marsh but failed to get going, dismissed lbw for seven in the fourth over.
Adelaide-bound Craig Simmons began his innings circumspectly, moving to 25 at a run a ball, before kicking into gear with a pair of customary sixes before going for one too many and miscuing to be well caught and bowled running back by Cameron Delport.
The wicket brought together Sam Whiteman and Marsh, two of Australia’s most promising young cricketers and the pair who combined for a record-breaking first-class effort for Australia A through the winter.
With Whiteman playing the lead role, the pair upped the ante comfortably, bringing a run rate that had been escalating dangerously down to something manageable as the final overs approached.
At the most of inopportune times though, Whiteman holed out to deep midwicket for a well-made 45 from 32 deliveries.
It left Marsh and his Scorchers team-mates needing 46 from the final 24 deliveries, and that task became ever more unlikely due to some class death bowling from Kyle Abbott and Frylinck.
But that was to discount the brilliance of Marsh, the man of the moment in Australian cricket, who managed to enhance his burgeoning reputation with another show-stealing performance.
Prior to the match, the Scorchers had the disappointing news that they would be without another star allrounder, Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Coulter-Nile underwent surgery on his left hamstring on June 24 and had been making good progress from the injury, but it’s a calf problem that will keep the 26-year-old out of tonight’s match.
“The body feels good,” Coulter-Nile told cricket.com.au ahead of the clash.
“Unfortunately, I’ve missed out this game. I haven’t quite got the match practice under my belt that I would have liked.
“I had a calf injury about three or four weeks ago that set me back a little bit and that’s probably why I’m missing this first game.
“Other than that, the rehab has been very successful.”
The team did receive a late boost on the eve of their tournament opener, with Arafat finally cleared to join the squad after experiencing visa issues.
Perth Scorchers squad: Ashton Agar, Yasir Arafat, Michael Beer, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Brad Hogg, Simon Mackin, Mitchell Marsh, Joel Paris, Craig Simmons, Ashton Turner, Adam Voges, Sam Whiteman.
Dolphins squad: Daryn Smit, Daryn Miles Dupavillon, Cody Chetty, Vaughn Bernard Van Jaarsveld, Khayelihle Zondo, Robert Frylinck, Morne Nico Van Wyk, Kyle John Abbott, Craig John Alexander, Jonathan David Vandiar, Keshav Athmanand Maharaj, Prenelan Subrayen, Cameron Scott Delport, Andile Lucky Phehlukwayo, Bongumusa Sibonelo Makhanya.
via Australia Cricket News