Adelaide Strikers 3 for 129 (Short 72 not out, Lamichhane 2-22 ) beat Hobart Hurricanes 126 (Short 32, Siddle 5-23, Rashid 2-26) by seven wickets
After being sent in, a struggling Hurricanes were bamboozled by 37-year-old Siddle who unleashed his full-length mastery to great effect and helped restrict the visitors to just 126.
The game was moved back an hour after BBL’s tumult continued when Wednesday night’s latter clash between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers was postponed due to 12 Heat players and a coach returning positive PCR tests to Covid-19.
Hurricanes also had some upheaval with international players Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson ruled out due to being close contacts of allrounder Josh Kann, who has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation in Hobart.
Siddle turns back the clock
Even though seven of the last eight games at Adelaide Oval had been won by the team batting first, Strikers elected to bowl perhaps due to the forecast of rain.
Strikers’ attack has been their strength but they decided to change it up with legspinner Fawad Ahmed replaced by exuberant seamer Harry Conway, who made his season debut and set the tone with the big wicket of Hurricanes skipper Matthew Wade in the first over.
They frustrated a reckless Hurricanes batting outfit and picked up wickets at important junctures to maintain a stranglehold. Siddle, who had earlier claimed the key scalp of Ben McDermott cheaply, bowled dangerous Tim David in the power surge in a game-changing moment.
Strikers’ bowlers impressively maintained control of the increasingly greasy ball as Siddle starred at the death with superb yorkers to claim three wickets in the final over and finish with his second five-wicket haul of his T20 career.
McDermott fails, Hurricanes misfire
Wade has completely gone off the boil with just 63 runs in his last six innings. He only added one to that total leaving the pressure once again on red-hot McDermott, who couldn’t get going and fell for 11. With McDermott out cheaply, the vulnerable Hurricanes struggled, particularly D’Arcy Short.
The left-hander has a BBL career strike-rate of 133.6 but drops to 99 this season and he maintained that lowly mark with a run a ball 32.
Hurricanes slipped further when Peter Handscomb was run out calamitously and Caleb Jewell fell to a soft dismissal, but that provided an opportunity for David, whose season strike rate of 174 underlined his mastery of finishing innings.
Coming out in the 10th over, David made his intent clear second ball with a brutal six off star spinner Rashid Khan and was in belligerent form until falling for 28 in the 16th over. Hurricanes lost their momentum to finish with a disappointing total.
Short makes light work of chase
Given their batting frailties, Strikers were no guarantee to chase down the modest total. To turn around their fortunes, they promoted Henry Hunt who made his BBL debut last start against Sydney Thunder at No.5.
It did the trick with Hunt confidently striking several attractive boundaries as the home side powered to 0 for 38 after the four-over powerplay. But he disappointingly fell to a long hop from Sandeep Lamichhane’s first over as Short took over to keep Strikers’ momentum going.
Short has been destructive in the powerplay but had only one innings of substance prior this season. He changed the script by picking the right balls to hit and finished with five sixes in a commanding performance.
Since coming into the side after Australia A duties, Matthew Renshaw has shored up the batting order at No.3 and again he provided composure until holing late for 19. There was no trademark batting calamity for Strikers on this occasion with Short finishing the deal with 29 balls to spare.
Injury concern for Meredith
Shorthanded without injured quick Nathan Ellis, Hurricanes needed early wickets but bowled too straight and let Strikers off the hook. Quick Tom Rogers, who has starred this season with 14 wickets, had a rare off performance as Hurricanes never really threatened.
They were further weakened by the loss of speedster Riley Meredith, who only bowled one over after appearing to suffer a rib injury. He faces a nervous wait with Hurricanes mired mid-table after losing their second consecutive game.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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