The Sydney Thunder remain winless in the Big Bash League with Chris Gayle again failing to fire as the Perth Scorchers crushed the visitors by nine wickets at the WACA Ground on Friday.
The Thunder posted just 9-113 with Usman Khawaja scoring 56 after West Indian import Gayle made just two runs while Englishman Matt Prior added only four.
Big money signing Gayle has now made just 72 runs in his six innings for the Thunder, failing to hit any sort of form with an average of just 12 this BBL campaign at a disappointing strike rate of 72.7 per cent.
Prior didn’t play the first four games due to his commitments with England in the successful Test series in India but has made just 25 runs in three innings averaging 8.3 and also going at a relatively slow strike rate of 80.6 per cent.
Perth had little trouble making 1-117 in just 13.2 overs to win with nine wickets and 40 balls in hand with Shaun Marsh scoring 56 not out from 45 balls.
Herschelle Gibbs fell early for six before Marsh and Marcus North (39 from 30) guided the Scorchers home.
Perth move to second on the ladder and the win further enhances their prospects of a semi-final berth with one game to go away to the Adelaide Strikers.
North did have two close LBW calls when on two (to Gurinder Sandhu) and 20 (to Scott Coyte) but survived both and then the pair got cracking as the pressure was released from the Thunder as they fell to a 12th straight BBL loss.
The Thunder were in trouble early slumping to 4-31 before Khawaja stood tall with some help from Mark Cosgrove (18 from 15) as the visitors limped to 113 from their 20 overs.
Bowling for the Scorchers, Jason Behrendorff delivered four straight overs at the start to take 2-16 and then Brad Hogg finished strongly, the veteran spinner claiming three last-over wickets to finish with 4-29 from his four overs.
Thunder captain for the day Gayle was again disappointed with the performance of the team and knows with himself and Prior falling early, it turned the match in the Scorchers’ favour.
“It is disappointing. We didn’t start well again and that actually cost us the match. We wanted to select to bat first, but the ball did a bit and they put the ball in the right place to get the early wickets,” Gayle said.
“We paid the penalty, but having said all of that we can take the positive out of the batting of Usman. I thought he batted really well to actually give the team a chance to be in a winning position, but to defend 113 runs on this wicket was always going to be difficult.”
Man-of-the-match Behrendorff bowled well to pick up the scalps of both Gayle and Prior as the left-arm swing bowler continues to develop with the Scorchers now looking towards the finals.
“I was absolutely stoked. I was given the new ball and my job was to swing it around, and hopefully take a few early wickets. I did that and I was really happy with it,” Behrendorff said.
“Even though the Thunder haven’t won a game, we knew they are still a very dangerous side with some really good players. We were conscious of that coming into the game and made sure we bowled well early, and was lucky enough to get the two big wickets at the top.
“If we win in Adelaide then we definitely should be in the semis so we are going well now, and are really confident. Hopefully we can continue that form in Adelaide.”