After six weeks of thrilling action, the inaugural KFC T20 Big Bash League reaches its conclusion when the table-topping Perth Scorchers face the Sydney Sixers in Saturday’s Big Final.
The Sixers, who are just one of two teams to beat the Scorchers this season, will fancy their chances after knocking out second-placed Hobart in the semis but Perth enter as warm favourite after continuing their amazing tournament with an 11-run victory over the Stars.
Public tickets for the match at the WACA Ground sold out just 16 minutes after going on sale, despite a forecast top of 42 degrees, with local fans hopeful the Scorchers can end WA cricket’s eight-year trophy drought.
And the fans who managed to snap up tickets will be in for a treat if the previous meeting between the two sides is anything to go by, with the Sixers winning that game by one run after a run out on the final ball.
Marcus North and Herschelle Gibbs, whose 302 runs have come at a strike rate of 152.53, have formed a formidable top-order combination for Perth, but most of their success has been built around a potent bowling attack led by 40-year-old Brad Hogg.
Hogg, who capped a remarkable comeback when he was named in Australia’s T20 squad on Monday, has the third best economy rate in the competition at 5.40 and the fourth most wickets with 12.
Nathan Rimmington remains in some doubt for the game after fracturing his bowling hand while fielding against the Stars, but Scorchers coach Lachlan Stevens said he was confident the swing bowler would play.
Meanwhile, the Sixers’ bowling group received a huge boost with Mitchell Starc made available after losing his spot in the Australian Test team, but all-rounder Shane Watson’s hopes of making a comeback in the final were put to bed early in the week.
Starc has enjoyed a phenomenal tournament, taking 11 wickets at a strike rate of 9.55, and forms an imposing pace tandem with veteran Brett Lee.
Sydney have a heavy reliance on spin though, with Stuart MacGill, Steven Smith and Stephen O’Keefe likely to bowl a large chunk of the 20 overs.
Marcus North Before the BBLT20 2012 Final
Steve Smith Before the BBLT20 2012 Final
Big Bash League T20 2012 Final Scorchers vs Sixers Video Preview