Returning Marsh stars in Scorchers success

Adrian Warren |

Newly crowned BBL minor premiers Perth Scorchers moved ten points clear at the top of the table after the returning Mitch Marsh blasted another quickfire half-century in their six-wicket win over Brisbane Heat.

Perth, who were confirmed as minor premiers earlier on Monday, after second-placed Sydney Sixers lost to Adelaide Strikers, reached their target of 156 with eight balls to spare.

Brisbane’s Max Bryant smashed a BBL career-best 81 to give struggling the Heat some hope, but their score of 7-155 at Marvel Stadium never looked enough.

Kurtis Patterson (26 off 20) started well for the Scorchers, striking two sixes over cover and one over the legside before being trapped lbw by Mitchell Swepson (2-19) reverse sweeping.

Marsh, who returned to domestic duty after spending some time with the Australian Test squad, then took over, belting 59 off 34 balls with six fours and three sixes.

He settled the contest by smashing 35 off the two power surge overs, finishing that section with four successive boundaries.

Marsh added 84 off 57 balls for the third wicket with Colin Munro (24 off 28) before edging the ball onto his helmet with the ball looping up to wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson.

Marsh, who missed the Scorchers previous six games, has scored 314 BBL runs this season at an average of 78.5 and a strike rate of 148.

“I just gave myself a few balls to get back into it and the game situation probably allowed me to do that tonight,” said Marsh, whose last BBL game was on December 28.

“I always think on this wicket you should give yourself a couple of balls to get in, scoring gets easier the longer you bat.”

Captain Ashton Turner (18 not out off 14) and Aaron Hardie completed the run chase, with the latter smashing a six off his only ball to finish the game, with eight deliveries to spare.

Perth finished the regular season with 11 wins despite having to play much of their season away from home.

Bryant’s 56-ball innings accounted for more than half Brisbane’s total, with the hard-hitting right-hander smashing seven fours and four sixes, beating his previous best T20 score by ten runs.

Brisbane, coming off four straight losses, made a flying start smashing 39 off the four power play overs.

Perth fought back in the middle overs, with spinners Peter Hatzoglou (2-17) and Ashton Agar (1-26), and paceman Jason Behrendorff (2-25) pegging back the run rate.

Brisbane gave their innings some much needed momentum by smashing 30 off their two power surge overs.

They then lost 3-12 with captain Peirson (31 not out off 19) the only other Brisbane batter to fire apart from Bryant, finishing with a six off the final ball.

Brisbane took the bash boost point to move one point clear of last-placed Melbourne Renegades, heading into their last game against the Sixers on Wednesday.