Perth cruise past Heat, into BBL SCG final

Rob Forsaith
·3-min read

Big Bash League powerhouses Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers will meet in Saturday night's SCG final after Liam Livingstone lit up a lopsided semi-final at Manuka Oval.

The Scorchers and Sixers have dominated the BBL since clashing in its inaugural final, grabbing a combined five of nine possible titles.

This weekend will mark the fourth season-deciding final between the rivals.

The Scorchers, having suffered a humbling nine-wicket loss to the Sixers in their qualifying final, crushed Brisbane Heat by 49 runs in Thursday night's rain-affected contest.

Livingstone whacked 77 off 39 deliveries, helping rocket Perth to 1-189 from 18.1 overs in Canberra.

Showers halted play and prompted a premature end to the innings, setting Brisbane a revised target of of 200 from 18 overs.

It was an imposing equation, even before captain Chris Lynn departed in the fourth over.

It looked near-impossible come the eighth over, when the Heat crashed to 4-57 following Marnus Labuschagne's dismissal to veteran legspinner Fawad Ahmed.

The required run-rate exploded as the Scorchers turned the screws, restricting Brisbane to 9-150.

Jason Behrendorff, who snared 2-19 and was on a hat-trick after removing Lynn and Joe Denly, set the tone for Perth's star-studded attack.

Livingstone's match-winning knock was followed by an unbeaten 75-run partnership between Mitch Marsh (49 not out) and Cameron Bancroft (58 not out).

Jason Roy's ankle injury, suffered during a soccer warm-up game, meant former Test opener Bancroft was recalled for his first BBL game since January 19.

The pressure was on Livingstone to start with a bang, especially with fellow Englishman Roy an enforced omission.

Livingstone didn't disappoint, smashing six sixes as he brought up a half-century in just 27 balls.

"I know if I spend a bit of time at the crease then I can win games for the team," he said.

"The way we played was pretty much perfect.

"I spent a bit of time this afternoon, (watching videos) of when I did well.

"See what I did well, try and give myself a bit of confidence. I felt totally different today. So pretty pleasing it's come together at the end of the tournament."

Mitchell Swepson, whose figures of 1-26 made him the Heat's most economical bowler by some margin, ended Livingstone's entertaining knock in the 12th over.

Test batsman Labuschagne, whose legspin was a key part of the Heat's preceding two elimination-final victories, copped the brunt of Livingstone's onslaught.

Labuschagne's second over cost 27 runs, including two wides and three sixes.

"They came out of the blocks really well, Livingstone played a really good knock," Labuschagne said.

"In a slightly shortened game, it really helps when you get off to a flyer like that. He's really tough to bowl to.

"And 200 off 18 overs is a tough ask ... they were a better team today."