Rashid Khan bowled his heart out but it was still not enough as Sydney Sixers thumped Adelaide Strikers by seven wickets to move to the top of the BBL 2020-21 points table on Sunday (January 3). There were some outstanding individual performances from Adelaide but they failed to click as a unit and that eventually led to their downfall. Despite the defeat, the Alex Carey-led side stay at No. 4 in the points table.
Adelaide struggled in most part of the first innings before Jonathan Wells (56-ball 66) and Jake Weatherald (24-ball 34*) added 79 runs for the fourth wicket, with 43 coming off the last three overs, to propel their team to a competitive total of 150/4. In response, Josh Philippe (24-ball 41) got Syndey off to a flying start before Rashid picked up three wickets in no time to bring Adelaide back in the game. James Vince (33-ball 45*) and Jordan Silk (28-ball 38*) however batted smartly and got the job done with two overs to spare.
WELLS, WEATHEERALD COME TO STRIKERS' RESCUE
The Strikers got off to a horrible start as they lost both their openers inside two overs. Philip Salt (1) was caught at mid-wicket off the bowling of Ben Dwarshuis, while Matt Renshaw (6) was undone by offspinner Ben Manenti. Adelaide skipper Carey announced his arrival with a boundary but both him and Wells struggled to score at a decent pace.
The duo kept the scoreboard moving but only managed four fours and a six in the first 10 overs. The likes of Jake Ball, Lloyd Pope and Carlos Brathwaite all managed to maintain the pressure in the first 10 overs, in which Adelaide could only score 58 runs. Carey did break the shackles by hitting Brathwaite for a six over long-leg but Wells struggled big time to get going.
Carey, who scored a stunning 59-ball 82 against Perth Scorchers, wasn't offered many full-length deliveries and that restricted him from batting freely. Adelaide were in desperate need of some quick runs and opted to take the Power Surge (overs 12-13) to bring some momentum into the innings. Ball and Daniel Christian however did a tremendous job in those two overs, with the latter also getting rid of Carey for a run-a-ball 31. The Power Surge too didn't go in their favour as they could only manage seven runs off it - second-worst in terms of runs.
Adelaide needed something special in the last six overs and Wells crafted Ben Dwarshuis for consecutive fours to finally get the scoreboard moving. However, going after Christian and Ball was never going to be easy. Christian in particular was brilliant with his variations and used the surface to his advantage. Wells had to battle hard for his runs but the right-hander slammed Ball for three fours in the 18th over and in the process also brought up his fifty.
Christian finished with figures of 1/22, but Ball proved to be expensive in his last two overs. The right-arm seamer was slammed for 35 runs in his last two overs. Wells was dismissed off the final ball but only after he had slammed eight fours during his stay in the middle. He found good support from Weatherald who smoked two sixes in the final over and got Adelaide to a competitive total.
RASHID FIGHTS LONE BATTLE
Daniel Worrall was going to be a threat with the new ball but Philippe and Jack Edwards started well and played their shots from the word go. Philippe looked in solid touch and slammed Worrall for two fours in the first over. The wicketkeeper-batsman and Edwards then tonked Danny Briggs for 15 runs in the second over and forced him out of the attack. Edwards too played some outstanding shots in the powerplay as Sixers raced to 47/0 at the end of four overs.
The two got the required run-rate down to less than seven and Adelaide had no other option but to bring Rashid Khan into the attack. Just when it looked like Philippe and Edwards (10-ball 14) would run away with the game, Rashid knocked them over in the space of two overs and brought Adelaide back in the game. That's when Adelaide took control of the game and kept Daniel Hughes and Vince in check. After conceding 47 in the first four overs, Sydney gave away only 29 in the next six.
With 75 needed off 60, Rashid returned into the attack and pinned Hughes (12) right in front of the stumps. However, just when Adelaide were starting to take command of the game, Vince and Silk smacked Peter Siddle for 19 runs to put Sixers back in the driver's seat. Vince took some time to settle in before taking on the likes of Siddle and Briggs. The stylish right-hander from England looked calm and along with Silk did well to play out Rashid's final over. The legspinner finished with figures of 3/18 and kept his team in the game for a while.
Vince and Silk didn't try to do anything fancy in the Power Surge (overs 14-15) but still managed 18 off it. Siddle wasn't at his best and ended up leaking 34 in his three overs. The match was over was once Rashid was done with his spell and the two batters did well to get Sydney over the line with no more hiccups.