The Adelaide Strikers have continued their golden form stretch, advancing to the Big Bash Knockout final with a 22-run victory over the Hobart Hurricanes in the Eliminator at the MCG.
Matt Short’s career-best 89 and Alex Carey’s 67 steered the Strikers to 6-188 on Friday night before evergreen captain Peter Siddle captured 4-32 to skittle the Hurricanes for 166.
The surging Strikers’ fifth successive victory punched their ticket to a date with the third-placed Sydney Thunder at the same venue on Sunday.
“Amazing turnaround from where we were a week-and-a-half ago – it’s not that long ago,” said Siddle, reflecting on the Strikers’ stunning rise from bottom spot 11 days ago to within two strikes of a berth in the decider.
“I got a couple of cheap ones at the end. I’m pretty lucky that I get to do that.
“What a handy inclusion Alex Carey (was), starting it off nicely with Shorty.”
Short and Carey set up the win with a 145-run first-wicket stand – the second best partnership in Strikers’ history – assisted by shoddy fielding from the Hurricanes, who looked off the boil following their record-breaking mauling at the hands of the Melbourne Stars on Wednesday.
Tom Rogers dropped a costly sitter when Short was on 15 and Carey was grassed twice, while overthrows and messy misfields aided the dynamic pair.
“We dropped a few chances early and that was probably the game,” Hurricanes skipper Matthew Wade said.
“If we take them, we’re probably chasing 175 and we don’t have to go as hard in those middle overs.”
Short bludgeoned six sixes in his swashbuckling 48-ball knock and the Strikers looked set to post well over 200 before losing 6-39 as the ‘Canes staged a late fightback.
Short followed his opening batting heroics by taking the new ball and striking a decisive blow in his first over when Ben McDermott, the BBL’s leading run-scorer this season, skied a high catch to Siddle at mid-off.
Wade (7) departed cheaply to Siddle and Caleb Jewell (35) batted neatly but the asking rate was climbing before D’Arcy Short (56) single-handedly kept the Hurricanes’ flickering hopes alive by dominating the power surge.
Paceman Henry Thornton returned to the attack and dismissed Short and Peter Handscomb (15) off successive deliveries, triggering a 4-8 collapse.
Siddle polished off the lower order to extend his advantage atop the wicket-taking leaderboard and keep the Strikers’ title dreams alive.