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Match Report: Strikers v Stars

16 January 2022

New recruit Henry Thornton and veteran Jon Wells have powered the Strikers back inside the KFC BBL top five, with the duo’s performances against Melbourne Stars at Adelaide Oval guiding Adelaide to victory.

Sitting beside each other in the standings, with Finals promised to neither, the two sides entered the field of play knowing that only a win would do as their postseason pursuit continued.

Batting first in perfect conditions, Wells came to the crease with his side 2/42 following another opening cameo from Matt Short that yielded 33 from 22. The busy right-hander then built partnerships with new international recruit Ian Cockbain and Jake Weatherald to ensure the home side would set the Stars a competitive total in a must-win game.

Wells struck the boundary rope six times and cleared it once in an innings of 73 from 49 that was only brought to an end when risking a desperate second run on the final delivery of the innings. Hitting the gaps with ease and accelerating late, Wells climbed on the tournament’s overall run-scorers during the knock, with Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott now the only players with a more prolific accumulation.

Set a chase of 156, the Stars never got going as the Strikers bowling unit refused to give an inch, instead collecting regular wickets and restricting Melbourne to just 132 to claim the points.

All five Strikers thrown the ball collected a wicket, but it was Thornton who starred. Dismantling the stumps twice, including those belonging to Stars skipper Glenn Maxwell, the speedster finished with figures of 4/26 to earn a Player of the Match Award on just his third game in blue. 

Short was again brilliant in the role of opening bowler, delivering 1/23 from his four overs in conjunction with an economical 1/26 from Harry Conway and 1/33 from Fawad Ahmed. Peter Siddle’s removal of Joe Burns ticked over yet another milestone for the ageless quick as it marked his league-leading 21st of the competition, one ahead of Strikers spinner Rashid Khan who departed this week for international duty.

Unable to boost the strike-rate, despite winning the Bash Boost Point, the Stars fell away late to ultimately fall to a 23-run defeat.

The Strikers now wait in Adelaide for the arrival of Sydney Sixers ahead of a blockbuster clash at Adelaide Oval on Monday afternoon. The contest will be the Strikers final regular season game of BBL|11, with a win likely to propel the side into a second consecutive Finals campaign.