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A superb Jake Weatherald century and an inspired spell of bowling from former Australian quick Peter Siddle has delivered the Adelaide Strikers a maiden Big Bash League championship, after they beat the Hobart Hurricanes by 25 runs in the final at the Adelaide Oval.
Winning the toss and batting for the sixth time in BBL07, Weatherald and new Australian limited overs keeper-batsman Alex Carey got the Strikers off to a cautious start, so much so that it wasn’t until the fifth over that the boundary was found more than once. But that also coincided with Carey chopping Jofra Archer onto his stumps for the first wicket of the match, just as it looked like they were getting ready to put the foot down.
Weatherald stuck with the plan and did all the accelerating for the Strikers himself, to the point that by the end of the ninth over, with the Strikers 1/90, the partnership with skipper Travis Head was already worth 49, of which Head had contributed just four. Weatherald was past 50 and had already claimed the record for the most sixes in an innings in a BBL Final.
Weatherald was dropped on 65 in the tenth over, a sharp caught and bowled chance off Tom Rogers that resulted in three overthrows after Jofra Archer was caught out reacting to the missed chance and not the ball that raced past him after a throw at the stumps. Head was dropped next over in another sign that this was not the Hurricanes’ day.
The opener raised his century in the 16th over from just 58 balls, with the Strikers on track to post 200, but Weatherald was also showing signs that he wasn’t completely healthy after a long innings.
A skied catch to Hurricanes captain George Bailey at cover saw Dan Christian remove Weatherald for 115 – the first ever century in a BBL Final – but that just removed the shackles from Head, who combined with South African Colin Ingram to add 21 off the last ten balls, with the Strikers posting a commanding total of 2/202 from their 20 overs.
In reply, the Hurricanes lost Tim Paine in the first over, before Bailey and D’Arcy Short consolidated and quickly had the visitors ticking along at the required ten-an-over through the powerplay.
But the introduction of Siddle and young leggie Liam O’Connor really put the breaks on the Hobart run-chase. At the start of the seventh over, the Hurricanes needed 143 from 84 balls; by the start of the 13th over, it had blown out to 108 from just 48 balls and a required run rate of 13.50 per over.
Bailey went in the middle of all that, only adding to the growing scoreboard pressure. Short brought up his 50 in the 14th over, with the Hurricanes still needing 87 to win, but then Ben McDermott and Short went within 13 balls of each other, leaving the Hurricanes needing 58 from the last three overs.
Matthew Wade didn’t open, but then also continued to slide down the order under mysterious circumstances. When he finally came out to bat in the 18th over, he was run out without scoring. From there, the impossibility of a Hobart win only grew; 51 needed from the last 12 balls, and then 39 from the last over after Dan Christian teed off in the penultimate over.
Ben Laughlin conceded 12 off the first three balls of the last over, but then just one from the last three, including another batsman air-swing off the last ball to confirm the 25-run win and Adelaide’s maiden BBL title in their first ever appearance in the decider.
The turning point
Easily the Strikers’ bowling after the powerplay, where, between the start of the seventh over and the end of the 12th, they conceded only 35 runs. By the end of the 15th over, Hobart had still only added 60 since the end of the powerplay, as Siddle finished with the outrageous figures of 4-1-17-3 – including 15 dot balls. In 43 BBL games this summer, only eight maiden overs were bowled, and Siddle pulled one out (his second for BBL07) when it mattered the most.
O’Connor conceded just 27 from his four overs, and with 11 of those coming from his last over.
All up, the Strikers bowled 40 dot balls for the innings; nearly seven overs where the Hurricanes didn’t score in an innings they needed to go at more than ten an over from the outset.
Strikers defeated Hurricanes by 25 runs
Adelaide Strikers 2/202 (20 overs): Weatherald 115 (70 balls – 9 fours, 8 sixes), Head 44 no (29), Carey 18 (16), Ingram 16 no (6); Christian 1/38 (4 overs), Archer 1/48 (4).
Hobart Hurricanes 5/177 (20 overs): Short 68 (44), Bailey 46 (33), Christian 29 no (19); Siddle 3/17 (4 overs, 15 dots), Head 1/30 (3).
Player of the Final
A pretty easy choice in Jake Weatherald, whose incredible knock set up the Strikers’ biggest score of BBL07, which in turn was always going to be big enough for their very capable bowling unit to defend. Siddle’s spell was amazing, and might’ve featured in discussions for the sake of having a discussion about the award, but Weatherald was always the clear Man of the Match.