Neil Broom, who has had a quiet time in India so far in the Champions League Twenty20 2013 qualifiers and the New Zealand A series before that, chose the right moment to blaze into form and into the record books, leading a 62-run Otago Volts demolition of Perth Scorchers at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday (September 25). (Match highlights | Match Scorecard | Match pics)
Broom batted through the Otago innings after they had been put in by Simon Katich, the Perth captain, and walked off unbeaten on 117 off just 56 balls, only the fifth century in CLT20 history and the third highest individual score. Otago comfortably topped Royal Challengers Bangalore's 215 for 8 in 2011 as the previous highest team score in the CLT20, racking up a massive 242 for 4 against the hapless Perth bowlers who didn't know what hit them when Broom, in the company of Ryan ten Doeschate (66 off 26), cut loose. (It was a special knock, says Neil Broom)
Perth were never in the running for the unlikely target, and could only manage 180 for 6, pushing Otago to six points in Group A alongwith a healthy net run-rate.
Perth had two brief moments in the match, both in Otago's innings, when they looked in the contest. At the start, Joel Paris, bowling in his first Twenty20 match, debuted with a double-wicket maiden in the third over of the match, including the scalp of Brendon McCullum, the Otago captain, out first ball. At 9 for 2 after three overs, Otago were under pressure and there was a spring in the Perth fielders' steps.
However, Derek de Boorder decided on attack as the best form of defence against a bunch of inexperienced players in a 67-run third-wicket stand with Broom, who had looked in good nick from the start.
Boorder (45 off 28) fell victim to his own adventurous batting, bowled through the gate by Adam Voges immediately after having hit a four and a six off the bowler. Voges could have had Doeschate with the first ball of his next over, but Ashton Turner made a mess of a lofted on-drive with Otago 82 for 3 in 11 overs. That brief window gone, the match was headed only Otago's way.
Doeschate's bat seemed to have only a middle, while Broom was picking off boundaries at will. The Perth bowlers lengths went badly awry. Attempted yorkers and slower balls only resulted in a surfeit of full tosses that were dispatched, to go with deliveries in the slot, waiting to be swatted away. Both Doeschate and Broom duly obliged in a manic 128-run stand that came off a mere eight overs - Doeschate reaching his half-century off 21 balls along the way.
Broom, on 87 when the 19th over began with Otago 204 for 4, took Paris apart, reaching his hundred with the second of three sixes on the trot off 51 balls - another CLT20 record.
The first over of Perth's chase resulted in two wickets, including Liam Davis out off the first ball, and Ashton Agar, sent in at the top of the order, falling after a four and a six. When Katich was run out off a direct hit to make it 11 for 3 in the second over, the writing was on the wall for Perth.
Hilton Cartwright provided some resistance, batting at No.5 and scoring an unbeaten 54-ball 73, but the main result of his innings was only a reduction in the margin of defeat for Perth.
Before this match, Brad Hogg, who wasn't included in the Perth XI, had indicated this tournament would be a learning curve for a young squad, and on Wednesday, they got a sharp lesson in bowling at the death against rampaging batsmen. The last nine overs of Otago's innings fetched 160 runs, with the least expensive over going for 14. The rare dot ball was the most exciting event, with boundaries commonplace. Faced with such an onslaught, there was only one possible outcome in the match.