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Big Bash the perfect tonic for Cartwright

Scorchers allrounder hopes his exciting knock against Melbourne Stars can finally kick start his summer

Highly rated Western Australian Hilton Cartwright says the KFC BBL season is the perfect tonic to what, by his own admission, has been a disappointing start to his summer.

The two-Test batsman struck his first Big Bash League half-century in front of a sold-out WACA crowd to lead the Perth Scorchers to a 15-run victory over the Melbourne Stars on Boxing Day.

While his 53-ball 58 was not the blazing innings that typically wins BBL games, Cartwright's knock turned out to be the difference in a low-scoring affair where both sides refused to give an inch with the ball.

The knock also reaffirmed the prevailing view held in the west – and increasingly the rest of Australia – that Cartwright’s unique brand of power combined with a level-headedness at the crease has him destined for greater things.

Having been entrusted with a more prominent role up the order for the reigning BBL champions, the 25-year-old is hoping his knock on Wednesday can kick-start his summer.

"This is probably the first season I will have a decent crack (up the order)," Cartwright told cricket.com.au.

"Hopefully I can get a few more runs on the board.

"Having an opportunity – it's one thing if you get the opportunity and it's another thing to take grasp of that and do really well."

Cartwright crunches fifty for the Scorchers

Batting at first drop, Cartwright was at the crease in the first over of the match and the Scorchers were soon reduced to 3-10, leaving the normally boisterous home crowd silenced.

The right-hander gave a glimpse of his immense power when he effortlessly deposited Australia limited-overs paceman James Faulkner for six over mid-off.

Cartwright goes huge, well caught in crowd

Along with captain Adam Voges (35 off 31), the pair put on 83 in a bit more than 10 overs in a gritty stand that gave the Scorchers' world-class bowling unit enough runs to play with.

"In hindsight it was actually quite a tough wicket," Cartwright told cricket.com.au. "I was getting a little bit frustrated because I wasn't having a free-flowing game.

"But it ended up being a decent total and our bowlers were able to bowl well to get us over the line."

Only weeks ago, Cartwright might have been expecting to not play in the BBL at all after being tipped by the likes of Ricky Ponting to retain his spot at No.6 in Australia's Test side for the Magellan Ashes.

He was overlooked after failing to press his case in the opening rounds of the JLT Sheffield Shield and while he's optimistic he can still reach the heights of his breakout 2016-17 season, Cartwright admits the BBL is a welcome escape from the rigours of red-ball cricket.

"It's definitely been disappointing," said Cartwright, who has scored 216 runs at 21.60 in five games for WA this season after racking up 861 runs last summer.

"Last year I'd only made about 60 more runs at the same point, so I'm trying not to think about the past and what's coming up too much.

"In Shield cricket you can get focused too technically and get caught up on your past innings and how you're going.

"The Big Bash has definitely been good for me, I've just been able to release a bit. 

"I can go to training and just practice my six hitting or other bits and pieces."

Those other "bits and pieces" may well have been his fielding if his catch to remove the dangerous Marcus Stoinis was anything to go by.

With Stoinis coming off 99 in the Stars’ previous match, he pulled an Andrew Tye delivery out to the leg-side as Cartwright flew off the boundary rope and pouched the ball with two hands diving forward.

Cartwright hauls in outfield beauty

Scorchers and Warriors head coach Justin Langer admitted he’s in awe of Cartwright's ability in the field, while also labelling him one the state's most important players.

"His fielding – I would seriously pay money to watch him field. I love watching him field. It's unbelievable," Langer told reporters.

"That catch tonight – extraordinary. Along with the Marsh brothers and Cameron Bancroft, he's one of our most important players. 

"He's so powerful and he's just starting to learn this game. He can clear the ropes as good as anyone in Australian cricket. 

"He just keeps learning the rhythm of T20, he is so valuable." 

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