About the Match
Table-toppers Strikers will take on Thunder, who made it to the semi-finals after defeating Sixers by a massive 46 runs, in the first semi-final of the Big Bash League on 21st January at Adelaide to a cricket frenzy home crowd. Having won games in a row, Strikers came back stronger in the last league match against Renegades to pull off a scintillating victory by 27 runs; on the other hand, Thunder faced a do-or-die situation against Sixers and delivered perfectly by scoring a thunderous 202 runs and going on to defend it in style. The upcoming semi-final clash is a knock-out match and both teams will come out all guns blazing to keep their campaign for the title going.
Ludeman, Dean and Hodge continued their good-form with the bat to steady the innings batting first against Renegades; they managed to post a competitive 170 runs on board and the bowlers defended the target against the in-form Gayle. Travis Head was out of sorts with the bat but claimed 3-16 in his 2 over spell while Michael Neser and Jon Holland took 2 wickets apiece; Laughlin and Rashid managed a wicket each to topple the opposition and win the match.
Against Hurricanes, the batsmen chased down 144 runs successfully thanks to an unbeaten 56 by Ludeman and contributions by Head and Hodge. Neser, Laughlin, West and Rashid provided quick wickets earlier on to restrict Hurricanes to a low total.
The bowling squad looks tough to put up a good challenge against the Thunder batsmen in the upcoming semi-final clash. Batsmen Ludeman, Dean, Head and Hodge are performing well; Lehmann, Alex Ross and Rashid can contribute to keep the scoreboard ticking. They are a strong side and have delivered under pressure to stay on top of the table throughout the series; this match will test their perseverance and they definitely will leave no stone unturned to win.
Fighting to stay in contention for a semi-final berth, the Thunder batsmen led by Watson’s powerful 66 off 41 posted a gigantic 202-run target against Sixers in the last match. Michael Hussey scored a superb 41 runs while Andre Russell came in at No.5 to pull off a thrilling 46 from just 20 deliveries and help them challenge the Sixers. The bowlers didn’t disappoint as Clint McKay, Chris Green and Fawad Ahmed took 3 scalps each to demolish the opposition to just 156 runs and win the match by 46 runs.
Having lost their 4 previous games, Thunder was under immense pressure to win the match but they kept their nerves together; Watson, who was promoted up the order in the absence of Usman Khawaja and Kallis, held his ground as the opener and got good support from Hussey and Russell, who stabilized the innings.
They have to stay focused on the end goal and with the resources in hand they can definitely throw in some surprises against the formidable Strikers here.
Both the teams have performed well in the tournament and it would be a real for both the teams. Thunder were brilliant in the beginning and Strikers peaked during the end of the league stage. While Thunder will try its best to overcome Strikers, the hosts have performed better throughout the series and seem to be peaking just at the right time, look better placed to win this crucial match and make it to the finals