Strikers breeze past Hurricanes to keep campaign alive

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Dunk slammed an unbeaten 79 in the chase.

With Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide Strikers finding themselves in the second half of the points table, both needed a win to stay close to the top four sides. It was more important for the Strikers as they had won just one of their four games, and Brad Hodge’s side responded to the challenge in fine fashion to seal a five-wicket win at the Adelaide Oval on Friday (January 6).
Everything went the Strikers way right from the start, winning the toss, having the opposition five down inside the powerplay, restricting Hurricanes to a par total and then chasing the target down without losing much sweat.
Hodge was at his tactical best while on the field. D’Arcy Short, the left-hander, has been a revelation for the Hurricanes and the Strikers skipper negated his threat by throwing the ball to Travis Head in the second over. The opener tried to take on the offspinner only to perish while doing so.
After the initial wicket, Kumar Sangakkara was greeted to the crease by the quick Billy Stanlake, who got the Sri Lankan veteran with a short ball and followed it up with a full one to dismiss Daniel Christian.
The onus was on George Bailey to steer the innings to safer shores, but he too fell while trying to pull Chris Jordan. At 30 for five, Hurricanes looked down and out before the pair of Jonathan Wells and Beau Webster came to their rescue.
Hurricanes had a good combination at the crease, Wells with the experience and Webster with the exuberance of youth. The duo played percentage cricket, attacking when necessary and rotating the strike when the big shots weren’t coming.
Both Wells and Webster reached their respective fifties and the latter remained unbeaten as he took the Hurricanes’ final total to a fighting 161.
The chase was a tricky one as the Strikers themselves had defended 152 at the same venue against Sydney Thunder on New Year’s Eve. But Ben Dunk made things easier by getting the hosts off to a flier. The wicketkeeper-batsman seemed to be in the zone as he kept picking the gaps on the off side with ease against the pacers.
However, Hurricanes kept chipping away at the other end. Christian accounting for Jake Weatherald and Hamish Kingston soon followed it up with Head’s wicket – the South Australian has been woefully out of form, amassing only 76 runs in five innings.
Brad Hodge had a lucky break when he was on 2, he shuffled across a long way and missed a straight one from Cameron Boyce. It looked plumb to the naked eye, but the umpire failed to pick it. By the time HawkEye confirmed the same, Hodge had laid into Kingston, smashing him for 19 runs in the 11th over, which included a couple of sixes.
While all this was happening, Dunk remained calm and composed, reaching his fifty off 30 balls. Even though Stuart Broad struck twice in two overs and Christian backed it up with the wicket of Kieron Pollard, Strikers were well ahead of the asking rate.
Chris Jordan walked in and handed the much-needed support to Dunk, who saw his side through with an unbeaten 49-ball 79. Adelaide Strikers had lost to Hobart Hurricanes four days back but this win should have settled the score between the two sides.
Brief scores: Hobart Hurricanes 161/8 in 20 overs (Beau Webster 67*, Jonathan Wells 55; Chris Jordan 3-24, Ben Laughlin 2-33) lost to Adelaide Strikers 164/5 in 18.2 overs (Ben Dunk 79*, Brad Hodge 30; Daniel Christian 2-24, Stuart Broad 2-37) by 5 wickets.

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