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ABC News
ABC News

How Cooper Connolly helped lift Perth Scorchers to fifth BBL crown with victory over Brisbane Heat

At only 19, Cooper Connolly showed maturity beyond his years and experience when he strode to the crease during Saturday night's BBL final.

With the Perth Scorchers needing 39 runs from 19 deliveries for victory against the Brisbane Heat, Connolly – playing in just his fourth BBL match – had some simple advice for batting partner Nick Hobson.

"We can get this done," Connolly calmly told his Scorchers teammate as the Perth Stadium crowd of almost 54,000 watched on with bated breath.

What followed sent Connolly into BBL folklore, with the Perth teen belting an unbeaten 25 from just 11 balls to help steer to the Scorchers to a five-wicket win.

Hobson also did his part, with 18 not out from seven deliveries, as the home side clinched back-to-back BBL championships, giving them a record five in total.

While showing remarkable poise with the bat in his hands, Connolly admitted feeling anxious after replacing run-out captain Ashton Turner (53) out in the middle.

The Scorchers were 5-137 at the time, chasing 176 for victory.

"I tried to play cool, calm and collected but [I] was very nervous," Connolly told ABC Sport.

Connolly had only faced 11 deliveries this BBL season prior to Saturday night's match-winning knock, which included 18 runs —highlighted by two sixes — off James Bazley's bowling in the 18th over.

Still needing 10 runs for victory in the final over, Hobson brought up the winning runs via a boundary with four balls to spare.

Connolly adopted a basic plan in handling the Heat's bowling attack, that included Test quick Michael Neser.

"If the ball is there to hit for six, hit it for six," he said.

"If it's not, hit it along the ground. Just make sure I pick the right ball and don't try and force things."

Connolly —who captained Australia at the 2022 Under 19 World Cup —recently signed a two-year contract with the Scorchers.

He wants to develop into a "genuine all-rounder", although feels he needs to work on his bowling.

"Hopefully it's just a matter of time, but I just need to slowly improve my bowling and get a little more consistent," he said.

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