For a period of time James Faulkner’s ability to close out an innings was so statistically unparalleled he was dubbed “The Finisher”.
And true to form, The Finisher was in full flight on Friday night, steering his ladder-leading Hobart Hurricanes to a thrilling final-over victory in Perth.
Requiring 16 to win off the last over, the 28-year-old closed it out in just three balls, whacking three boundaries to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
Faulkner’s unbeaten cameo of 28 off 20 balls was reminiscent of the famous one-wicket win he led Australia to with three balls to spare in the second ODI of England’s unsuccessful 2013/14 Ashes tour.
And brought back memories of the nine times out of 11 successful ODI run chases he’s been part of for Australia where he’s hit the winning runs.
The allrounder played down his role in steering the ‘Cane train home, crediting veteran George Bailey for anchoring the innings with his 39-ball 69.
“The boys have been giving me a bit of stick about how many balls I’ve been facing in the nets of late because I’ve hardly had a hit this BBL,” Faulkner said.
“So it was nice to get out in the middle - mind you having said that I wanted to kick the stumps over - I was on about six or eight (and) I couldn’t lay bat on ball at all to save myself”
“All in all, it was a good chase, and I thought Bails (Bailey) batted exceptionally well with his cool, calm head.”
Not only did Faulkner finish the match, he also started it in scintillating fashion taking three wickets in his opening two overs.
Faulkner had the Scorchers in severe strife after Cameron Bancroft was caught at point for a three-ball duck, before he trapped Michael Klinger in front two balls later, though ball tracking revealed Klinger may have had a slice of misfortune.
But the biggest of Faulkner’s scalps came when he pocketed the wicket of in-form batsman Ashton Turner, who was forced to depart for just two, with his side stranded at 3-7.
A late burst of power-hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile (31* off 15) sent Faulkner’s final over for 20 runs including three sixes, leaving him with figures of 3-36 to go with his 28-run knock.
He was perhaps unlucky to miss out on player-of-the-match honours, which instead went to Bailey.
The Hurricanes next face the reigning champions Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval on Monday night, in a rematch of last season's final.