The Perth Scorchers had to overcome a pair of extraordinary blunders in the BBL final against the Brisbane Heat, the first of which was described as 'terrible' and 'unforgivable' by commentators Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh. The Scorchers won their fifth BBL title on Saturday night, pipping the Heat in a final-over thriller.
After the Heat batted first and posted 7-175, the Scorchers' run-chase got off to a nightmare start when Stephen Eskinazi was run out after failing to slide his bat into the crease. The opener thought the ball was going to the other end, relaxing as he cruised into the crease at the non-striker's end.
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But Max Bryant sent his throw to Eskinazi's end, firing a direct hit that left the Englishman short of his ground because he hadn't slid his bat. Commentators were left gobsmacked by Eskinazi's blunder in such a big game.
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) February 4, 2023
"He got lazy. Put the handbrakes on out there Eskinazi," Ponting said on Channel 7.
"The parachute went out way too early. Terrible awareness from Eskinazi."
Mark Waugh said on Fox Sports: “That’s unforgivable really. That’s just casual.
“You’ve always got to assume the ball is coming to your end, no matter the situation is in the game. That’s un-Scorcher like.
“Brilliant by Max Bryant to have a dart at the stumps. You’ve got to slide your bat. He won’t want to see that replay again. It’d be a sick feeling for Eskinazi.”
Inexcusable… cricket 101
— Ben Cameron (@BenCameron23) February 4, 2023
Terrible awareness! That's really poor running. #BBL12
— Akash Fotedar (@akashfotedar5) February 4, 2023
We’ll that’s dumb! What an idiotic run out in a final. #BBLFinals
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottlieb) February 4, 2023
Nick Hobson makes amends after horrible runout
Unfortunately for the Scorchers it wasn't the only horrible blunder in their run-chase, with captain Ashton Turner forced to depart after a mix-up with Nick Hobson. Turner made 53 off just 32 balls to turn the match back in the Scorchers' favour after they had fallen to 3-54 in the eighth over.
But he was forced to walk off when he and Hobson ended up at the same end after an aborted attempt to turn two runs into three. Instead of sacrificing himself and running back to the danger end, Hobson made the inexplicable decision to keep going - which meant Turner had to go.
“Disaster. Absolute disaster,” Mark Howard said on Fox Sports. Thankfully for the Scorchers, Hobson made amends with a match-sealing knock of 18 not out off just seven balls.
He combined with 19-year-old Cooper Connolly to pull off an extraordinary victory for the home side, with the teenager adding 25 not out off 11 balls. The Scorchers needed 39 off the final 19 balls when Turner departed, but Connolly and Hobson showed incredible calmness under pressure.
After Connolly blasted 18 off the 18th over, Hobson required 10 off the final Michael Neser over for victory. He smashed a humongous six before edging the ball over backward point for four to seal the title for the Scorchers.
Hobson admitted he felt "awful" after being responsible for Turner's dismissal, but praised the captain's leadership in the ugly moment. "Ash is an amazing leader," Hobson said.
"When we were sitting there waiting for the decision (about which batsmen would be out), he said, 'mate you're a gun, you'll get us over the line'. There was no resentment."
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