Cowra’s Daniel Hughes has found momentum in the last few Big Bash matches, but that wasn’t much help as the Sydney Sixers (5/177) struggled in Perth last night, with the Scorchers (3/178) winning by seven wickets.
A recent move to his natural opening position as an opener or first drop batsmen has seen Hughes flourish, with scores of 61, 24 and a solid 36 in the last three encounters.
The 36 at Optus Stadium, coming off 29 balls, was punctuated by strong shot making early, with Hughes hitting five boundaries as he made light work of out-of-sorts T20 specialist David Willey (0/26 from two overs) and debutant Cameron Green (0/21 from two overs).
However, spinner Usman Qadir (1/28) had the last laugh, chasing down a miscued high ball from behind to dismiss Hughes caught-and-bowled.
Skipper Moises Henriques (38 from 21), regular Perth player Josh Phillippe (19 from 9, not out) and Englishman James Vince (28 from 25) picked up the slack from there, all making solid starts as the Sixers cruised to a favourable 5/177 on a pitch that has often produced low scores in its first Summer of usage, with only Qadir, Andrew Tye (2/33) and Matthew Kelly (2/32) having an impact for Perth.
However, the bottom placed Scorchers, who up until this season have been one of the benchmark teams of the BBL, had other surprises in store.
While veteran Michael Klinger was dismissed controversially from a miscounted seventh ball from Ben Dwarshuis (1/26), that was the only real hiccup as Cameron Bancroft top-scored with a career high, unbeaten 87 from 61 deliveries to lead a successful run chase.
An extended cameo from skipper and Australian one day squad member Ashton Turner was also crucial, with Bancroft able to cruise as Turner wreaked havoc against the in-form Steve O’Keefe (0/36 from three overs) on the way to 60 from 30 deliveries.
Genuine wicket opportunities were in short supply, with a difficult missed catch by Hughes and a couple of tight running calls from the zippy Bancroft and Turner the only real questions asked of the Scorchers.
Otherwise, it was smooth sailing from a side not known for its batting, already having lost the Marsh brothers and bowlers Jye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff to international duties.
When a high up and under ball from Turner ended his day, Bancroft was able to take control, successfully navigating the remaining runs before hitting a boundary to win the match.
Dwarshuis and Ben Mementi (1/16 from two overs) were the only real highlights for the Sixers bowling attack, as the loss leaves them sitting just behind the Sydney Thunder and the top-of-the-table Hobart Hurricanes.
Hughes and the Sixers will take on the Melbourne Renegades on Wednesday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, from 7.15 pm.