Hardy was fit again as the ‘world-class’ Scorchers turned the batsmen to 92 in the BBL.
The sprawling Perth Scorchers have cemented their top position on the BBL ladder after destroying the Adelaide Strikers by seven wickets at the Adelaide Oval.
After bowling out the Strikers for 92 on Friday afternoon, in-form Aaron Hardy (43) made light work of a modest chase, helping the table-topping Scorchers (10-3) to an early finish on 53 deliveries.
The batsmen could manage just 17 overs thanks to terrible shot selection and some clinical bowling and an exceptional line-up from the Scorchers.
Adelaide’s fourth straight loss would see them drop out of the top five regardless of the outcome of their clash with the Hobart Storm and Brisbane Heat.
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Legspinner Peter Hatzoglow (3-14) and speedster Lance Morris (3-26) both produced career-best knocks after left-hander David Paine (3-20) demolished the batsmen’s top order.
“It’s always good to win,” Hatzoglow said.
“To do it like this is very special and we will appreciate it before the final.
“It’s good to have this form before the final.
“Hopefully we can take back-to-back (titles) this year.”
England’s Adam Jose (30) was the only batsman who remotely looked up to the task of stopping the Scorchers’ attack.
Golden Bat frontman Matt Short (a duck), skipper Travis Head (nine), promoted No.3 Thomas Kelly (nine) and wicketkeeper Alex Carey (one) were beaten gently as the strikers fell to 4-22 after a power play.
After playing in an Australian summer of Test dominance, Head has managed just 15 carries since joining the out-of-form batsmen.
Catching practice was the order of the day as soft dismissals continued, with Jose returning to Paine after the strikers surged late on 15 as wickets continued to tumble.
Cameron Bancroft (seven) was knocked out in the second over of the Scorchers’ reply, while joint-opener Stephen Eskinazi (17) cleverly stumped Carey with a wrist spinner to Cameron Boyce (2-12).
Hardy continued his run of excellent form with a career-high 90 points in Perth’s win over the Hurricanes on Wednesday.
He and Josh Inglis smoked three sixes off the leg of Colin de Grandhomme as Hardy lost a juggling catch to Harry Nielsen with the finish line in sight.
“As funny as it sounds, technically we’re not going to get away with it,” Boyce said optimistically.
“Obviously we have to win in Melbourne (against the Renegades at Marvel Stadium next Tuesday) and hopefully (more) results will come our way.
“It happens sometimes in T20 cricket… you get into that hole and it just spirals.
“They (Scorchers) are a world-class bowling team.”
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