Mitchell Marsh had a horror night on Saturday during the Big Bash League final as one of his teammates hung him out to dry late in the first innings.
Englishman James Vince was rollicking along for the Sydney Sixers at the SCG, doing all the damage on his way to 95 from 60 balls but the Perth Scorchers butchered a golden chance to end his knock earlier.
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Facing medium-pacer Aaron Hardie, Vince slogged the first ball of the 15th over high into the night sky but not far enough to clear the rope on the leg side. However, instead of the man on the boundary running in to take the catch, Marsh ran backwards from the infield and tried to take the grab over his shoulder.
It’s always easier for a fielder running in towards the ball to take a catch than it is for someone running back, so everyone expected the boundary-rider to call Marsh out of it and make a play himself.
But that didn’t happen. Marsh called it early and ended up spilling what was always going to be a difficult chance for someone in his position.
“There was another fielder on the fence that was coming in. It would have been easier for him to come in rather than Mitchell Marsh,” Shane Warne said in commentary for Fox Cricket.
“He said, ‘Mine’, he wanted it, unfortunately it just wasn’t (to be).”
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting slammed the “absolutely disgraceful” communication between Perth’s bumbling fielders.
“That is a 100 times easier catch for the guy running in than it is for the guy running back,” Ponting told Channel 7.
“I don’t care who it is out there on the boundary and I don’t care if Mitchell Marsh called that and wanted it, the guy coming in has got to call him out.”
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Vince was dropped again later in the over after slicing a ball out towards deep point, where Cameron Bancroft put in a spectacular diving effort that, had it been successful, would have been one of the best catches of the tournament.
Vince didn’t do too much more damage, dismissed the following over when he squirted leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed to backward point where Marsh managed to hang on this time.
But Vince won the fielding war over the Australian all-rounder when it was the Scorchers’ turn to bat. Needing to display some of his trademark lusty hitting to keep his side in the hunt, Marsh was on 11 when he drilled a ball to cover, only to see Vince leap high to his right and pull off something special to end his innings — and Perth’s title hopes.
After the English import piloted the Sixers to 6/188, the Scorchers started strong in reply but the asking rate proved too much and the continual loss of wickets saw them fall 27 runs short, finishing at 9/161 from their 20 overs.