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Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunder: BBL semi-final highlights, scores, blog

21st January, 2016

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Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Thunder

ADELAIDE OVAL, JANUARY 21, 2016

1st Semi Final - ADS v SYT

 
Adelaide Strikers 1st Inn 7/159
Sydney Thunder 1st Inn 2/160
Adelaide Strikers won the toss and elected to bat
Sydney Thunder won by 8 wickets
Sydney Thunder Over:17.4  RR:9.06
Batsmen Runs B 4s 6s SR
UT Khawaja* 104 59 13 3 176.27
HM Nicholls 35 27 1 2 129.63
Adelaide Strikers
Bowlers O M R W Econ
AU Rashid* 3.4 0 28 1 7.64
B Laughlin 3.0 0 21 1 7.00
Recent Overs:
.  .  1  .  2  .  | 1  1  6  1  1  1  | 1  6  1  1  |
Last Wicket: Hussey, MEK, 11 (c:Ludeman b:Rashid)
Current Partnership: 73 runs, 53 balls, RR:137.74
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Start: 7:40pm (AEDT)
TV: Live, Network Ten
Betting: Strikers $1.72, Thunder $2.15
Michael Hussey bowed out by winning the last BBL final. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
Roar Guru
21st January, 2016
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Match result:

The Strikers will hardly be able to believe that they have lost this game after coming in as the top side. But the Sydney Thunder were superb and will know that if they play this way in the final they have a great chance of winning.

There is no doubt who the player of the match is. Khawaja made a mockery of the Striker’s total of 159. He finished unbeaten on 104 off just 59 deliveries, having taken the Strikers bowlers apart from the start.

He played in a controlled manner and rarely looked like getting out, though he was put down early on, Lehmann not managing to take what was a very difficult chance at short cover.

But despite the fact Khawaja will enjoy all the limelight, the Sydney Thunder bowlers deserve a lot of credit for the manner they restricted a formidable Strikers lineup.

They dismissed the two openers early and also managed to restrict Head and Hodge to small contributions. Despite being expensive at the end McKay claimed three wickets, with Watson and Green also playing crucial roles with the ball in hand.

In truth, it could have been much worse for the Strikers had it not been for Ross, who compiled a classy 47 which also enable Rashid and Neser to go after the bowlers towards the end.

Rashid and Laughlin gave the Strikers some hope with the ball, but it was ultimately the case that the Thunder would stroll to victory as long as Khawaja was at the crease and they simply couldn’t dismiss him.

So once again the semifinal comes to a close with the top team failing to reach the final while the Thunder’s hopes are well and truly alive.

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Match preview:

Points are no longer relevant, the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder both just want to reach the Big Bash League final for the first time. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:30pm (AEDT).

The fifth edition of the Big Bash has been closely contested for the most part, but the Strikers have been able to dominate the competition.

The men in blue have only lost the one game, but somewhat worryingly for them, that one game was against the Thunder.

The Thunder’s seven-wicket win showcased their impressive depth in bowling, as captain Mike Hussey called up seven separate bowlers, five of them taking wickets, as the Strikers limped to 9/117.

While Hussey will enjoy the luxury of having so many options with the ball, he will still be relying largely on his two main pacers. Andre Russel and Clint McKay are equal second on the leading wicket-takers chart, with 14 apiece, and were the only two Thunder bowlers to take multiple wickets when the sides last met.

But the Strikers attack is far from toothless, with the tournament’s leading wicket-taker Adil Rashid, whose 15 wickets have largely come in the middle overs. Rashid’s variations fooled some of the most accomplished batsmen in the competition, though the Thunder will feel confident against him, having taken 39 from his four overs, without the loss of a wicket, when the teams last met.

The Strikers can also rely on Ben Laughlin, the Big Bash’s all-time leading wicket-taker, to close out the innings with the ball, but his impact will largely be influenced by who is in when the final overs come around.

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Russell’s ridiculous strike rate of 192.3 with the bat makes him a formidable threat at the end, but throughout the 20 overs no Thunder batsman has been as threatening as Hussey. Mr Cricket’s career Twenty20 average of 38.71 is among the best in the world, but in this season’s Big Bash his average is an even more exceptional 55.4.

Hussey sits second in the leading run-scorers chart, with Strikers youngster Travis Head only one run behind him in third. However, while Hussey’s role is to hold the innings together, Head’s role is simply to take apart opposition attacks.

Getting Head out early won’t ensure success for the Thunder, but it will substantially reduce the chances of carnage.

Prediction
The previous meeting between the teams is certainly a positive for the Thunder, but Adelaide are strong favourites for this semi-final.

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