Is there anything Jhye Richardson can’t do?
The Big Bash League’s most in-form paceman starred with bat and ball as Perth secured a finals berth for the first time in three seasons with a 22-run win over Hobart at Marvel Stadium.
The Scorchers recovered from a stuttering start with the bat for their seventh win in eight matches, comfortably defending 8-179 and securing their fifth bash boost point to go a step closer to a top-two finish.
Richardson extended his lead atop the tournament’s wicket tally with 25 scalps, grabbing 4-33 from his four overs to help restrict the Hurricanes to 8-157.
The 24-year-old was an easy decision for man-of-the-match honours, his third of BBL10 as he continues to put his name in lights in front of Australian selectors ahead of next month’s concurrent Twenty20 and Test tours.
From the power play to power surge and at the death, Richardson bowls all the toughest overs and passes with flying colours.
He had returning Test batsman Matthew Wade’s (6) wicket in the first over of the run chase, danger man Ben McDermott well caught by Ashton Turner for a fifth-ball duck in his next and stopped Peter Handscomb (30 off 16) in his tracks during the surge.
Left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff (2-17 off four) was brilliant at the other end, going for 4.25 runs per over and dismissing two-time BBL player of the tournament D’Arcy Short (43 off 37) in a game-changing moment.
Short, fellow West Aussie Tim David (27 off 19) and Handscomb looked the only Hurricanes capable of winning it.
Gloveman Josh Inglis (58 off 35) rode his luck early to post his second half-century of the season before an exciting Richardson (29 off 14) cameo lifted the total well above the average winning score batting first of 167.
Inglis came in at the five-over mark and survived a run out chance and a dropped Short caught-and-bowled chance before the midway point of the innings to steer his side out of big trouble at 4-66 after Turner opted to bat first.
He put on several important middle-order partnerships with Turner (15 off 18), young allrounder Aaron Hardie (12 off 9) and Richardson to change the momentum of the innings.
Energetic speedster Nathan Ellis (4-34 off four) did his bit for Hobart on the way to his maiden four-wicket haul, including the key scalps of Inglis and Englishman Jason Roy (20 off 12).
Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane (2-27 off four) was a handful early on a wicket proving fruitful for the slow bowlers.
Roy (20 off 12) looked a man on a mission to start the match, hitting 19 off the first two overs alone before he was trapped in front by Ellis before the end of the power play which went for 1-35.
The Scorchers’ run rate was ticking over nicely but the regular fall of wickets wasn’t helping their cause, with Colin Munro’s (five) hot streak ending and Mitch Marsh’s (7) comeback from a side strain short-lived.
Roy’s opening partner Liam Livingstone provided some fireworks, with two fours and as many sixes during his 15-ball 26, but he hit one straight to Dawid Malan in the deep off Lamichhane.
Perth used the power surge, which went for 24, ahead of the 17th over and lost a wicket two balls later as Ellis had another LBW victim in Hardie who was doing a good job of rotating the strike.