Perth Scorchers coach Matt Mason says team rallying around AJ Tye ahead of do-or-die final with Brisbane Heat | Ralph Lauren

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Scorchers assistant Matt Mason says the team is raring to go in Thursday’s do-or-die final against the Brisbane Heat despite the “hammer blow” of not hosting the match in Perth.

Mason said Perth were close to boarding the flight home when they found out their Optus Stadium final would be moved due to WA’s sudden lockdown.

“We were a few hours away,” he admitted.

“It was a bit of a hammer blow to some of the lads because I know a few of them were looking forward to getting home and we were all looking forward to playing at Optus again.”

Instead, the Scorchers find themselves in Canberra for the clash against the Heat, with the winner to take on the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League final.

The match will be the first since Scorchers star AJ Tye came under heavy criticism for final ball wide that sealed the Sixers’ victory in last weekend’s Qualifier Final.

Scorchers players congratulate James Vince after he finished 98 not out.
Camera IconScorchers players congratulate James Vince after he finished 98 not out. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

Critics including former England captain Michael Vaughan took aim at Tye’s delivery, which ended the match while Sixer James Vince was unbeaten on 98.

The Englishman appeared fuming at the delivery, despite taking a single off the over before to give Daniel Hughes strike, who crunched a four when they only needed five runs to win. 

But Mason was full of praise for his star bowler on an “off night”, stating Tye’s immediate apology indicated there was no malicious intent.

“We’ve all rallied around AJ,” Mason revealed.

“We know he’s one of the great blokes out there with huge amounts of integrity.

“AJ is such a good bloke, he’s just such a competitor… sadly it got perceived the wrong way by people.

“I can 100 per cent hand on heart say that was not anything AJ has done deliberately.

“He was actually quite distraught when he came off the ground. He was trying to bowl a ball into the pitch and he just got it horribly wrong. It’s a real shame it marred the evening.

“There’s absolutely no way he meant that intentionally.”

Former Scorcher Brad Hogg took to social media to express his dismay at the criticism, while suggesting Vince should’ve focused on his team’s BBL final berth, not the individual milestone. 

“Batters are not entitled to 100, bowlers job to TYE them down,” Hogg wrote.

“Batters reaction showed lack of humility, securing a grand final spot deserved a better reaction than that. 

“Don’t see a no11 or any bat giving a cheap wicket away for a bowlers 5fa.”

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Mason said the Scorchers had now “dusted themselves off” from the Sixers loss.

“We’ve played a lot of really good cricket this tournament, we’ve learned a lot about playing cricket in Canberra and we fancy ourselves against the Heat,” he said.

Thursday’s match begins at 4.40pm WST.

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