Perth Scorchers tearaway Mitchell Johnson gave his side the perfect start – and then some – in their KFC Big Bash League semi-final against the Melbourne Stars at the WACA Ground.
Johnson was (figuratively) breathing fire at The Furnace on Tuesday as he captured 3-3 from four overs in what is now the most economical spell in BBL history.
The carnage started first ball of the match when Stars opener Rob Quiney clipped Johnson to Jhye Richardson at fine leg to send the crowd berserk.
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Three balls later the delirious fans had another reason to get out of their seats when English import Luke Wright cut Johnson to a short gully to join his opening partner in the dugout on nought.
The left-armer completed his maiden over and then backed it up with another – Stars marquee signing and former Ashes foe Kevin Pietersen unable to break the shackles.
Five runs did come from Johnson’s second over but they were courtesy of leg-byes to the on-side, with each dot ball earning a resounding applause. It was just the second time in BBL history a bowler has bowled two maiden overs in a match, after Doug Bollinger bowled two for Hobart Hurricanes against the Stars at the MCG in BBL|02.
Between Johnson’s overs Pietersen said on commentary that he felt the WACA Ground pitch was slow and that factor soon came into play when he was out chipping a simple catch to Michael Klinger at mid-wicket to depart for five and give the Scorchers speedster his third scalp.
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It took 18 deliveries, the last ball of his third over, for Johnson to concede his first run – a single to fine leg that brought a groan from the crowd whose hunger for dot balls was fuelled by the frugal spell.
Perth captain Adam Voges had no option but to keep Johnson on, with two more singles following in his fourth over before his spell was complete and The Furnace faithful got off their feet to show their appreciation for their star bowler’s incredible feat.
Johnson’s economy rate of 0.75 beats Rhett Lockyear’s, Tom Cooper’s and Kane Richardson’s previous mark of 1.00 as the most economical spell in the BBL history.
However, Cooper only bowled two overs while Lockyear and Richardson bowled just one over each.