Quantcast

BBL|13 review: Scorchers miss three-peat but ‘bullish’ on list

Perth Scorchers again proved a BBL force this season, but ultimately struggled to execute in the big moments

While they failed to scale the Big Bash summit for a third straight season, Perth Scorchers are confident they’ve got the group to get there again next summer.

The Scorchers’ KFC BBL|13 campaign ended abruptly, bamboozled by the Adelaide Strikers leg-spinners at home in the Knockout final after narrowly missing a top two finish and associated double-chance.

It was the first time since 2019-20 that they hadn’t reached the Big Bash decider.

In a season that still had several highlights, including some devastating knocks from Laurie Evans and the continued rise of Aaron Hardie, in the end they failed to seize the initiative when it mattered.

Evans smacks Scorchers' fastest fifty in absurd knock

"Ultimately we fell short in key moments throughout the tournament where in the last couple of years we’ve been pretty good there," WA Cricket high performance general manager Kade Harvey told cricket.com.au.

"We were probably just a little too reliant on too few throughout the whole campaign."

Much like last season, Adam Voges’ side were forced to deal with a number of key personnel issues, with captain Ashton Turner ruled out of the rest of the campaign with a knee injury in just their third game, before star quick Jhye Richardson suffered a season-ending side strain.

Unlike in BBL|12, when an even deeper injury crisis rocked the Scorchers' squad, they were unable to shake it off.

Pope bamboozles Scorchers in stunning Knockout final display

However aside from strengthening their top order, the Scorchers forecast few changes to their list, which they believe will see them back at the top of domestic T20 cricket in Australia.

“(We’re) still really confident and bullish on the group that we’ve got and our ability to bounce back next year,” Harvey said.

BBL|13 result: Third (6 wins, 3 losses, 1 no-result), defeated in Knockout final by Adelaide Strikers

 

Most runs: Aaron Hardie (334)

 

Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Laurie Evans (189.61)

 

Most wickets: Jason Behrendorff (16)

 

Best economy (min 10 overs): Hamish McKenzie (6.10)

 

Contracted: Ashton Agar (contracted until the end of BBL14), Jason Behrendorff (BBL14), Cooper Connolly (BBL14), Aaron Hardie (BBL15), Josh Inglis (BBL14), Matt Kelly (BBL15), Mitch Marsh (BBL14), Lance Morris (BBL14), Jhye Richardson (BBL14), Ashton Turner (BBL14)

 

Out of contract: Liam Hassett, Nick Hobson, Hamish McKenzie, Sam Whiteman, Andrew Tye

International impact

Dubbed the ‘King of Bazball’ by the West Australian newspaper prior to his Scorchers debut, England Test opener Zak Crawley made a stirring start for the club, smashing an unbeaten 65 off 46 balls at home against the Hurricanes. However from there he struggled to maintain that level, scoring 90 runs across five innings and – perhaps more surprisingly – at a strike rate of just 92.78.

Fellow Englishman Laurie Evans was, alongside Adelaide’s Jamie Overton, perhaps the most impactful international signing across BBL|13. Evans’ incredible strike rate of 189.61 was the clear highest among batters in the league, as he singlehandedly drove the Scorchers in a number of games. A third Englishman, Stephen Eskinazi, couldn’t quite get going in his limited starts, scoring 44 runs in four knocks.

Season recap with high performance GM Kade Harvey

'Fell short in key moments'

"When you win two tournaments in a row, you’re used to winning games and big moments and ultimately this year we weren’t able to do that. Certainly the last couple of years we’ve had challenges, player movement and different things, and this year we (again) went pretty deep in the tournament in the home-and-away (season) to be pretty close to finishing second. In the end we felt like it was a missed opportunity to not get the second chance in the finals, and then it becomes pretty cut-throat when you’re playing a sudden-death final first up. So look, we’re disappointed but also proud of the group and feel like we did a lot of things right. But ultimately we fell short in key moments throughout the tournament, where in the last couple of years we’ve been pretty good there.”

Failure to spread the load

"We were probably just a little too reliant on too few throughout the whole campaign… we probably struggled to find a consistent combination up top, and we felt like we left a lot to Josh Inglis, Aaron Hardie and Laurie Evans. Laurie bailed us out a few times, and Josh and Aaron were particularly good early in the tournament. They probably found themselves in the game earlier most of the home-and-away season than what you’d like to be …

"We clearly missed Ashton Turner. We’re not going to shy away from the fact that we not only lost him as a leader of our group and captain, but we also lost his finishing ability. That was a hole I think most teams would struggle to fill, someone who has that sort of experience."

Turner exits after first delivery with knee issue

Aaron Hardie’s ascension as skipper

"We had in the back of our mind that Ashton was going in with a knee that wasn’t 100 per cent but we felt like we could nurse him through the summer. We felt comfortable in our leadership development I suppose over a longer period that between Aaron and Josh and the senior players, that we had the leadership skills to cover the gap as best we can … I think Aaron did a great job. He’s been part of leadership groups in WA cricket for quite a while."

Hardie flexes muscle with dominant 85 not out

Team’s ‘resilience’ a positive

"It’s still really pleasing that given we lost some key personnel; if you asked us halfway through the year we thought Mitch (Marsh) might be available, we had Jhye Richardson and Ashton Turner (injuries). We had some key people missing, so the resilience and strength of the group to, in the last game, still be in the hunt to finish top-two, was a real positive.”

Cooper Connolly’s crack at opening

"We were mindful of who we had up top, and thought with his finish last year and being from Perth that we’d give him a crack up top early on in the tournament. He probably just didn’t look quite as comfortable as what we saw when he went back through the middle. We feel like he’s got the ability to bat anywhere from one and six really, but certainly what we saw in the second half of the tournament was how damaging he can be at the back … our guys are still really open to the idea of, down the track, he might get further up the order. But I think in the short term he looks really comfortable in that middle order role."

Squad gaps

"Shoring up our top order is probably still our biggest priority in terms of finding the right combination to open the batting. If you look through our best team, it’s a pretty powerful (number) three to seven, and we’ve just got to probably find a better way to get away in the various conditions that we play in. So I think that’s probably an area, whether that’s with domestic talent or we look at that through the draft … we feel like we’re pretty strong in the allrounder stakes, our spin has been pretty good and our group of quicks is pretty strong. So we feel like we have good depth in most areas of the group."

Every wicket: Lightning Morris lights up BBL with express pace

Looking ahead

"(We’re) still really confident and bullish on the group that we’ve got and our ability to bounce back next year. But it does come with a weight of expectation when you’ve been successful over a number of years."