CLT20 Desk in Mumbai
Match Report: M19 - Perth Scorchers vs Auckland Aces
Beer stars in Scorchers’ first CLT20 win
Despite losing Lou Vincent early in the innings, Martin Guptill and Azhar Mahmood put the innings back on track with a 49-run partnership. Both players kept finding the boundary regularly; in one particular instance, Azhar Mahmood even hit Paul Collingwood for three boundaries in an over. But left-arm spinner Michael Beer brought his team back into the contest when he snapped up both batsmen. He dismissed Guptill with a fantastic delivery; the 28-year-old threw the ball up in the air, got it to turn and bounce and take the outside edge of bat on its way to Luke Ronchi behind the stumps. In the following over, Azhar Mahmood was on his way back when Herschelle Gibbs pulled off a stunning catch on the boundary.
A collapse thereafter meant the Scorchers firmed up their grip on the match. Though Colin Munro played a useful cameo – 23 of 18 balls – it wasn’t going to be sufficient to see his team home.
In defending a small total, it was important that the bowlers stuck to their plans and the fielders backed up their bowlers. The Scorchers bowlers and fielders did their job to perfection; Beer would be the best of the Scorchers’ bowlers, picking up three for 14 in his four overs, while Joe Mennie returned with two wickets. Ryan Duffield and Brad Hogg were the other wicket-takers. They were also good on the field; they took all the opportunities that came their way, while Gibbs and Nathan Coulter-Mile converted possible half-chances into wickets.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Perth Scorchers opted to bat first but were faced with the problem that has plagued them for most part of the tournament. Herschelle Gibbs’ horror run with the bat continued at the top of the innings, and the experienced middle order (without the services of the Marsh brothers on this occasion) got off to starts, but were guilty of not converting them into big scores.
After losing Gibbs in the second over, Marcus North and Simon Katich put the innings back on track with a 55-run partnership. While Katich played the traditional game, North was a little more enterprising in his 35-ball knock. The Scorchers skipper hit four boundaries and a six in his 35-ball inning, which was cut short by a throw from Kyle Mills. Katich would be dismissed seven balls later when he walked across his too far to the offside and had his stumps rattled; he made 21 from 23 balls.
Paul Collingwood, in his first appearance in the competition, scored 38 to finish the innings’ top-scorer. The 36-year-old played his trademark slog sweep, pulled effortlessly and even successfully used the improvised paddle sweeps in his 27-ball knock. He was involved in a 51-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Tom Beaton (22 of 19 balls). The Scorchers lost their way a bit towards the end; they only managed to score 22 runs in the last four overs and even ended up losing three wickets in the final over to be restricted to 140 for 7 in their 20 overs.
The left-arm medium-pacer Michael Bates (4-34) would be the most successful bowler for the Aces, while Mills finished the tournament just the way he began; the lanky fast bowler bowled tidily and conceded only 14 runs in his four-over spell. Left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira came in for some stick, but he contributed to the team with the timely wicket of Katich. Azhar Mahmood and Bruce Martin bowled economical spells too.
Brief Scores: Perth Scorchers 140-7 in 20.0 overs (Paul Collingwood 38, Marcus North 37, Michael Bates 4-34) beat Auckland Aces 124-8 in 20.0 overs (Martin Guptill 36, Michael Beer 3-14, Joe Rennie 2-23) by 16 runs.
Man of the Match: Michael Beer, for his match-winning spell of 4-0-14-3.