PERTH: Michael Klinger smashed an unbeaten 71 off 49 balls to steer the Perth Scorchers to a crushing nine-wicket win over the Sydney Sixers in Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League final in Perth on Saturday. Klinger hammered five fours and five sixes in the Scorchers’ 144 for one to easily overhaul the Sixers’ 141 for nine with 25 balls to spare. It was the Scorchers’ third title in six BBL seasons in another dominant campaign. Englishman Ian Bell was at the wicket with Klinger when the winning runs were hit and remained 31 not out off 25 balls. Sam Whiteman gave Justin Langer’s Scorchers a flying start with 41 off 21 balls with five fours and three sixes until he was stumped by Brad Haddin off Test off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the eighth over. “Sometimes the risks come off. 140 can be a tricky target,” Klinger said. “We just thought that we’ll come out here and take the game away. Whiteman was unbelievable in the first three-four overs, but our bowlers set this up for us.” Pacemen Jhye Richardson and England import Tim Bresnan set up the crushing victory with three wickets each in the Sixers’ struggling innings. Richardson took three for 30 and had a hand in a run-out, while Bresnan chipped in with three for 40.
Former Australia Test fast bowler Mitchell Johnson had another influential bowling spell with one for 13 off four overs after taking three for three in the semi-final win over the Melbourne Stars. Johnson said he thoroughly enjoyed playing in the BBL but had no thoughts of breaking his retirement to play international T20 cricket. “Pretty awesome. It brings back old memories. The last two games have been amazing,” Johnson said. “You always think about coming out of retirement. Playing here, I had fun, but I don’t think I will play international cricket again. That’s done and dusted. I’m just enjoying playing here.” Only Haddin with 38 off 25 balls and South African Johann Botha with 32 off 25 balls offered any resistance for the Sixers, who crumbled to 80 for six in the first 12 overs. The Scorchers have now won the BBL title in 2013/14, 2014/15 and this season and lost in two other finals, while the Sixers, who were the inaugural season champions, have now lost in two other finals. Cricket Australia said it will increase the number of games next season as it looks to capitalise on huge turnouts at matches. The Big Bash League has drawn huge crowds across Australia over the past few weeks and CA said it plans to add another eight matches to the competition. More than one million spectators attended matches this season, while the league has attracted an average television viewership of more than a million each night, CA said.