Cricket network logo

The season that was

06 February 2018

Long list of star performers, headlined by Carey and Rashid, inspire Adelaide Strikers to their first Big Bash League title

Position: Champions (after finishing second on the ladder)

Wins: 9 Losses: 3

Highest total: 2-202 v Hobart Hurricanes in the final, February 4

Highest individual score: Jake Weatherald 115 v Hobart Hurricanes

Best individual bowling figures: Ben Laughlin 4-26 v Sydney Thunder

Highlights: Jake Weatherald became the first batsman to hit a century in a BBL final when he took centre stage with a breathtaking 115 on Sunday. The left-hander cleared the rope eight times and crunched nine boundaries in what proved to be a match-winning knock in front of more than 40,000 ardent Strikers fans at Adelaide Oval. The 23-year-old delivered scores of 65, 3, 56, 57 and 115 in his last five hits to finish as the third highest run-scorer in the tournament with 383.

Jake Weatherald's match-winning century in the BBL|07 Final

The Strikers only qualified for the final after a heart-stopping one-run victory over Melbourne Renegades in a memorable semi. The dependable Ben Laughlin was ice cool under pressure in the final over, while captain Travis Head and Weatherald starred.

Strikers’ wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey also put the Hurricanes attack to the sword in their regular-season clash on January 17, crunching 100 from 56 balls in a devastating exhibition that included 12 boundaries and four sixes.

Laughlin and Weatherald also pulled off one of the all-time great boundary catches to send Dwayne Bravo on his way at Etihad Stadium on January 22.

Was this the greatest catch of all time?

Bowling ace: He didn’t play in the final due to international commitments, but Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan proved a revelation and finished as the tournament’s equal-leading wicket-taker alongside Melbourne Renegades allrounder Dwayne Bravo with 18 scalps. Rashid, who has made 60 appearances for his country in ODI and T20I matches, boasted an average of 13.83 and an economy rate of 5.65 and took wickets in 10 of his 11 matches, underlining his consistency.

Batting star: The Strikers had three of the competition’s top-four run-scorers, with Carey the standout after blasting 443 at 49.22. His superb century against the Hurricanes was the highlight, but he also delivered knocks of 83no, 59, 44no and 44, showing why he is one of the country’s emerging talents. Combined with his neat work behind the stumps, Carey enjoyed an outstanding tournament and has duly earned call-ups to Australia’s ODI and T20I sides. The 26-year-old had a strike rate of 141.53 in BBL|07 and finished second behind Hobart’s D’Arcy Short, who plundered a record 572 runs, on the run-scoring charts.

On the rise: Weatherald has enjoyed an impressive JLT Sheffield Shield season, blasting 457 runs from five matches, including two centuries. But he didn't pass 20 in his first seven innings of this tournament, which yielded a total of 87 runs, before starring on the biggest stage of all. Given he is only young and can clear the boundary with ease, the opening batsman is one to watch after establishing himself as a key member of the Strikers’ potent batting line-up.

What they need for BBL|08: While the Strikers lost three matches for the tournament, they proved themselves as the best team when it mattered most. About the only concern for this squad is losing players to international duty, but their depth is impressive. It should be remembered Rashid and Billy Stanlake, who took 29 wickets between them this season, did not play in the final because of international duties. Young spinner Liam O’Connor, who was called up to replace Rashid, performed with aplomb in the decider. Ben Dunk, Chris Jordan, Brad Hodge, Tim Ludeman, Kieron Pollard and Kane Richardson were among those the Strikers waved goodbye to over the off-season, but their replacements in South African Colin Ingram, Rashid, Peter Siddle and Jonathan Wells all made significant contributions to the title victory. Their main worry is losing some of their talented group to rival clubs.

Behind the scenes with the BBL Champs

In a nutshell: While Weatherald’s fireworks won the Strikers the final, they were – as noted by Hurricanes skipper George Bailey after the decider – the best defensive bowling unit in the competition. They had five of the top 11 wicket-takers, with Rashid (18 wickets), Ben Laughlin (16), Michael Neser (13), Siddle (11) and Stanlake (11) all impressing, while Weatherald, Carey and Head shone with the bat. The Strikers almost didn’t make the final, but their clinical performance against the Hurricanes showed they deserved their first BBL title.

BBL|07 squad: Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Jono Dean, Travis Head, Colin Ingram (SAf), Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Rashid Khan (Afg), Michael Neser, Liam O’Connor, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells