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Head heroics steal unlikely victory

31 December 2015

UNBELIEVABLE: Travis Head pulls off one of the all-time great BBL knocks to get the Strikers home on NYE.

Travis Head pulls off one of the biggest performances in BBL history with an unbeaten 101 off 53 balls to get the Strikers home in a New Year's Eve nailbiter.

The match in a tweet: Head of the class! Strikers star blasts one of the great Big Bash League innings to get the Strikers home against wounded Sixers #BBL05

The hero: Can't be anyone but Travis Head, who somehow stole the win for the Strikers with one of the great innings in Big Bash League history. All looked lost for the home side when Alex Ross fell in the 17th over with 55 still to win, but Head launched 27 off one over from Sean Abbott to drag his side back into the game. The left-hander hit nine sixes in all, including seven from the final 14 balls he faced, bringing up his century with a six off the final ball of the match, his third in consecutive balls. The first Strikers player to score a BBL ton, Head's knock won't be easily forgotten.

The turning point: Needing 51 from 18 balls to win, Travis Head went 4, 6, 4, 6, 6, 1 from the 18th over off the bowling of Sean Abbott to completely turn the match in his side's favour. He then hit a further three consecutive sixes of Abbott's next over - the final one of the match - to secure his century and an incredible win with three balls remaining.

WATCH: Head hits 27 from a single over

The catch: One of the highlights of the night came in just the seventh over of the match when Alex Ross flew like Superman to pocket this sensational outfield catch. Sit back and enjoy this.

WATCH: Ross sparks memories of McGrath with this catch

The veteran: Not the first veteran to fire in BBL|05, Brad Haddin turned back the clock with a classy half-century at a ground where he scored two of his four Test centuries. The wicketkeeper-batsman averaged just a tick under 100 in Tests at the Adelaide Oval and he continued his love affair with the ground, hitting four sixes and two fours in a match-high score of 54 from 35 balls. But it wasn't all good news for the veteran ...

WATCH: Haddin turns back the clock with half-century

The injury I: Already without Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon, Steve O'Keefe and Josh Hazlewood (Test duty) plus Moises Henriques and Mitchell Starc (injury), the Sixers can ill afford to lose another star player to injury. But they face an anxious wait after Brad Haddin was unable to keep tonight due to a groin injury he picked up late in his first-innings half-century. "I felt something pop in my groin in the last over," the veteran told Network Ten. "I've never had an issue with my groin before so I don't really know. I'm not sure (how serious it is). I felt something pop and I couldn't push out of stance at the end (of the innings). It's a bit frustrating."

The injury II: And things could get worse for the Sixers, with import Michael Lumb leaving the field in the second innings with an apparent hamstring problem. The veteran duo now face an uphill battle to prove their fitness for the clash against the Scorchers in Perth in just two days time.

The import: Along with Andre Russell, Adelaide's English allrounder Adil Rashid is vying for the tag of the best import of BBL|05. The Strikers said goodbye to spinner Johan Botha and Adam Zampa at the end of the last season, but Rashid has more than filled the void. The leggie picked up three big wickets on Thursday night bringing him level with Russell on seven as the leading wicket-taker in BBL|05.

WATCH: Rashid keeps the Strikers in it with three wickets

The surprise: The words 'Ed Cowan' and 'T20 batsman' don't normally go hand-in-hand, but the opener showed he's more than up to the shortest form of the game with a polished innings of 43 at the top of the order. The left-hander is a vastly different player to the one who played 18 Tests between 2011 and 2013, and his full range of run-scoring shots were on full display in Adelaide.

WATCH: Cowan gets Sixers off to a bright start

The crowd: It wasn't quite the crowd that smashed records the last time the two teams played at this venue, but the 46,389 fans who showed up tonight certainly got value for money. Despite stifling heat and New Year's Eve celebrations in full swing just over the river, the Strikers faithful turned out in droves.

The rookie: Unknown left-armer Ben Dwarshuis continued an impressive start to his Big Bash League career, shouldering the burden with the ball and proving very difficult to get away. Dwarshuis, who picked up four wickets in three matches last season, fired in his first game of BBL|05 with figures of 3-25 from four overs. A brilliant performance from a young man with a lot of talent. 

The wash-up: The Strikers jump to second with the win tonight and now have a few days off before they host the Scorchers on Tuesday. The wounded Sixers must dust themselves off and head to Perth to take on the defending champions on Saturday in a replay of last season's Big Final.


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