The score: Perth Scorchers 4-114 (Hilton Cartwright 47no, Ashton Agar 26no; Michael Neser 2-18) defeated Adelaide Strikers 112 (Alex Carey 44; Ashton Agar 3-19, Matthew Kelly 2-13) with 10 balls to spare
Match in a tweet: Agar, Cartwright help the Scorchers overcome some nervous moments to topple the ladder-leading Strikers in Alice Springs #BBL07
The hero: Perth Scorchers spinner Ashton Agar delivered a career-best T20 performance to strangle the Adelaide Strikers, returning 3-19 from his four overs – the first time he has taken three wickets in the shortest format. The 24-year-old removed Colin Ingram, Jake Lehmann and Jono Dean, taking his season tally to six wickets at 26.16 apiece. The fact Agar is conceding only 5.81 runs an over – an outstanding economy rate in T20 cricket – means he is a vital member of a Scorchers side chasing a fourth KFC Big Bash League title. Agar also produced an important innings with the bat after the Scorchers slipped to 4-43, finishing on 26 not out from 29 balls in an unbroken 71-run stand with Hilton Cartwright.
The support cast: Cartwright backed up his superb 65 not out in a losing cause against the Sydney Thunder with another unbeaten hand that eased his teammates’ nerves. The Scorchers experienced a top order collapse on a tricky wicket that offered plenty for the bowlers, but Cartwright absorbed the pressure to finish 47 not out from 44 balls, including two fours and two sixes. Matthew Kelly (2-13) and Tim Bresnan (2-14) were also vital in their team’s triumph in what was a terrific bowling display.
The consolation effort: Only wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey (44 from 32 balls) offered meaningful resistance with the bat for the Strikers, hitting consecutive sixes off Joel Paris in the sixth over, with just four batsmen managing double figures in a forgettable outing. Carey has punched out a score of 40 or more four times this tournament and is a dangerous proposition at the top of the order. Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan also produced another strong display for the Strikers, grabbing 1-15 from four overs and befuddling Ashton Turner with a superb wrong ‘un. His economy rate in this tournament is a remarkable 5.09 and he has 12 wickets to his name.
The moment: With the Scorchers at 4-89 in the 16th over, Peter Siddle had Cartwright caught on the deep square leg boundary before realising, much to his horror, he had overstepped. The key wicket could have given the Scorchers a chance of pulling off a memorable win. Instead, Cartwright hammered the next delivery (a free hit due to the front-foot no ball) for six and from there the contest was over.
The catch: Ben Laughlin is the leading wicket-taker in the history of the BBL, but he is also a gun fieldsman. Here is his latest effort…
The catch II: An inventive shot from Jake Lehmann didn’t go to plan after Mitchell Johnson put in a superb diving effort to hold on to this hanger…
The run out: Scorchers pair Cameron Bancroft and Michael Klinger combined to remove Strikers batsman Jonathan Wells, with the wicketkeeper displaying his athleticism in an effort likened to South African fielding great Jonty Rhodes.
The fantasy wrap: Agar was rewarded for his fine all-round performance with 114 points, while Neser finished on 74 and Kelly and Cartwright 71 apiece.
The next stops: The Strikers will be looking to rebound when they take on the in-form Hobart Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, while the Scorchers’ next match is also against the Hurricanes next Saturday.