The Perth Scorchers have won their fifth Big Bash title in dramatic fashion after a nail-biting five wicket victory against the Brisbane Heat on Saturday night.
In a truly wild contest it looked certain to be ending in a fairytale for the Heat, but the Scorchers proved why they’re the number one franchise as they pulled a rabbit out of the hat as a new cult hero of Australian cricket emerged.
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The Heat had earlier set the Scorchers 176 runs to win as nerves around the Perth crowd grew when the home sides innings got underway.
After losing three wickets in the early going it looked as though the trophy would be heading to Brisbane, but Josh Inglis and Ashton Turner had other ideas.
The duo paired up for a barnstorming 80-run stand before the wheels truly fell off for the Scorchers.
Inglis was caught in the deep before Turner was left stranded in the middle of the wicket and sent on his way.
But then came Cooper Connolly and Nick Hobson miraculously teamed up for a 40-run partnership from 16 deliveries to secure the win.
In what was only his fourth professional outing, Connolly was the rockstar the Scorchers needed and got the crowd off their feet as he helped guide the team home with 25 runs from 11 deliveries.
Recap all the action below.
9.45pm – Perth star’s unforgivable brain fade
The Perth Scorchers simply cannot afford to throw wickets away in what is a tense run chase, but that’s exactly what opener Stephen Eskinazi did.
After being called through for a quick single by Cameron Bancroft, Eskinazi strolled down the wicket and nonchalantly put his bat down at the crease.
But Brisbane Heat fielder Max Bryant was alert and pounced on the ball and threw down the stumps at the bowlers end.
As replays began to roll it became evident the opener had been found short of the crease with the relaxed nature coming back to bite him.
ABC Sports’ Akash Fotedar wrote: “Terrible awareness! That’s really poor running.”
Bet365 wrote: “Stephen Eskinazi that’s unforgivable in a Big Bash final.”
9pm – ‘Biggest upset in BBL history’ looming
The Brisbane Heat have set the Perth Scorchers 176 to win the Big Bash final in front of their home crowd.
In a see-sawing innings it was the Heat applying the early pressure before the Scorchers wrestled back the momentum.
Max Bryant then strolled to the crease and produced the fireworks as the Scorchers fans began to sweat as the scoreboard ticked over.
Bryant slammed the bowling attack to all parts of Optus Stadium as he raced to 31 runs, but he went for one too many and was sent packing.
Matt Kelly then made it two in a row for the Scorchers as momentum flicked back to the favourites in the dying stages.
AJ Tye finished proceedings with the ball and bowled a near perfect over, giving up 11 runs and picking up the wicket of James Bazley.
8.45pm – Bryant unleashing on the Scorchers
The scoreboard is entering dangerous territory for the hometown team as Max Bryant begins to loosen up the shoulders.
The dominant Bryant raced to a rapid 20 runs from only eight deliveries as he puts the bowlers to the sword.
8pm – Heat come out on fire
The Brisbane Heat’s batting line-up was put in the spotlight in the lead up to the clash with many believing it didn’t possess the fire power to trouble the Scorchers.
Despite a nervous start from Josh Brown who edged three deliveries in the opening over, the runs kept ticking over.
A quickfire 25 from Brown came to an end after 12 deliveries as he attempted one big shot too many.
Sam Heazlett and Nathan McSweeney then joined forces and continued on their way as they put the Scorchers attack under fire.
The Australian Test squad was revelling in the action from India as they all huddled around to watch the contest unfold.
Brown’s opening over brought out plenty of love from fellow Brisbane Heat players with Marnus Labuschagne attempting to pull them into line.