Big Bash League: All-rounders Aaron Hardie, Ashton Agar propel Perth Scorchers to 9-155 against Sydney Sixers
Aaron Hardie and Ashton Agar have saved Perth Scorchers from embarrassment in their tournament opener against Sydney Sixers after ex-Test seamer Jackson Bird’s early dominance.
Coming together in massive trouble at 5-49 in the sixth over, the pair put on 71 for the sixth wicket off 53 balls to propel the reigning champions to a moderate total of 9-155.
Hardie’s power hitting was particularly impressive, striking the ball to all parts of the ground on his way to a maiden Big Bash half-century.
His 32-ball 55, beating his previous best BBL score of 45, included five fours and three sixes as he and Agar (24 off 24) belted 46 during the power surge across the 13th and 14th overs.
The 23-year-old only featured eight times in BBL11 and was overlooked for the final victory over the Sixers, but looks poised to take his game to another level in the absence of first-choice stars Mitch Marsh (ankle) and Cameron Green (Test duties).
It came after inclusion Bird, who bowled four overs straight at the start, destroyed the Scorchers’ top-order, taking 3-26 including two in three balls in his third.
It was an eventful opening over, which went for 13, with Bird bowling back-to-back wides before getting debutant Adam Lyth LBW for four with the Englishman’s review unsuccessful.
Fellow first-gamer, South African superstar Faf du Plessis (14 off 12), hit three boundaries including one first ball but was deceived by a slower ball from Afghanistan paceman Naveen-ul-Haq Murid (1-33 off four), in the last over of the power play which finished at 2-30, dragging it onto his stumps.
Two wickets down soon became four with Nick Hobson (eight off 11) and Ashton Turner (two off two) departing in the space of three Bird deliveries with the Scorchers captain ramping one straight down Hayden Kerr’s throat at third.
Josh Inglis (13 off 11) was timing them nicely before failing to pick a brilliant Izharulhaq Naveed (2-22 off four) wrong’un which left the hosts reeling.
After Hardie and Agar were removed, tail-enders Matt Kelly (13 not out off 14) and Jason Behrendorff (five not out off four) scored some valuable late runs to get the score over 150.
The competition’s all-time leading wicket-taker Sean Abbott was expensive, going for 45 from his four overs with Andrew Tye (six off four) his only wicket.
#Big #Bash #League #Allrounders #Aaron #Hardie #Ashton #Agar #propel #Perth #Scorchers #Sydney #Sixers