Half-centuries to Jayawardene, Head lead Strikers to win over Scorchers
The Adelaide Strikers moved to the top of the Big Bash League ladder after toppling reigning champions Perth Scorchers for the second time this season.
In front of another bumper crowd of 46,633 at the Adelaide Oval, the Strikers took a significant step towards securing a home semi-final for the second straight season after toppling the Scorchers by ?? runs.
After being set 175 to win, the in-form Perth batting line-up crumbled early with Shaun Marsh (4), Marcus Harris (4) and captain Michael Klinger (15) all dismissed inside the first four overs of their innings.
The Scorchers went into the match having lost a total of just four wickets in their previous three matches.
Young paceman Billy Stanlake (2-28 off four overs) did the damage in just his second Twenty20 match – helped by a sensational catch to wicketkeeper Tim Ludemann to dismiss Marsh in the opening over.
Some lusty hitting by Englishman David Willey kept the Scorchers’ hopes alive after Ashton Turner (19), Ashton Agar (18) and Cam Bancroft (17).
But when he departed for 31 (off 17 balls) after smashing three sixes, those disappeared with him.
Strikers leg-spinner Adil Rashid (3-23 from four overs) finished off Perth’s innings.
The Scorchers now travel to Sydney for another crucial clash against the Thunder on Thursday night followed by a trip to Hobart to face the Hurricanes on Sunday.
The Strikers sprang a surprise by dropping the big-hitting Craig Simmons, promoting Sri Lankan star Mahela Jayawardene to open the innings alongside Ludemann.
But it was a move that paid off as the pair combined for the Strikers’ best opening partnership of the season – 84 – before Jayawardene was dismissed for 57 from 37 balls with seven boundaries and two sixes by spinner Ashton Agar.
Ludemann played a surprisingly subdued innings after hitting two boundaries in the opening over of the game. He made 30 from 37 balls before he became Jason Behrendorff’s 50th Twenty20 wicket – after a juggling attempt by Joel Paris.
A late flurry by man-of-the match Travis Head (51 not out from 31 balls) and captain Brad Hodge (30 not out from 15 balls) helped lift the Strikers to 2-174 – taking 58 off the last four overs.
Willey, after claiming 3-22 in a man-of-the match performance the previous game, copped the most stick from the Strikers’ pair and finished with 0-54 from his four overs on this occasion.