Hobson, Connolly combine to seal Scorchers back-to-back BBL titles
TEEN sensation Cooper Connolly has burst onto the scene after helping deliver his Perth Scorchers a second-straight Big Bash League (BBL) title. The 19-year-old batter was scarcely used all tournament, facing just 11 balls, but came up clutch when called upon to hunt down the Brisbane Heat’s 7-175 alongside Nick Hobson.
In front of a packed out Perth Stadium crowd in excess of 53,000 fans, the previously unsung Scorchers heroes ensured Saturday’s clash would be an all-time BBL final, escaping from the jaws of defeat with an unprecedented fifth BBL crown.
Things looked grim when Hobson ran out skipper Ashton Turner (53) via the arm of Spencer Johnson in the 17th over, with his side needing 40 off 20 for an unlikely victory. Turner and Josh Inglis (26) had combined for an 80-run fourth wicket partnership, but both were gone within two balls.
Cue the big hitting, as Connolly cleared the rope with a pair of maximums off James Bazley to whittle the requirement to 10 runs off the final over. Then it was Hobson’s turn to shine, as he notched up the winning runs with four balls to spare, taking Michael Neser for a six and four.
Ultimately, it was the Scorchers’ famed depth which saw them home. Though, the Heat’s equivalent also shone through in the BBL|12 finals series. The likes of Xavier Bartlett (1-31) and Spencer Johnson (1-31) took poles for their continued effort, while Matt Kuhnemann (1-28) proved up to the primary spinner role.
The Heat’s batting innings featured a bunch of starts, even if few top-order batters went on to accelerate. Josh Brown (25) got off to a fast, albeit fortuitous start before Nathan McSweeney (41) and Sam Heazlett (34) ticked things over. Max Bryant (31) and Sam Hain (21) then put the cherry on top a solid team display.
As has often been the case this season, Jason Behrendorff (2-26) was the pick of the Perth bowlers, with inclusion Matthew Kelly also claiming a pair of wickets. Connolly even chimed in with a set of six, leaking just four runs on what ended up being a memorable evening for Perth players and fans alike.
RESULT: Perth Scorchers (5-178) def. Brisbane Heat (7-175) by 5 wickets.
POTM: Ashton Turner (Perth Scorchers)
TOSS: Brisbane Heat won the toss and elected to bat.
Ashton Turner 53 (32), Josh Inglis 26 (22), Cooper Connolly 25* (11)
Jason Behrendorff 2-26, Matthew Kelly 2-37, Aaron Hardie 1-27 (3)
Nathan McSweeney 41 (37), Sam Heazlett 34 (30), Max Bryant 31 (14)
Matt Kuhnemann 1-28, Xavier Bartlett 1-31, Spencer Johnson 1-37