Alex Carey’s side goes top of the table after big 71-run win at home
A rollicking half-century by opening batsman Phil Salt was followed up by four wickets for 26 runs from the dominant overseas spin duo of Rashid Khan and Danny Briggs to secure a 71-run win for the Adelaide Strikers – a result that moved them to the top of the BBL table – over the Perth Scorchers. Salt’s 28-ball fifty included four fours and as many sixes, and helped set up a challenging165. The Scorchers were wiped out with relative ease, and remained in search of their first win of the season.
The Scorchers started aggressively in the chase as Josh Inglis and Jason Roy plundered 35 from the opening three overs. But the overeager approach backfired as they lost 5 for 28 across the next seven overs. Then, with 103 to get off the final ten overs, Peter Siddle induced a false drive from Liam Livingstone to Khan at cover before a series of yorkers from Siddle and Daniel Worrall cleaned up the tail to clinch a lopsided result.
Salt peppers the boundary
Coming into the match, Salt had 67 runs in four innings for the Strikers. He nearly doubled that in this knock. The majority of his scoring was delivered between long-on and midwicket. Salt played a series of sumptuous straight drives to and over the rope in orthodox fashion when the ball was pitched up but didn’t hesitate to free the arms for a slew of heaves over the leg-side rope when length was presented.
Salt’s relative ease in scoring at nearly two runs a ball was in stark contrast to his opening partner Jake Weatherald, whose strike rate was under 80 during a 57-run partnership before he fell for 18 in the eighth over. Salt brought up his 50 with a single down the ground in the tenth before skying a catch just after the mid-innings break to give Jhye Richardson the first of his three wickets.
Khan passes fitness test, and how!
In the Strikers’ last match on December 23 against the Brisbane Heat, Khan had left the field early after suffering a hamstring strain chasing to prevent a boundary. With five days to recover, he passed a pre-match fitness test and hardly showed any ill effects, giving a huge lift initially with the bat at a crucial point in the Strikers innings.
Arriving at 110 for 5 with 25 balls left, Khan drove Fawad Ahmed over long-off for six. He then pulled out the helicopter shot to flick Andrew Tye straight down the ground for back-to-back sixes in the 19th before falling at mid-off next ball attempting to make it a helicopter hat-trick. However, his 29 off 13 made him the second-highest scorer in the innings after the middle order failed to fire following Salt’s fifty.
Khan justified his lofty reputation by denting the Scorchers chase with the wicket of Colin Munro just after the powerplay, getting him to edge a googly behind at 40 for 2. He later claimed Aaron Hardie with a gloved pull down the leg side to finish with 2 for 18 in his three overs before rounding off his day latching on to a blistering drive from Livingstone at cover.
No weak links in Strikers’ attack
All five bowlers in the Strikers unit claimed two wickets apiece, making it hard for the Scorchers to employ any tactic to see off Khan. The Scorchers were looking solid after three overs, scoring at better than 11 an over, but Inglis delivered a self-inflicted wound to start the fourth over when he walked too far across his stumps trying to scoop Wes Agar over fine leg and was bowled for 16.
Munro fell to Khan in the next over before Roy, who had been scoring at better than two runs a ball, played an impetuous heave to long-on in the sixth off Worrell. Mitchell Marsh hammered a slog sweep in the ninth off Briggs but managed to pick out Jonathan Wells at deep square-leg before captain Ashton Turner was pinned on the crease for Agar’s second to leave the Scorchers halfway gone at the halfway point.
After Khan and Briggs struck quickly again to claim a second each, Livingstone lashed out in desperation. But Siddle and Worrall were ruthless with their yorkers to clean up the tail, ending the match in the 16th over.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
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