Perth Scorchers 112 for 1 (Bancroft 55*) beat Sydney Thunder 111 (Davies 52, Tye 3-27)
David Warner’s first appearance in the BBL for more than nine years fell flat for Sydney Thunder as tournament-leaders Perth Scorchers cruised to a nine-wicket victory in what is becoming another very impressive campaign.One of their two defeats this season came against Thunder – a surprising loss at home – but once a promising third-wicket stand between Warner and Ollie Davies had been broken that never looked like being repeated. Thunder, who were famously bowled out for 15 earlier in the season, lost 8 for 41 and couldn’t bat their 20 overs. Scorchers needed less than 13 in the chase.AJ Tye put some daylight between him and the chasing pack at the top of the wicket-taking tally in what is becoming a stellar season while Cameron Bancroft produced one of the highlights of a one-sided occasion with a spectacular boundary catch.
Davies shines again
It was a lone hand in Thunder’s innings. The ease with which Davies timed the ball was a stark contrast to all his team-mates, including Warner, alongside who he dominated a 67-run stand for the third wicket. “I’ll keep nudging them,” Warner said on the player mic. Davies took two straight sixes off Ashton Agar, but saved his best for a strike off Tye which went well back into the stands.
A 30-ball half-century was his third fifty of the season but Agar then out-thought him as he fired one in more quickly to have him stumped as Thunder’s collapse set it.
Warner’s quiet return
December 2013 was the last time Warner played BBL. That day he opened with Usman Khawaja and the pair added an opening stand of 116 in 11 overs. By the time Warner faced his second ball today he had lost two team-mates. He managed to get one strong pull short away against Lance Morris and a few overs later threaded a drive down the ground against Tye as the stand with Davies started to build. However, trying to pick up towards Davies’ tempo, he top-edged an attempted scoop off Matt Kelly.
Payne’s promising start
David Payne, the Gloucestershire left-arm seamer who has played one ODI for England, is one of a host of replacement overseas players Scorchers have called on this season after all their initial signings ended up unavailable for a variety of reasons.
It took Payne just two balls to strike in his first appearance, taking the left-arm pace role in place of the rested Jason Behrendorff, when a curving outswinger drew an edge from Matthew Gilkes. Later in the innings, with Thunder trying to engineer a platform for a late use of the power surge, a well-directed short ball brought a top edge from the dangerous Daniel Sams which was held at long leg.
It was a team effort from the Scorchers attack with all five bowlers finding success and sending down 63 dot balls in 19 overs. Tye’s fine tournament continued with another three scalps as he became the first to reach the 20-wicket mark for the season.
Bancroft’s all-round night
Bancroft had a superb evening on the field and then calmly went about the simple chase. In a display where Scorchers barely put a foot wrong, Bancroft’s two catches were especially impressive. He went low to remove Ben Cutting at midwicket, the batter standing his ground before the third umpire confirmed the take was clean. But better was to come in the 19th over when he ran around from long-on and flew full-length at top speed to pluck out Nathan McAndrew’s well-struck pull while still being able to keep himself inside the rope.
Barring anything silly the chase was never going to be in doubt and the game was over long before the opening stand of 77 between Bancroft and Stephen Eskinazi was broken. For Eskinazi, another overseas replacement, it was his first significant contribution in his third outing. Bancroft skipped to a 36-ball fifty when he sent consecutive deliveries from Usman Qadir for six and four.