Perth Scorchers 6/173 (20 Overs) v Brisbane Heat @ The WACA
Swepson Steps Up in Absence of Badree
In the absence of Samuel Badree, the Heat looked a little vulnerable with the ball coming into this high octane clash with the Scorchers. Badree is one of the best T2O leg spinners in the world and had controlled the bowling Power Play so well to date for Brendon McCullum. However in Mitchell Swepson - the team's other front line spinner - the Heat have a bowler that is on the rise and showing a lot of self belief. The promising young spinner has some big names like Shane Warne already talking about him in high regard. That can be an added pressure, however he was highly impressive here against a strong and experienced Scorchers batting line up. Swepson claimed 2/27 from his 4 overs including 2 key wickets of Shaun Marsh and Ian Bell on a ground known for being a graveyard for visiting slow bowlers. Swepson really gave the ball a rip and wasn't afraid to use flight and back himself with his wrong'un. Swepson wasn't hit for a boundary until his second last ball when Turner climbed into him and launched him into the stands. To make it as a leg spinner, you need plenty of self belief and to be fearless at times. This kid is one to keep an eye on.
Scorchers Approach Different To Most
Perth play a different style of T20 cricket to some of the other sides in the BBL in terms of their batting strategy. They like to bat first and defend a lead. They have an excellent Top 3 in Michael Klinger, Shaun Marsh and Ian Bell. Three players that are prolific in long form cricket - not often a trait if you go through most BBL team's Top 3 batsman. All three are unlikely to go aerial from Ball 1 or want to take 75 from the first 6 overs. Perth, with their deep batting order packed with power hitters, instead try to get off to a solid start and really explode in the final 10 overs. I don' t think there is anything wrong with that approach at all. They are playing to the strengths of their side. They have the titles and the records in the pocket to show their method works. While it might mean their celling is not quite as high as other teams in terms of scoring 200+, it also means they are more consistent. The Scorchers rarely get bowled out for under 165; they always put up a total that is par or just over par. This then gives their strong bowling line-up every chance, or at least an even chance. Ideally the Scorchers want one of their first three in Marsh, Klinger or Bell to bat deep (into the final few overs) - today they didn't quite nail that with all three out in the first 11 overs.
Mitchell Marsh Finding His Groove
I think whatever was said to Mitchell Marsh after he was dropped from the Test side has really freed him up, and he will be a better cricketer and batsman for it. Marsh is back playing his natural game, which is imposing himself on the opposition straight away with some booming drives and savage cuts. He looks free and clear in the mind. Now that's a lot easier in T20 cricket - what will be challenging is trying to find that mindset and freedom in long form cricket. He needs to bat with exactly the same intent and aggression in 4-day cricket or Test cricket, however it is easier said than done. He has been really consistent in BBL6, and is now the Scorchers' leading run scorer coming in at the perfect position of Number 4. Marsh's mind and method was muddled during the 19 Test matches that he played. While his average of 23 was disappointing, I still think he can become Australia's long term all rounder in the future. Batting at Number 6, the responsibility to prove around the country that he had a tight technique and could bat for long periods clearly froze him up and affected his game. Ideally, Marsh could have batted below a strong wicket keeper at Number 7 and that would have given him a freer mind set. He is such a dynamic cricketer.
Lurker Looking To Bounce Back
The Lurker is looking to bounce back with a bang tonight after a heartbreaking last ball loss last night. He has landed the first leg of his double with Shaun Marsh scoring 25+, however I think he would be a little uncomfortable with Perth's moderate total. Could be staring down the barrel of back-to-back defeats for the first time this year?