There is an old dictum in T20 cricket. You are never out of the game at any point, no matter how dire the situation is. Adelaide Strikers showed us again why is it that way in the shortest format of the game. They couldn’t snitch a victory but an unlikely batting pair of Daniel Worrall and Danny Briggs, coming together for the 10th wicket, steered the Strikers to a striking distance of an unbelievable turnaround from a situation of no hope.
While Strikers top-order was caught napping by Hobart Hurricanes, they added an unbeaten 61-run stand for the final wicket. In three overs between 16 to 18, they notched up 43 runs bringing down the deficit to 26 runs in last two overs, which was 73 from 34 balls at the fall of ninth wicket. Nathan Ellis and Scott Boland held their nerves ensuring full four points for Hurricanes.
Boland, inadvertently, was the bowler who got the carnage started. Bowling the 16th over, the first of the Power Surge, he let Worrall lose, conceding consecutive fours seeing him to his maiden T20 fifty. Briggs joined the party over with two overs and a six. Hurricanes opted for spin, but Briggs, who had taken some beating in the first innings of the game gave it back to the D’Arcy Short, scoring 17 from the over.
Earlier in the innings, Strikers failed to find the ropes during the mandatory four-over Powerplay. They also lost both their openers, making it a disastrous start in pursuit of 174. Johan Botha picked up his first wicket after coming out of his retirement and later doubled his tally. James Faulkner was also amongst wickets. During the middle-overs, it was Riley Meredith, who wreaked havoc. He handed first ball ducks to Jonathan Wells and Rashid Khan and ran Ryan Gibson out by kicking the ball onto the stumps in their failed attempt to steal a quick single off his bowling.
Losing six wickets inside nine overs, Strikers only hope at that stage was to score the Bash Boost point. Matt Renshaw was the only batsman to have scored into the double figures and a six in the 10th over, of which they required 19 runs, ignited the hopes. Worrall also tonked one maximum but a miscued pull shot on the last delivery saw them short by 2 runs.
It was a batting meltdown you associate with the rustiness of the first match of the season. Although, their bowling was not great either after opting to bowl.
The opening pair of Will Jacks and Short, both of whom were dismissed for a duck each in the previous match, laid the foundation for a big total. The duo ensured Briggs, making his BBL debut, does not feel at home. In the second over of the match Jacks slog-swept him for a six and Short collected a boundary to end the over. Briggs was given the same treatment in his second over - seventh of the innings.
The two put on 63 runs for the first wicket. Colin Ingram, in at 3, batted with intent but by the 13th over, Hurricanes were scoring at 7.3 runs per over. At this point, the Strikers’ coach, Jason Gillespie was heard saying that the game is still in their control in terms of run-rate. D’Arcy Short was batting at 38 from 40 balls at this instance but soon shifted to the fifth gear.
He took on Rashid Khan, the best spinner in the competition. His next seven balls produced 6, 6, 4, 6, 2, 4, 6. The first five of them were against Rashid. Short raced to 72 from 47 balls when he was finally caught at the short third-man in the first over of the Power Surge. Next over, Ingram also departed for 25 from 19 balls, caught by Rashid at deep mid-wicket who pedaled the ball back into the ground to complete the dismissal.
Strikers threatened to come back in the next few overs, taking a wicket every over till the 18th over, after which Tim David and Faulkner got together to propel Hurricanes to 173, a similar sort of target they had defended in the tournament opener against Sydney Sixers.