Ashton Turner's brave innings and excellent batting from teenager Cooper Connolly helped the Perth Scorchers overcome the Brisbane Heat by five wickets to win their fifth Big Bash League championship dramatically. After Brisbane put on 175-7, their fireworks pushed them to 178-5 and a thrilling five-wicket win with four balls remaining at Perth Stadium in front of a record 53,886 local fans. Josh Brown opened the batting with Heat captain Jimmy Peirson after winning the toss, smashing 25 off the first 11 balls. However, his luck quickly ran out, as following Brisbane's initial barrage, the Scorchers held Brisbane to a score of 86-1 by the halftime point. With Saturday's victory, a team that defeated the Sydney Sixers in the season's championship successfully defended their title for the fifth time in the competition's brief 12-year history.
Turner scored 53 (32) runs in the middle overs before Connolly, a 19-year-old playing in just his fourth BBL match, hit an unbeaten 25 (11) at the end to help the home team win. Turner's massive six in the 16th over, which brought the Perth crowd to its feet, helped him achieve fifty runs in 30 deliveries. In the process, he also became the first cricketer from the Scorchers to reach 2000 runs in a BBL career. A few balls later, Nick Hobson grilled his captain while rushing between the wickets, screaming for two, and stopped halfway down the pitch. This caused confusion. Turner's role was ended when replays revealed the batters did not cross before the bails were raised. Connolly did his job well when his team needed 38 runs off of 19 balls when he got to the crease. Prior to fellow player Nick Hobson completing the innings to match the highest-ever run chase in a Big Bash decider, he was dropped by Josh Brown in the penultimate over. Connolly smashed 18 runs of those from a James Bazley over to leave them needing 20 off the final 12 balls. In order to secure the victory, Hobson then hit a massive six followed by a no-ball five in the final over.
"At 19 years old, I couldn't have wished for a better experience than to hear this crowd applaud for me. A dream has come true," Connolly, a left-hander, said. "I had complete faith in myself."
The final had the fourth-highest crowd in Big Bash cricket and the greatest crowd ever for a West Australian cricket match. The match marked the end of a season that included nail-biting outcomes, controversial moments, standout individual performances, and more than one million spectators. Perth gained home ground advantage after dominating the regular season standings and defeating the Sixers last weekend in a qualifying game. The Heat barely finished fifth and had to win three knockout games, all on the away, to advance to the championship.
Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Matt Renshaw, and Mitchell Swepson of the Heat all left earlier this week for Australia's tour of India, leaving both teams severely undermanned. The four-test Border-Gavaskar series, which begins on Thursday in Nagpur, stopped fast bowler Lance Morris and teammate Ashton Agar from playing for the Scorchers.