The Perth Scorchers secured their fifth trophy in the Big Bash League (BBL) after a nail-biting five-wicket win against the Brisbane Heat in front of a record crowd of 53,886 at the Perth Stadium.
The Scorchers, who beat the Sydney Sixers in last season’s final, defended their title in the competition’s 12th year.
Chasing a total of 176, the Scorchers faced some ups and downs during their innings, including two run-outs, but composed batting from Captain Ashton Turner and Cooper and Hobson helped secure the victory.
It all came down to the final over, with Scorchers needing 10 runs to win. Hobson turned from villain to hero, hitting a six and a boundary to trigger bedlam in the stadium.
The match was a fitting end to a madcap BBL season, marked by thrilling finishes, outstanding individual performances, and over a million fans through the turnstiles.
Perth earned home-ground advantage after finishing on top of the regular season table, and defeated the Sixers in a qualifying match last weekend.
Both teams were depleted, with some players departing for Australia’s tour of India. The Heat only finished fifth and had to win three knockout games to reach the final.
On the other hand, the Scorchers were without two of their fast bowlers who were preparing for the Border-Gavaskar series.
The Heat won the toss and chose to bat first, with Josh Brown coming out with a bang, hitting 25 off the opening 11 balls. However, the Scorchers restricted Brisbane to 86-1 by the halfway mark.
Jason Behrendorff removed key players for the Heat, including Sam Heazlett and Captain Jimmy Peirson, in the same over. Thanks to some aggressive hitting from Max Bryant, the Heat managed to score 175-7.
Behrendorff finished with 2 for 26 to be the standout bowler as all his fellow seamers proved expensive.
In response, the Scorchers lost some early wickets, but Turner and Josh Inglis put on a high-quality 80 in 52 balls.
A victory looked highly unlikely when Turner was run out after a horror mix-up with Nick Hobson, leaving them needing 39 needed off 19 balls.
But young gun Connolly smashed 25 off 11 balls to turn the game on its head.
He smashed 18 of those from a James Bazley over to leave them needing 20 off the final 12 balls.
Hobson sealed the win with a huge six and a no-ball five in the last over.
Man-of-the-match Turner said, “It’s a surreal feeling. A lot of guys have contributed to wins throughout the season. We are in rarified air at the moment, with a lot of guys in form.”
Connolly added, “At 19 years old, to have this crowd cheer for me, it’s a dream come true. I had full confidence in myself.”
Perth Scorchers178 for 5 (Turner 53, Kuhnemann 1-28) beat Brisbane Heat 175 for 7 (McSweeney 41, Behrendorff 2-26) by five wickets