The defending champions were unable to back up an impressive win on Friday night against the Melbourne Stars with a Shane Watson-inspired Thunder handing the Strikers their fourth loss of BBL|08.
The result leaves the Strikers in fifth place on the tournament table after eight matches with a 4-4 record.
Watson smashed 68 off 40 balls in a captain's knock to vault the Thunder into second place also with a 4-4 ledger but a superior net run rate.
The home side was flagging early at 2/37 when star spinner Rashid Khan claimed two wickets in successive deliveries during the fourth over.
But skipper Watson and youngster Jason Sangha put the hosts back on track with a 77-run partnership.
The Thunder looked in a commanding position at 2/119 after nine overs but the Strikers applied the brakes with the ball, claiming three wickets for seven runs and bowling eight overs without a boundary.
Some late big hitting from Jay Lenton (27 off 16) helped the Thunder to 6/168 after 20 overs.
The Strikers’ chase never really got going outside of powerful South African Colin Ingram’s impressive 48 off 30 deliveries.
Former Striker Chris Jordan dismissed Travis Head for 10 with just his second ball to have the visitors in trouble at 3/26 and they never recovered.
Arjun Nair claimed 3/12 as the Strikers failed to find runs throughout their order, losing their last six wickets for just 22 runs.
Adelaide next hosts ladder leaders the Hobart Hurricanes on Monday, 21 January back at Adelaide Oval in the first meeting between the two teams since the BBL|07 final. Tickets are now available.