Scorchers set Sixers 144 for BBL victory

Steve Barrett |

Aaron Hardie’s career-best knock has lifted the Perth Scorchers to a competitive 8-143 against the Sydney Sixers in their top-of-the-table BBL clash at Metricon Stadium.

The Scorchers were in big trouble at 5-69 on Tuesday before Hardie launched late with 45 off 24 balls, combining with Ashton Agar (29 off 20) for an enterprising 49-run sixth-wicket union.

Hardie was dismissed on the last delivery of the innings, with the clash between last year’s finalists in the balance.

The ageless Dan Christian (2-14 off four overs) starred with the ball and in the field for the Sixers, who lost veteran spinner Stephen O’Keefe with a suspected dislocated right middle finger.

The luckless O’Keefe, back from a calf injury, went off for treatment on his finger after Perth opener Kurtis Patterson struck one back fiercely in his direction.

The following over Christian snared Patterson (27) and Laurie Evans (0) in the space of three balls, before taking a marvellous one-handed juggling catch at short cover to dismiss Scorchers skipper Ashton Turner (2).

In-form import Colin Munro was uncharacteristically subdued in a painstaking 27, falling to Hayden Kerr (4-32), who became the new golden-arm leader as the competition’s top wicket-taker.

The Sixers were preparing to take on Brisbane Heat but a last-minute scheduling switch was forced after positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in the Heat squad this morning.

The Scorchers, who crushed 70 from the last six overs, were originally scheduled to take on Sydney Thunder on Thursday but took Brisbane’s spot, with the Heat following PCR testing on all of their players and support staff, to now tackle the Sixers on Wednesday.