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Knockout Match Report: Strikers v Thunder

23 January 2022

Adelaide Strikers will take on Sydney Sixers in the Challenger on Wednesday evening, with the winner advancing to face Perth Scorchers for the KFC BBL|11 title.

The journey continues for the Strikers thanks to a sixth consecutive triumph, this time against Sydney Thunder in the Knockout to the tune of six runs at the MCG. In one of the most exciting games in the competition’s history, the Strikers held on to carve out a path to the final three on the back of a sensational knock from Ian Cockbain and brilliant bowling from skipper Peter Siddle and fellow pace ace Harry Conway.

Having been defeated by the Thunder in both meetings during the regular season, Adelaide entered the clash as underdogs but certainly didn’t play that way as they took the game to them from the outset.

Winning the toss and electing to bat, Alex Carey was again destructive at the top of the order on his way to 23 from 14 to get his side off to a flying start. Matt Short also showed why he is one of the most valuable players in the tournament with 39 from 28, but it was the late-arriving international Ian Cockbain that truly dominated the innings.

Cracking a trio of sixes and half a dozen fours, the Englishman amassed 65 runs from just 38 deliveries to ensure the Strikers would set a total that proved a bridge to far for a valiant Thunder outfit. Finding the gaps with ease and regularly sending the ball deep into the Victorian evening sky, Cockbain was sublime every step of the way in a match winning performance.

Jon Wells, Matt Renshaw and Thomas Kelly all played cameos in the final overs, combining to push the total past 180, something the bowling unit was more than up to defending.

Opening the response for Sydney, Alex Hales looked to impose himself immediately but tight overs from Short and Harry Conway saw the powerful batter restricted. As a result, the English international went after Henry Thornton first ball and succeeded only in finding the safe hands of Peter Siddle to begin the third over.

Thunder hopes then rested on star skipper Usman Khawaja, and the left-handed hitting machine was in ominous form, whacking four boundaries in quick time before falling victim to a stunning catch from 39-year-old Fawad Ahmed.

Jason Sangha and Alex Ross then joined forces and looked to have taken the game away from the Strikers with their rapid 90-run partnership, but when Siddle claimed two breakthroughs in the 17th over, the momentum was again on Adelaide’s side.

Conway then took the responsibility of the final over, with the Thunder requiring 14 runs, and wickets on consecutive deliveries sealed an instant classic in the Strikers favour, with just two wins now standing in the way of a second title.

The Strikers now prepare to take on Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Wednesday night for the right to meet Perth Scorchers on the final night of the tournament and battle for the trophy. First ball is scheduled for 6.55pm ACDT and fans can tune in via Channel Seven, Foxtel, Kayo Sports and SEN Radio.