The Perth Scorchers have boosted their finals aspirations with a fine all-round performance, completing a comfortable 51-run victory over the previously unbeaten Melbourne Renegades at The Furnace on Saturday night.
The Scorchers produced an outstanding batting display, making the best score of any side in BBL|02 so far with 3-187 from their 20 overs, as Mat of the Match Shaun Marsh led the way with 85 off 52 balls, while Herschelle Gibbs blazed 56 off 39 and Adam Voges added 40 off 27.
Alfonso Thomas continued his fine form with the ball, taking 4-8 including the important wicket of Marlon Samuels for no score, while debutant Jason Behrendorff (3-44) got rid of the dangerous Aaron Finch as the Renegades were bowled out in the final over for 136.
The visitors had won the toss and elected to send the Scorchers in to bat on a humid evening in front of a bumper crowd of almost 14,000 fans.
Openers Marsh and Gibbs looked in control throughout their knocks, but it was the South African who made the early running, hitting the side's first four in the second over and the first six in the third. Gibbs plundered two sixes off Aaron O'Brien in the sixth over to race to 40 with the Scorchers 0-51.
The South African brought up his half century, coming off just 35 balls, in the ninth over with a big six off Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, before being caught in the next over by O'Brien in the deep off Finch's bowling. Gibbs' stellar knock of 56 included four sixes and four fours.
Marsh then assumed control, but received great support from Voges who was crafty with reverse sweeps and ramp shots.
The Scorchers opener brought up his 50, like Gibbs, with a fine six straight down the ground off Samuels, before letting loose in the 18th over from Finch with three maximums.
Marsh would hole out in the final over for 85 while Voges was run out trying to scramble a late single.
In reply, the Renegades always had their work cut out for them, but the departure of the in-form Finch for eight off Behrendorff's bowling in the second over was a major breakthrough.
Thomas then had West Indian Samuels caught behind for a golden duck, before wicket-keeper Tom Triffitt produced another great catch to get rid of opener Daniel Harris, making it 3-24.
Ben Rohrer rallied for the Renegades as Behrendorff's third over went for 24 runs, including four consecutive boundaries, which lifted the total to 50 after six overs.
Rohrer and Tom Cooper's partnership reached 50 runs off just 32 balls when the latter hit Coulter-Nile for six. The bowler had the last laugh when he dismissed Cooper only three balls later with a slower ball seeing him caught behind.
Rohrer went for 52 off 33 balls, brilliantly caught by Thomas off Behrendorff, and the Scorchers were well in control at 5-93 in the 12th over.
Thomas grabbed another two scalps to finish with the outstanding figures of 4-8 from 3.1 overs as the Renegades lost their final four wickets for just 12 runs to be all out for 136.
The result is a major boost for the Scorchers with the big win improving the side's net run rate as they close on a top four spot. Their next game is away to fellow finals hopeful Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena on New Year's Day.