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Scorchers brace for Lee
Scorchers brace for Lee

Brett Lee is the big-game player standing between Perth Scorchers and a third successive Big Bash League final.

Scorchers captain Simon Katich nominated the Sydney Sixers paceman as the biggest threat to his team's hopes of qualifying for the series decider and a place in the lucrative Champions League.

The 37-year-old has been a recurring nemesis for Perth in the domestic Twenty20 format.

His two wickets in a damaging first over against the Scorchers in the first BBL final two years ago dealt Perth a blow they were unable to recover from as the Sixers cruised to a seven-wicket victory.

The veteran quick was also outstanding in the clash of the two sides this summer, opening with a double-wicket maiden en route to a match haul of 4-28.

Lee has nine wickets in the third instalment of the BBL at an economy rate of just over eight an over.

But Katich warned statistics did not tell the whole story when it came to his former Australian teammate's influence in critical games, putting the Scorchers on full alert for their semifinal at the SCG on Wednesday night.

"I know what he's like," Katich said. "I've played with him a lot and he's a big-game player. He'll be primed for a big showing.

"I think he's proved that in the games he's played us.

"How we play him - not only him but also the rest of their attack - will be crucial to setting the game up."

The other headache for the Scorchers is Mitch Marsh's ordinary form. The 22-year-old, who has been a match winner in previous BBL tournaments, has scores of 15, seven and a duck at the top of the order.

A positive for Perth is the expected return of Nathan Coulter-Nile from international duties.

Coulter-Nile has shown his value in smashing late-order runs and impressed in graduating to the Australian one-day international and T20 ranks, taking 15 wickets in seven games.

"He handles the bat very well, he's athletic in the field and can bowl at a good pace," Katich said.

The Sixers will be without Brad Haddin, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyon, the quartet having flown to South Africa for the Test series. Left-arm spinner Stephen O'Keefe is also in doubt after dislocating his right shoulder against Sydney Thunder last Saturday night.