Agar, Cartwright help Scorchers reclaim top spot

Perth Scorchers 4 for 114 (Cartwright 47*, Agar 26*, Neser 2-18) beat Adelaide Strikers 112 (Carey 44, Agar 3-19) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ashton Agar and Hilton Cartwright lifted Perth Scorchers back to the top of the Big Bash League table by negotiating a tricky chase against Adelaide Strikers on a challenging surface at Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

The first BBL match to be played in the Northern Territory was a low scoring affair between two of the competition’s strongest bowling and fielding line-ups, with Agar’s three wickets contributing to a Strikers collapse before he aided Cartwright in ensuring the Scorchers did not go the same way.

Alex Carey had given the Strikers a decent start before the Scorchers, led by Ashton Turner in the absence of the captain Adam Voges – suspended for a second slow over rate offence during the tournament, regathered themselves. The Scorchers then appeared to be struggling in the pursuit thanks to the now familiar brilliance of Rashid Khan, but some sensible batting by Cartwright and Agar took them to a victory that also won them the Jason Gillespie Trophy.

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Adjusting to the slow lane

Coming from Adelaide Oval and the WACA ground, these two sides are used to swift and bouncy pitches with sleek outfields. Neither were evident in Alice Springs, leaving the Strikers and Scorchers unsure of what a strong score would be. Given this was the first BBL match to be played at the ground, there was also a lack of statistical information available, making this a case of the awkward unknown for players, coaches and analysts alike.

The fluent Carey was able to get into stride with regular boundaries and had some initial support from Jake Weatherald, a Northern Territory product, but after his dismissal trying to sweep Will Bosisto the Strikers seemed eager to accelerate in a manner that suggested they felt they needed a score in the region of 160 or more.

Falling apart through the middle

As each wicket fell, the Strikers grew more impatient, and it showed in their shot selection, which was chaotic at best. This was epitomised by Jake Lehmann, who to his fifth ball and with the scorecard reading an uncertain 4 for 81, offered up an attempt to reverse paddle Agar that lobbed in the general vicinity of Mitchell Johnson. His resulting one-handed catch was outstanding, but was only made possible by the sort of shot that betrayed an addled mind.

Full report to follow

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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