Strikers lock in BBL|13 finals with nine-wicket win

The Adelaide Strikers have completed a stunning mid-season turn around to lock in a KFC BBL|13 finals appearance, their top-four finish in the competition secured with a nine-wicket win against the Sydney Thunder.

Led by Lloyd Pope (4-22) and Matt Short (74*), it was a comprehensive win at Manuka Oval on Sunday night.

Despite losing the toss, the Strikers still ended up bowling first which has been a successful formula for them in their recent run of wins.

The Thunder scored fast in the Power Play, but the Strikers got on top of it in the fourth over when Jamie Overton had David Warner caught on the boundary to have the score 1-37.

After the Power Play, the Strikers bowlers kept it tight, headlined by a two-run fifth over by Cameron Boyce.

The pressure built and the Thunder batters began to try steal quick singles, but Cam Bancroft wasn’t quick enough and Thomas Kelly threw down his stumps in the ninth over.

A ball before drinks, Overton claimed his second removing Ollie Davies and just after drinks the Strikers struck again, with Boyce getting the dangerous Alex Hales caught behind.

At 4-75, Alex Ross and Matthew Gilkes dug in, but the bowlers weren’t making it easy to score and finally Lloyd Pope broke the partnership.

After that, wickets quickly fell with Overton claiming Gilkes wicket in the Surge as he finished with brilliant figures of 3-26.

The next over, Pope took three wickets in four deliveries to really give the Strikers the momentum, becoming the first Striker in BBL|13 to collect a four-wicket haul.

A run-out in the final over of the innings had the Thunder all out for 140, leaving the Strikers batters 141 runs to chase to secure their spot in the finals.

From the outset the skipper made it his mission to chase those runs, putting not one but two balls onto the roof of Manuka Oval at the start of the innings.

D’Arcy Short got lucky when the ball hit the bail but didn’t knock it off, but a few overs later the luck ran out and he was bowled for 15.

That brought Jake Weatherald to the crease and he picked up where he left off from last match, quickly scoring boundaries.

A beautiful six down the ground brought up Weatherald’s 2000th Big Bash run, becoming the first Striker to reach the special milestone.

Short and Weatherald cruised from there, with Short bringing up his sixth half-century of the tournament and becoming the first man in BBL history to score four scores of 70+ in one season.

He now has the most runs by a Striker in a BBL season, going on to finish 74* with Weatherald on 47* as the runs were chased down inside 17 overs and a nine-wicket win was secured alongside a top four finish.

The Strikers will now await the results of the remaining three BBL|13 matches to confirm the details of the final series, with the Adelaide side set to travel for the Knockout Final on Saturday, January 20.

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