Big Bash League: Perth Scorchers defeat Melbourne Stars in dramatic semi-final
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs. Last Updated: 16/01/13 2:40pm
Shaun Marsh: Blasted 68 at the top of the order for Scorchers
Perth Scorchers secured their place in the final of the KFC Big Bash against Brisbane Heat after defeating Melbourne Stars in a final-ball thriller at the WACA.
In a semi-final which had just about everything, it was left to Western Australia veteran Mike Hussey to hit the winning runs off the final ball and clinch an eight-wicket victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
With just one run required off James Faulkner's final delivery, Hussey, who announced his international retirement earlier in the Australian summer, swatted the bowler over deep midwicket to complete a stunning run-chase.
It would have been a totally different outcome, though, had Faulkner not overstepped with his front foot and presented Perth with a second chance to hit the winning runs.
Perth were chasing a revised victory target of 139 after rain had interrupted Melbourne Stars' expertly-compiled first-innings of 183-2 from 18 overs.
Cameron White and Brad Hodge looked to have batted Perth out of the game after both cracked rapid half-centuries to leave the packed-out WACA crowd ducking for cover.
White, promoted to the top of the order, vindicated the decision to do so with five sixes in his 53-ball 88 while Hodge finished off the innings in style with 70 not out from just 43 deliveries.
The rain undoubtedly aided Perth's cause however they were still required to bat at over 10 runs an over throughout the chase.
Shaun Marsh gave them the perfect start in reply, continuing his fine form with 68 off 40 balls before Faulkner removed him with 38 further runs required.
The stage looked set for Hussey to come in and finish the job, and, aided by an unbeaten 36 from Adam Voges, a dropped catch from Jackson Bird and indiscipline from Faulkner, he did not disappoint.
Perth will now meet Brisbane Heat at the WACA in Saturday's final.