Scorchers put line through fast star for BBL final, cite ‘unnecessary risk’

The BBL Grand Final already has a heartbreaking history, with Perth Scorchers pacesetter Jhye Richardson missing the big day through injury.

Scorchers secured their place in Saturday’s decider with a seven-wicket victory over the Sydney Sixers in Perth.

A crowd of around 50,000 is expected to converge on Optus Stadium for the grand final as the Scorchers bid for their fifth title.

Richardson suffered a hamstring injury on January 4 and was originally expected to return in time for the final.

But the 26-year-old will fail in his quest to be part of the team’s bid for back-to-back titles, with the Scorchers unwilling to put Richardson’s body at risk of another injury.

“I think Jhye’s chances are pretty slim. I would be surprised if we see him next weekend,” said Scorchers captain Ashton Turner.

“Jhye is such an exciting cricketer, but he’s still a young man.

“He puts his body to the test. We are really grateful that he did everything he could to qualify for the final campaign. We know how valuable it is.

“But we also have a bit of a step back. Jhye has a lot of cricket ahead of him – in orange, playing for WA, playing for Australia, playing for franchises around the world.

“He is too important to put his body at unnecessary risk.

“We want him in our team as many times as possible. But there’s also a risk-reward balance, and I don’t think it’s worth putting too much stress on someone’s young body.

Jhye Richardson of the Scorchers. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Scorchers will lose pace with ace Lance Morris in the face of international commitments for the decider, with manager Adam Voges facing a tough decision to replace him with compatriot Matt Kelly or spinner Peter Hatzoglou.

Kelly missed ‘The Qualifier’ win over the Sixers with a concussion, while Hatzoglou was completely overlooked after the Scorchers decided to go into the game without a specialist spinner.

“Peter Hatzoglou has been playing very well for us for a few years now. He was really unfortunate to miss the selection,” Turner said.

“He’s someone who should be playing at this level. He has a proven track record, he has won us games.

“With Lance out, there’s an opportunity, whether it’s Matt Kelly or Peter Hatzoglou.”

Turner was the hero on Saturday night, hitting an unbeaten 84 on 47 balls as the Scorchers rallied from 3-22 down to pursue their target of 152 with nine balls to spare.

Cameron Bancroft (53no on 45 balls) was also crucial in the victory.

The Sixers still have a chance of reaching the Grand Final, but they will need to beat the Melbourne Renegades or Brisbane Heat in “The Challenger” in Sydney next Thursday in order to book their place.


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