Sydney Sixers one game from being on top of the table. (Image: Cricket Australia)

The fifth round of BBL|12 was one of the most important rounds as the season’s end gets closer.

With intense matchups brewing as the stakes of each game escalates, the road to the finals has only just begun.

This round also saw the beginning of the First Nations Round, with each club wearing Indigenous-themed uniforms that share unique stories.

The Inner Sanctum recaps all the results and biggest talking points of Round Five of BBL|12.

Round 5 results:

Hobart Hurricanes (8-133) defeated Melbourne Stars (7-131) by two wickets

Hurricanes: Caleb Jewell 70, Zak Crawley 30, Liam Hatcher 3-25, Nathan Coulter-Nile 2-22

Stars: Hilton Cartwright 57, James Seymour 20, Nathan Ellis 2-12, Riley Meredith 2-25

Adelaide Strikers (4-202) defeated Melbourne Renegades (6-182) by 20 runs

Strikers: Chris Lynn 69*, Matt Short 38, Ruwantha Kellapotha 2-32, Will Sutherland 1-16

Renegades: Sam Harper 63, Matt Critchley 33*, Wes Agar 2-26, Ben Manenti 2-50

Perth Scorchers (2-157) defeated Brisbane Heat (6-155) by eight wickets

Scorchers: Josh Inglis 67*, Aaron Hardie 65*, Xavier Bartlett 1-31, Matt Kuhnemann 1-32

Heat: Max Bryant 36, Usman Khawaja 28, Jason Behrendorff 3-21, Matt Kelly 2-17

Melbourne Stars (1-109) defeated Adelaide Strikers (108) by nine wickets

Stars: Tom Rogers 51*, Joe Clarke 35, Peter Siddle 0-13, Matt Short 0-14

Strikers: Harry Nielsen 40, Adam Hose 21, Nathan Coulter-Nile 3-17, Liam Hatcher 2-18

Perth Scorchers (1-112) defeated Sydney Thunder (111) by nine wickets

Scorchers: Cameron Bancroft 55*, Stephen Eskinazi 40, Nathan McAndrew 1-17

Thunder: Oliver Davies 52, Nathan McAndrew 21, Andrew Tye 3-27, Matt Kelly 2-11

Brisbane Heat (154) defeated Adelaide Strikers 9-137 by 17 runs

Heat: Marnus Labuschagne 46, Josh Brown 26, Harry Conway 3-36, Peter Siddle 2-24

Strikers: Matt Short 39, Chris Lynn 22, James Bazley 3-30, Matt Kuhnemann 2-26

Melbourne Renegades (7-162) defeated Melbourne Stars (7-156) by six runs

Renegades: Sam Harper 51, Jonathan Wells 44, Brody Couch 2-40, Clint Hinchliffe 1-12

Stars: Joe Clarke 59, Beau Webster 29, Kane Richardson 2-17, Tom Rogers 2-45

Hobart Hurricanes (5-136) defeated Sydney Thunder (135) by five wickets

Hurricanes: Tim David 76*, Matthew Wade 30, Daniel Sams 4-18

Thunder: Oliver Davies 45, Chris Green 21, Nathan 4-27, Paddy Dooley 3-22

Sydney Sixers (5-151) defeated Perth Scorchers (7-145) by six runs

Sixers: Josh Philippe 54, Steve Smith 36, Peter Hatzoglou 2-27, Jason Behrendorff 1-30

Scorchers: Stephen Eskinazi 66*, Nick Hobson 27, Sean Abbott 3-18, Dan Christian 2-7

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Five Talking Points:

1. Are the Perth Scorchers the team to beat?

The Perth Scorchers have been continuing to be the best team in the competition this season, only having lost their third game to end the round against the Sydney Sixers.

In their three games this week, their two wins were against the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder.

Perth Scorchers defeated the Sydney Thunder dominating bowling and batting. (Photo: Joshua Davis)

Their attack in both batting and bowling was outstanding, being able to manage the game with ease when chasing the total of their opponents.

Their opening batters were aggressive at the start, aiming for the boundary and getting on the front foot to finish the game.

No matter what has been thrown at the Scorchers this season, it has been difficult to de-rail their approach to the game.

2. Thunder struggle

After going on a run of consecutive wins last week, the Thunder went down from being a top-two team to being shy of a top-four spot.

Their struggles early in their batting innings have led to low-scoring performances and their bowling does not help them control the game.

With a few games remaining, the Thunder still have a chance of making the finals.

The biggest takeaway from their losses against the Perth Scorchers and Hobart Hurricanes is that the Thunder need to change their opening batting order, especially with David Warner returning recently, as he continues his struggles when he faces the first ball of the innings.

David Warner continues his struggles at the crease. (Photo: Joshua Davis)

3. A six or dead ball?

In the Melbourne derby, Joe Clarke of the Melbourne Stars hit the ball up to the roof.

There were two instances in the game when the ball had been struck and hit the roof.

The rules, specifically section 19.7.1 of the “Stadium Roof” says that:

“If the ball having been struck by the bat hits any part of the stadium roof structure, retractable or fixed, a boundary (six) will be scored.”

There has been a lot of debate on whether it should be declared a six, with fans suggesting it should become a dead ball.

4. Insane catches

This week, there were impressive wickets taken and plenty of catches were on replay considering how impressive they were.

Stars’ captain Adam Zampa against the Renegades got opposing skipper Aaron Finch thanks to a diving catch from Tom Rogers early in the innings.

Against the Hurricanes, Sydney Thunder’s Chris Green caught a sky-high hit from Zak Crawley, which was one of Daniel Sams’ four wickets in that game.

Against the Scorchers, Kurt Patterson prevented what would have been a Cameron Bancroft boundary, having to step in and out of the boundary while keeping the ball in play.

The BBL is known for impressive moments, and this week it delivered in heavy rivalry contests.

5. The battle for the top four

The top two teams have separated themselves in the standings, with the Perth Scorchers with 16 points and the Sydney Sixers with 15 points. 

The Melbourne Renegades have 12 points in third place, meanwhile, the Adelaide Strikers, Hobart Hurricanes, and Sydney Thunder are all on 10 points.

Melbourne Renegades have three games left in the season, including a meeting with the Thunder, as well as the Scorchers, and the Strikers.

It is a very difficult finish to the season for the Renegades, facing two teams fighting for the same spots and the number one team in the competition.

Adelaide Strikers have the Sixers and the Scorchers this next round before finishing their season against the Renegades.

Hobart Hurricanes have a decent schedule, with trips to Optus Stadium and The Gabba before home games against the Sixers and the Heat.

In terms of difficulty, the Thunder have it slightly better, going toe to toe with the Renegades, then the battle of Sydney with the Sixers before closing out the regular season against the Melbourne Stars.

The First Nations Round continues on Monday night with the Melbourne Stars versing the Brisbane Heat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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