Perth Scorchers have reached this year’s Big Bash final after an 18-run win over the Melbourne Stars.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, the defending champions hardly got off to an ideal start, when leading scorer Michael Klinger was dismissed for five in just the second over.
He was soon followed by captain Adam Voges (3), however Aussie batman Shaun Marsh, playing in his first game of the season, managed 35 in a 68-run stand for the third wicket alongside Englishman Michael Carberry.
He continued to impress, registering his third fifty of the tournament. This good work from Marsh and Carberry, coupled with late flurries from Sam Whiteman (18 off 13) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (22 off 13), meant the Scorchers finished their 20 overs with a reasonable, yet not spectacular, total of 144/7.
With an abundance of batting talent in their top order, the Stars will have been confident of chasing the total down and got off to a fairly decent start. An opening stand of 39 was broken when Yasir Arafat dismissed Cameron White for 13.
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KP's lack of support
That brought to the crease Kevin Pietersen. The ex-England international was his side's top scorer and some good running combined with impressive scoring from compatriot Luke Wright saw the Stars seemingly cruising at 67/1.
However, then came a collapse as Wright pulled an Andrew Tye straight to Adam Voges before Peter Handscomb then followed just four balls later.
Rob Quiney (7) and Tom Triffit (1) could manage little resistance between them and when Pietersen departed for 31, it seemed it was game over. A late burst from John Hastings (22 off 15) was not enough, as he was clean bowled by Tye, who was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4-18.
The Scorchers now progress to the 2014/15 Big Bash League final against the Sydney Sixers on January 28.