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Perth Scorchers cement reputation as cricket's behemoths, brushing aside adversity to win Big Bash title

As the Perth Scorchers celebrate back-to-back Big Bash titles, and the franchise's fifth overall, it's easy to overlook just how monumental this season's achievement is.

As defending champions, the Scorchers were always considered contenders, but after they stormed home against the Brisbane Heat in another classic Scorchers' performance, it's easy to forget what the club overcame to achieve this title.

The Big Bash introduced a draft ahead of the league's 12th season, which saw numerous Scorchers' favourites move to opposition clubs, including Liam Livingstone, Colin Munro and Joe Clarke.

They ultimately selected Laurie Evans, Phil Salt and Tymal Mills, none of which set foot on the field for the Scorchers.

Evans had his contract torn up following a positive drug test, Salt was injured before the season started and Mills withdrew from the competition after his two-year-old daughter had a stroke.

That left the Scorchers without its three first-choice imports, on top of an injury which had ruled out star all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who averaged almost 58 last season.

They also lost paceman and best bowler Jhye Richardson to a hamstring injury with several games left in the season.

On top of injury, scandal and departing internationals, the Scorchers also saw Ashton Agar and Lance Morris called up to the Australia squad. Their inclusion meant the Perth franchise dealt with the loss of nine players which would have featured in their best 11. 

Classic Scorchers embrace turmoil

But just like they did in 2022, when they played just a single game at home and still won the title, the Scorchers embraced the turmoil.

They signed South African star Faf du Plessis along with English duo Adam Lyth and Stephen Eskinazi.

Du Plessis and Lyth departed midway through the season.

But it was the homegrown talent which stepped up, and again underscored just how prolific the WA cricket talent conveyor belt is.

Aaron Hardie moved into the number three spot vacated by the injured Marsh, and immediately established himself as a star of the competition. He finished with 460 runs, the highest in the league, and was named in the Team of the Tournament.

Cameron Bancroft moved to the top of the order, and made four unbeaten half-centuries, while Eskinazi chipped in when he failed.

Such was the Scorchers top-order dominance, middle-order batter Nick Hobson was only required to bat twice in the Scorchers last eight games.

A legacy that's hard to beat

When Justin Langer left the Scorchers following three BBL titles to take the Australia men's coaching job in 2018, there was a school of thought that the magic left with him.

And indeed that appeared true after Adam Voges battled an inauspicious start as coach, with the side finishing eighth in 2019 and sixth in 2020.

But they have since finished second, and won two titles. WA as a cricketing organisation has also claimed the Sheffield Shield and domestic one-day cup to cement its place as a powerhouse in the sport.

The Scorchers are building a legacy that's going to be hard to end, and the question now is how the other franchises keep up with cricket's behemoths.

Crowds back with a vengeance

The end of the COVID pandemic has seen crowds return to the Big Bash, with an average of more than 16,000 attending the 60 matches across the season before the final.

It's a doubling of the average crowds across the past two seasons but still down on the previous two.

Perth has contributed greatly to the increase, with data from Austadiums showing Perth Stadium averaged more than 28,000 fans across the regular season and the Scorchers qualifying final against the Sydney Sixers.

It's a stark contrast to the abysmal crowds that turned out for the Australia and West Indies test match in December, which saw just 42,723 fans attend.

Cricket is very much alive in Western Australia, especially if one of the teams playing is in burnt orange.

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