In the seventh edition of Australia’s Big Bash League, Adelaide Strikers at last tasted success. After a season in which they, along with the Perch Scorchers, dominated the competition, the Strikers finished the season with a comfortable victory over the Hobart Hurricanes.
Throughout the course of the ten match season, the Adelaide Strikers won seven games and loss three, enough to earn them second place on the points table. A look at the net run rates, however, reveals that they were a dominant force in the league. Their NRR was +0.801, more than double that of their nearest rivals.
Alex Carey was a huge reason for their success. At the top of the order, he managed a couple of 50’s, a hundred, and numerous other rapid-fire knocks which provided the Strikers with a strong start to their innings. With the ball, Rashid Khan struck often, taking 18 wickets for the tournaments, and also proved extremely hard to get away, with batsmen unable to pick the leg spinner’s wide array of deliveries.
Ultimately, it was the depth of their lineup which was the most dangerous aspect of the Strikers’ team. With the bat, they had a hard hitting lineup consisting of Carey, Jake Weatherald, Travis Head and Colin Ingram. Rashid Khan was dominant with the ball, as was Ben Laughlin, while Michael Neser showed an ability to continually get wickets. Billy Stanlake and Peter Siddle rounded out the bowling lineup; the former of whom recently dominated an International T20 for Australia and the latter of whom earned over 200 wickets in Test cricket for Australia. Not a bad team.
Despite their excellent regular season, Adelaide still needed two finals wins to take out the championship, and it started with a matchup against the Melbourne Renegades. On the back of an unbeaten 85 off 57 balls from captain Travis Head, the Strikers put on a competitive total of 178 in front of over 36,000 fans. The Renegades chase was always close, and the game came down to the final ball. With Kieron Pollard on strike, needing two to tie and three to win, Ben Laughlin bowled an unplayable off-cutter which beat the big West Indian, and took the Strikers into their first ever final.
The final was dominated by Jake Weatherald, who piled on 115 off 70 balls after opening the batting. Travis Head joined in the party, making 44* at a strike rate of over 150 to help take the Strikers to a formidable total of 202. Hobart, who had managed to knock off perennial championship winners Perth in the semi’s, never looked like chasing down the total, and ultimately fell 25 runs short.
The Big Bash League seems to grow in stature every year. There is an ever-growing quantity of international talents being lured to Australia, and the crowds are filling up the stadiums more and more every year. With seemingly every cricketing nation around the world attempting to develop its own T20 competition to rival the IPL, the BBL appears to be one of the most successful. As it continues to grow, the level of competition will become even better, and interest will subsequently develop even further. For cricket-lovers, punters, and sports fans alike, it is yet another international-quality sporting event to get excited about. Let’s hope next years event is even better.