Adelaide Strikers 9/152 (20 Overs) Defeated Sydney Sixers 10/104 (18.2 Overs)
Adelaide Rescue Season with Wacky Win on New Year's Eve
The Strikers climbed off the canvas for a 48-run win over a careless Sixers side to register their first win in BBL6. I said in the preview that this match was a case of one side needing to win, and one side wanting to win, and no more so was that the case than here. Adelaide played some really poor cricket, however they looked far more focused and desperate than a Sixers' team that is becoming the Jeckle & Hyde of BBL6. The Strikers total of 152 looked at least 20 short of defendable after they butchered a strong start, slumping from a golden position of 1/91 in the 10th over, with Ben Dunk and Brad Hodge both departing in the 30s. Despite a lack of discipline in the middle order, Keiron Pollard managed to hang in and strike a few lusty blows late to give the Strikers something to bowl at. After the Sixers started strongly at 0/34 from 4 overs, Adelaide appeared doomed to a third straight loss which would have left their season hanging by a thread. However this win might give them the confidence and momentum to build a finals challenge.
Strikers Find The Right Formula With The Ball
I said I was stunned that Adelaide dropped Ben Laughlin and hadn't used Travis Head with the ball during their first two games, however they came to their senses in this must win game. Laughlin was outstanding in claiming 2 for 10 from 4 overs, changing the whole momentum of the game by picking up the key first wicket of the dangerous Jason Roy after the Sixers had made a fast start. Laughlin was off his game in Game 1, however it surely did not warrant being dropped given how well he has performed in this competition over the years. However, Jason Gillespie could argue the tactic worked, as it certainly lit a fire under Laughlin who executed all of his slower balls and grinded down all the Sixers' momentum to a stuttering halt. The Strikers lack experience with the ball, and Laughlin's experience and also his aggressive body language are capable of lifting this team back into the final's mix. Travis Head might've only bowled 2 overs and taken 1 for 14, however he took out arguably the Sixers best player in Nic Maddinson. Again, Head is an experienced player, having played T20 cricket and 50-over cricket for Australia, and is better than a part time bowler. Getting him in to the game was common sense and might help his batting, which was has scratchy to start BBL6.
Sixers Need to Go Back To The Drawing Board
They are proving a very difficult team to get a read on this year, the Sydney Sixers. Last night they fielded by far their strongest team in BBL with the return of Nic Maddinson and Jason Roy stiffening an already decent looking batting order. However, at times their tactics are mystifying and they appear to be a side that are not yet in sync with each other as to what everyone's roles and responsibilities are. Doug Bollinger is becoming a problem with his lack of variation and insistence in trying the short ball. Bollinger is having a poor BBL, and someone a few yards quicker like Henry Thornton surely must be in the mix to take Bollinger's place and add a bit of strike power to their pace bowling stocks. Brad Haddin is struggling with the bat at the minute and I think a batting spot around Number 7 would be far more suitable. Sam Billings is proving his talent and class and needs to be batting in the Top 4. I'm also surprised they opted for Daniel Hughes opening the batting ahead of Nic Maddinson. The Sixers best is pretty good, however their worst is as bad as any team in the competition. Other teams appear better coached outfits at this point with more clinical and on point tactically.
Redemption For Abbott
I've talked before about the fact that there is nowhere to hide on a cricket field. It's a very public humiliation if you're struggling, with the long hours in the field and your stats there for all to see. Last year, young bowling all rounder Sean Abbott was taken apart in the corresponding fixture by Travis Head, in front of 50,000 rabid fans in Adelaide. He admitted to thinking about this game in the few weeks prior. Whilst he wold have been determined to make amends, it takes a mentally strong character to block out the negative thoughts and put in an outstanding individual performance. Not only did Abbott gain redemption by bouncing out Travis Head, he secured the second best figures in BBL history, claiming an amazing 5 for 16 from 4 overs. It's uplifting to see Abbott doing well, and you could see how much it meant to him last night as he celebrated each wicket with outbursts of pure joy. While he has not quite developed at the rate of knots some thought when he played one ODI for Australia In Sharjah in October 2014, this sort of breakthrough performance might kick start the rest of his season.
Billy Stanlake Is One to Keep an Eye On
Billy Stanlake, the 22 year old fast bowler, showed his raw potential last night in the Strikers' big win. It's not often you get a player of Brad Haddin's quality stepping on to his stumps, however Stanlake's sheer pace and bounce caused the Sixers all sorts of problems. I have hardly seen any of Stanlake, however fit and firing he looks like a bowler of serious potential. At a towering height, Stanlake bowled over 145km with great carry and bowled a snorting lifter to welcome Sam Billings to the crease. Billings could only throw his gloves up and swat it away. The big Queensland quick has only played two First Class matches, having had a number of injury set backs over the past few years. Last night would have given him an unbelievable surge of confidence and it gives Adelaide a real point of difference in an attack that lacks fire power. I don't think there will be too many bats keen to face him should he have his tail up the rest of the way.
The Lurker Ends 2016 With Another Emphatic Victory
The Lurker put an exclamation point on a stellar 2016 by tipping us into yet another upset last night, as he rode with the winless home side against a full strength Sixers' outfit. Many doubted The Lurker's credentials coming into his debut season, however with 10 wins from 11 starts he is cutting a swathe through this year's BBL. The Lurker's only blemish this year was in the double header as Hobart crushed the Sixers in Sydney. Can The Lurker banish the memories of that loss by going 2 from 2 in today's double header? Stay tuned for both his selections later today.