Sport Tennis BBL: Scorchers fall to Stars, but recruit Morkel offers a boost
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BBL: Scorchers fall to Stars, but recruit Morkel offers a boost

Morne Morkel
Morne Morkel in action for South Africa against Australia. Photo: AAP
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Former South African champion Morne Morkel will make a late-season BBL cameo after signing with Perth, although the Scorchers put in a shocker against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Saturday.

Part-time bowler Nic Maddinson spun the ladder-leading Stars to their 10th win of the BBL season against Perth.

The Stars defended a paltry 6-141 on Saturday after the Scorchers appeared to be cruising to victory in their chase at the MCG.

A collapse from visitors, prompted by 14 straight overs of spin bowling, allowed the Stars to prevail by 10 runs.

The Scorchers were doing it easy at 2-62 after nine overs before momentum swung in the Stars’ favour when Maddinson hung onto a brilliant return catch off a full-toss to Cameron Bancroft.

Even without Australian spinner Adam Zampa, the Stars’ slower bowlers did the job with Maddinson, captain Glenn Maxwell and Sandeep Lamichhane all key. Maddinson finished with 3-24.

“I think once we got out of the powerplay, it was about slowing it up (with spin),” Maxwell said.

“Maddo was a bit shocked when I told him to bowl the first one – and he was even more shocked when I told him he was bowling the last two.”

The Stars next travel to play the Sydney Sixers on Monday, while the Scorchers host the Sydney Thunder later that night.

Perth is hoping towering fast bowler Morkel will line-up in against the Sydney Thunder on January 26, replacing Englishman Chris Jordan.

Morkel could feature in up to five games if Perth finishes in fourth or fifth on the ladder and they manage to win their way through to the BBL final.

It’s a massive boost for the franchise, who sit in fourth on the ladder with a 5-5 record before Saturday’s game against ladder-leaders the Melbourne Stars.

Morkel captured 309 wickets during his 86-Test career with the Proteas, retiring after South Africa’s 3-1 series win against Australia in 2018.

But he’s continued playing Twenty20 cricket, last featuring for the Spartans in the South Africa’s Mzansi Super League in December.

“Once we knew CJ (Jordan) had been picked in the England side we knew that we would need a replacement … and Morne was always at the top of the list,” Scorchers coach Adam Voges said.

“Luckily I’ve played a bit with Morne over the years so we’ve got a good relationship and he was super excited to get involved in the Big Bash.

“We’re going to get Morne to Perth next week and he’ll be around the group for a week or so before he plays.”

After Morkel’s retirement from international cricket, he move to Sydney with his wife, sports journalist Roz Kelly.

He’s spoken about gaining permanent residency in Australia, which could make him available as a local BBL player.

-with AAP