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Third time lucky for Scorchers in BBL

By Chris Pike
7 February 2014 11:09PM EST

INCREDIBLE hitting from Mitch Marsh and then a good bowling performance has seen the Perth Scorchers beat the Hobart Hurricanes to win the Big Bash League title at the WACA Ground.

There have now been three instalments of the Big Bash competition with each final having been played at the WACA Ground, and in front of the biggest crowd of the lot, 20,783, it was third time lucky for the home team.

The Scorchers lost the final in 2012 to the Sydney Sixers and then last year to the Brisbane Heat, but put in a tremendous performance for their home fans on Friday night to win the tournament.

The Scorchers batted first and with Craig Simmons again doing well making 45 (36 balls) and with Shaun Marsh returning to remain unbeaten on 63 (43), the home side did well with the bat but it was an incredible knock from Mitch Marsh that put their total out of reach of the boys from Hobart.

The 22-year-old all-rounder smashed 37 from just 12 balls with four sixes to see the Scorchers end up posting 4-191 from the 20 overs.

The Hurricanes gave the run chase a good crack but in the end fell 39 runs short making 7-152 off their 20 overs but it was still a tremendous performance to even making the final firstly having to beat the Heat in the last regular season game to qualify, and then stun the Melbourne Stars in the semi-final at the MCG on Tuesday night.

Both teams have qualified for the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 competition to be played in September though.

The win, though, for the Scorchers breaks a long drought without silverware for any West Australian cricket teams with the Warriors not having won the Sheffield Shield since 1999 or a one-day title since 2004.

Scorchers skipper Simon Katich won the toss and decided to bat first looking to set a total that the Hurricanes would not be able to chase down on a deck that was sure to be quick and bouncy, but also provide full value for runs.

Even though Shaun Marsh was a surprise return to the side from the calf injury that kept him from touring South Africa, he didn’t open with the Scorchers sticking with Katich and the dual centurion Simmons.

It was a slow start, though, for the Scorchers with Ben Hilfenhaus and Dimitri Mascarenhas bowling well early.

Hilfenhaus conceded just five runs in his first two overs and Mascarenhas only 10 with Katich falling for six from just nine balls to Mascarenhas in the fourth over in what could be his last innings at this level.

The Hurricanes should have had the dangerous Simmons out as well with him being dropped twice in the outfield by Xavier Doherty and Evan Gulbis.

The Scorchers finally found the boundary in consecutive balls off Hilfenhaus by Simmons in the fifth over but again it was a slow start from the 31-year-old opener.

He was again 6 off 14 balls at one stage after being 5 from 15 in the semi-final win over the Sixers, but once he got going, he again really got going.

In no time, Simmons had moved on to 45 before attempting one big shot too many with Mascarenhas this time hanging on to the catch at third man off the bowling of Gulbis.

The Scorchers were 2-77 at stage with Shaun Marsh joined at the crease by the experienced Adam Voges.

Marsh was starting to find the middle of his bat smashing leg-spinner Cameron Boyce for 14 runs in three balls in the space of three balls in the 13th over.

Voges was beginning to get into the action as well making 27 from 17 balls before Hilfenhaus had him out caught by Mascarenhas.

The problem for the Hurricanes was that it brought the Marsh brothers to the crease together and Mitch was in no mood to muck around.

Mascarenhas put the ball exactly where he liked three straight balls to start the 18th over and Marsh hit each of them for six on his way to helping take 24 runs off that over.

He then hit two more fours off the next over from Doug Bollinger and then another six from Xavier Doherty to start over No. 20 before falling with three balls remaining for an incredible 37 from 12 balls with two fours and four sixes.

Nathan Coulter-Nile came out and managed four off the last three balls for the Scorchers as they posted 4-191 with Shaun Marsh remaining not out on 63 from 43 balls with two fours and three sixes.

It was going to be a massive ask for the Hurricanes to chase down the 192 required to win, but Ben Dunk and Tim Paine had been the best opening pair all competition and with George Bailey there as well, they went in with a hope.

That didn’t last too long, though, with Dunk and Paine's opening stand lasting just 24 in 22 balls before Paine was gone for seven from 10 balls when bowled by left-armer Jason Behrendorff.

Dunk was named player of the tournament, but couldn’t quite pull off one more remarkable innings falling for 17 from 14 balls when caught by Pat Cummins also from the bowling of Behrendorff.

Hobart at that stage was 2-39 in the sixth over with Jonathan Wells and Bailey coming together.

They managed to steady things with a 36-run stand in 29 balls before Wells was out for 24 from 23 balls when stumped by Sam Whiteman from the bowling of the evergreen Chinaman Brad Hogg.

Travis Birt presented perhaps the Hurricanes last real chance at pulling off something special, but the hard-hitting left-hander couldn’t do it making just two before becoming Hogg's second victim of the night.

Bailey was still there and did well in his knock of 58 from 32 balls with six fours and two sixes, but when he fell in the 15th over with the score on 5-115, the match was over.

Hilfenhaus ended up 13 not out and Boyce one after Mascarenhas added 16, but the Hurricanes ended up well short losing the final by 39 runs.

Hogg was the star with the ball for the Scorchers with 2-17 from his four overs while Behrendorff took 2-24, Alfonso Thomas 2-23, Cummins 1-47 and Coulter-Nile 0-35.

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