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Match Report: Strikers v Sixers

17 January 2022

Adelaide Strikers have emphatically sealed a place in the KFC BBL|11 Finals with a thumping eight-wicket victory over Sydney Sixers at Adelaide Oval.

The equation was simple for the Strikers heading into the clash, with a win enough to guarantee a top five finish and a chance to compete for the title. Capping off a remarkable resurgence highlighted by four consecutive wins, the Strikers compiled perhaps their strongest offering of the tournament to date and must now wait for other results to decide if they will enter the postseason from fourth or fifth position.

Asked to bowl first on a quick Adelaide Oval pitch, it was ageless leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed that did the damage with ball in hand, collecting 3-16 from his four overs. Included in that tally were both Sixers openers, with Ahmed bewildering Jack Edwards and Josh Philippe with traditional turn that disturbed the stumps.

Skipper Peter Siddle was just as impressive, adding two more wickets to his tournament-leading haul as he dominated the death overs to aid the Strikers in restricting the Sixes to 7-161 from their full allotment of overs.

Without regular opener Matt Short, who missed with a quad strain, new duo Matt Renshaw and Henry Hunt strode to the middle to begin the response, and it was the former who made an immediate impact by sending the opening delivery to the boundary.

Renshaw never slowed from there on his way to a crucial half-century from just 30 balls, an innings that featured seven boundaries. Hunt was explosive early but fell for 15 from nine, bringing new English recruit Ian Cockbain to the crease.

Once again, Cockbain combined a calm exterior with a brutal pursuit of runs to end the clash with Player of the Match honours thanks to a blistering unbeaten 71 from 42 deliveries. The storm of an innings contained five fours and four huge sixes, thoroughly delighting the home crowd as they regularly scampered to return the ball from the Western Stand seats.

Amazingly, Cockbain has been dismissed just once in his opening trio of fixtures as a Striker while amassing a total of 123 runs, which means the right-hander leads the league when it comes to batting average, ahead of Scorchers allrounder Mitch Marsh.

In support, Jon Wells continued his strong season, also keeping his wicket intact to hit the winning runs and add another 27 to his season tally, now the second most in the tournament behind only the explosive Ben McDermott.

Regardless of a fourth or fifth placed finish, the Strikers are set to play in the Eliminator on Friday night, with a time and venue yet to be decided.