The score: Adelaide Strikers 7-158 (Colin Ingram 48, Alex Carey 34; Fawad Ahmed 3-31) defeated Sydney Thunder 9-133 (Ben Rohrer 29, Kurtis Patterson 29; Michael Neser 3-29, Rashid Khan 2-21)
Match in a tweet: Walking highlights reel Rashid Khan inspires the Strikers to victory over the Thunder as Colin Ingram wows the crowd at Spotless. #BBL07
The hero: Rashid Khan continued his red-hot form for the Strikers at Spotless Stadium tonight and was a force with both bat and ball (more on his batting below). The Afghan leg-spinner has been a constant threat at the bowling crease in BBL|07 and it was no different against the Thunder as he claimed the key wicket of Jos Buttler and also removed Arjun Nair, returning tidy figures of 2-21 from his four overs in a spell which included 10 dot balls. His latest outstanding effort means he has completed a two-wicket haul in five consecutive matches in his maiden BBL foray. Rashid’s economy rate of 5.10 is clearly the best of the competition’s top-10 wicket-takers, with Hobart Hurricanes paceman Jofra Archer (six runs per over) the next tightest bowler of the leading pack. Rashid has 10 wickets at 10.2 apiece from five matches and is the equal third highest wicket-taker, underlining his massive contribution.
The support cast: South African Colin Ingram gave the Strikers some much-needed momentum at the back end of their innings, hammering four sixes in his knock of 48 from 31 balls. When his teammates were struggling to get on top of the Thunder’s bowlers, Ingram showcased his full array of shots, with the effort backing up his hand of 66 against the Hobart Hurricanes on January 4. Allrounder Michael Neser also shone and grabbed 3-29 from his four overs, including the vital scalp of Thunder skipper Shane Watson, while Peter Siddle netted a frugal 2-13 and held his nerve in the latter stages of the match.
The consolation effort: Sydney Thunder leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed boosted his wickets tally to eight in BBL|07 after delivering his best performance of the tournament to claim 3-31 from four overs. Fawad netted the key wickets of wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey (34) and skipper Travis Head (12) in the same over and also removed Jonathan Wells (10).
The moment: With the match evenly poised, the Thunder’s Watson holed out to Jake Lehmann at long on after making 14 as he registered his second-lowest score of the season. Neser’s wicket left the home side 3-75 in the 14th over and while Ben Rohrer’s whirlwind 29 from 13 balls provided a few nervous moments for the Strikers faithful, the Thunder failed to recover from the loss of their most consistent batsman this tournament.
The turning point: The Strikers struggled to build momentum for most of their innings and were 4-99 after 15 overs as the Thunder’s disciplined bowling line-up kept things tight. But, inspired by big-hitting Ingram, the visitors blasted 59 runs from the final five overs to post a competitive total and record their fourth win from five matches. That onslaught proved crucial, with the Thunder falling 25 runs short.
The victim: While the Strikers have constructed a strong platform for a title tilt in the opening half of the season, opener Jake Weatherald’s lean run with the bat continued tonight after he was dismissed caught behind off the bowling of Gurinder Sandhu for 15. Weatherald produced some encouraging shots during his 13-ball stay, but he is yet to pass 20 in five innings in BBL|07 and is averaging only 10.
The entertainer: A score of 16 not out doesn’t exactly jump off the page, but Rashid’s action-packed knock provided plenty of entertainment and two sixes in the final over of the Strikers’ innings. This innings deserves another look…
The silly point: Rashid Khan again. See below!
The fantasy wrap: Neser ($76,600) topped the rankings and was the only player to reach three figures in logging 103, while Rashid ($85,400) returned 94 and Siddle ($64,000) 86.
The next stops: The Strikers (4-1) will next meet the struggling Melbourne Stars at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday, while the Thunder (2-4) will be looking to keep their finals hopes alive against defending champions the Perth Scorchers at Spotless Stadium on Thursday.