The scorecard: Adelaide Strikers 5-178 (Dunk 65, Watson 2-42) beat Sydney Thunder 101 (Watson 39, Sodhi 6-11) by 77 runs
The match in a tweet: Sodhi puts defending champions in a spin in an extraordinary display as the Strikers finish their #BBL06 campaign with a thumping win
Super Sodhi: Ish Sodhi delivered career-best figures in an extraordinary performance to eliminate defending champions Sydney Thunder from the title race and ensure the Adelaide Strikers ended their KFC Big Bash League campaign on a positive note. The New Zealand leg-spinner removed Ben Rohrer, Carlos Brathwaite, Jay Lenton, Arjun Nair, Chris Green and Clint McKay, becoming just the second man in BBL history – after Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga in BBL|02 – to collect a six-wicket haul. The 24-year-old, who has represented his country 39 times across the three formats, returned remarkable figures of 6-11 from 3.3 overs, spun the ball both ways and left his opponents mesmerised. The Thunder lost 8-22 as Sodhi put them in a spin and announced himself as a fine prospect.
Slam Dunk: Call Ben Dunk Mr Consistency. As a result of the third ever trade deal in BBL history, Dunk crossed from the Hobart Hurricanes to Adelaide Strikers during the off-season, allowing the former to pounce on Hamish Kingston. While the Strikers won’t contest finals, they can’t complain about Dunk’s efforts, with the opener compiling 364 runs at 52 from eight matches, including three half-centuries. Dunk hit 65 off just 40 deliveries tonight to go with knocks of 79 not out and 85 earlier in the tournament. Overall, he passed 30 seven times from eight innings – a wonderful return in the game’s shortest format – after also topping the competition run tally in BBL|03.
Triple dab: Sydney Thunder’s Carlos Brathwaite again showed off his 'triple dab' celebration after removing Tim Ludeman LBW. The Strikers’ opener was looking ominous before he missed a straight one from Brathwaite and departed for 13 from as many deliveries. Several West Indian players have been famous for their celebrations over the years – think Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Chris Gayle and Curtly Ambrose – and Brathwaite showed he enjoys a wicket as much as anyone.
The moment: Shane Watson looked in imperious touch as the Thunder raced to 1-60 off 7.4 overs. Part-time left-arm spinner Jake Lehmann then dragged down a short delivery which deserved to be dispatched to the boundary, but instead Watson picked out Ben Laughlin at deep mid-wicket. The Thunder skipper had made his way to 39 from 26 balls – highlighted by six fours and a six – and displayed his full array of shots as he loomed as a potential match-winner. But the Thunder crumbled from there, with Kurtis Patterson (29) the only other batsman to reach double figures as Sodhi dismantled their line-up.
The drop: Brathwaite had reason to smile after dismissing Ludeman. But he was left red-faced moments later after dropping a relatively straightforward chance from the bowling of Chris Green at mid-off. Ben Dunk – the most prolific batsmen in BBL|06 so far – was on just eight when he hit a lofted drive at the West Indian allrounder, who fluffed the opportunity. Two balls later, Dunk whacked a six over long off to add insult to injury before taking full advantage of the reprieve and making 65 and lay a strong foundation for his team.
Pollard goes whack: We’ve been waiting for West Indian man mountain Kieron Pollard to explode with the bat in BBL|06. He entered this fixture with just two scores above 20 for the tournament before slamming an entertaining 47 from 22 balls – an innings which included five massive sixes. Pollard’s one-handed maximum off Thunder spinner Fawad Ahmed was a highlight you could watch over and over again. No wonder he has a strike rate of over 150 in Twenty20 matches.
Brathwaite bamboozled: Brathwaite’s potential weakness against spin was noted before Ish Sodhi delivered this beauty to send the import on his way for just one. Brathwaite shot to fame after belting four consecutive sixes off England’s Ben Strokes to seal a famous victory for the West Indies in last year’s Twenty20 World Cup final. But he produced his best with the ball in BBL|06.
The wash-up: The Strikers were simply playing for pride and showed they can be a formidable side, while the Thunder won’t defend their title from BBL|05 after a disastrous end to their campaign.