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Match Report: Strikers v Thunder

01 January 2022

Adelaide Strikers were unable to find a much-needed win on the final square of the calendar, falling to Sydney Thunder by 22 runs at Adelaide Oval in the traditional New Year’s Eve fixture.

The loss is the Strikers sixth of KFC BBL|11 and makes the rematch between the two sides on Sunday an absolute must-win if they are to begin ascending the ladder in January.

Choosing to set a total following the bat flipping their way, Sydney Thunder promoted allrounder Ben Cutting to the opening spot, and it was a move that paid off immediately as the powerful right-hander found the boundary with regularity.

Fawad Ahmed and Rashid Khan applied the brakes with the ball, with the former breaking the opening stand when he lured Matthew Gilkes into a false shot that landed in Matt Short’s hands. When Peter Siddle removed Cutting for 37 in the ninth over, neither side could confidently claim to have the upper hand in what was an evenly poised contest.

It was in the next 10 overs that the Thunder set up their victory, with a brief but explosive cameo from Sam Billings acting as preview for the main event: an unbroken 89-run stand between Jason Sangha and Oliver Davies. Accrued at an almost alarming rate, the runs pushed the visitor’s total to 3/187 from the allotted 20 overs, enough for the side to depart Adelaide with the win, and Sangha with a Player of the Match award for his 91* from 55.

In pursuit, the Strikers top four all got starts, but none were able to build a dominant innings in the same way that Sangha had. Short was again brutal from the off, crunching a huge six into the stands and twice sending the ball into the rope during a brief 12-ball knock, with his dismissal reuniting Jake Weatherald and Matthew Renshaw.

Earlier in the week, the two left-handers combined for a century stand at well over a run a ball, and those gathered at Adelaide Oval to farewell 2021 were hoping for another similar fireworks display to pull the home side back into the contest.

Both looked solid as they found the middle of the blade, but both were then dismissed in the 30’s to signal a procession of batters to the crease. Jon Wells again looked crisp, striking five fours and a six on his way to 46 from just 26 deliveries, but without impactful support the Strikers were 22 runs short of the target when the final ball was bowled.

The Strikers and Thunder face-off again on Sunday, with the return fixture set for Sydney Showground Stadium. Fans can tune in for the first ball from 6.45pm ACDT.