Weatherald ton seals Strikers’ first BBL title


Adelaide Strikers 2 for 202 (Weatherald 115, Head 44*) beat Hobart Hurricanes 5 for 177 (Short 68, Bailey 46, Siddle 3-17) by 25 runs

ADELAIDE: An innings of a lifetime from Jake Weatherald helped Adelaide Strikers to their maiden BBL title.

Weatherald clubbed Hobart Hurricanes to all parts of the Adelaide Oval, hitting eight sixes and nine fours in a stunning 115 from just 70 balls. Weatherald’s maiden T20 hundred underpinned Strikers’ monstrous total of 2 for 202 on a superb batting surface.

The Hurricanes threatened early, courtesy a powerplay blitz from their captain George Bailey. It resulted in the Strikers’ nerves jangling, knowing that there was no Rashid Khan or Billy Stanlake to turn to, as both were absent due to international duty.

But post the powerplay, the unlikely duo of Liam O’Connor, playing his first game of the tournament, and Peter Siddle reduced the Hurricanes chase to a crawl. Siddle was unhittable, and finished with 3 for 17 from four overs, while O’Connor conceded just one four and one six in his four overs that went for 27.

The required run-rate spiralled out of control. D’Arcy Short tried his best to reel it in, but could not recapture the tremendous timing and power he displayed through the season.

Alex Carey loomed as the danger man for the Hurricanes and they were able to subdue him early. The Hurricanes quicks elected to go around the wicket to both left-handers to try and cramp them for room. They did concede two boundaries from veering too straight and also let three wides slide down leg, but the first four overs cost just 30 runs. Jofra Archer’s second over, the fifth of the innings was a pivotal moment in the match. He got it wrong to Weatherald. He uppercut a short, wide long-hop over the deep backward point boundary.

Archer got it right to Carey. His first short ball was ramped over the keeper’s head for four by the batsman. The second was slightly slower and closer to Carey’s body, and the batsman chopped on, attempting to run it to the third man. The Strikers were 1 for 41 after five overs.

While the plan to cramp the left-handers from around the wicket had worked in the first five overs, it failed thereafter. Weatherald, with his eye in, started swivelling on balls fractionally short and depositing them over the tiny square leg boundary. It was masterful striking. In five consecutive balls delivered from the City End, he hit Riley Meredith and Dan Christian for three sixes and two fours. The sixes were all off pull shots; the fours were off slashes through backward point to overcorrections from the bowlers. Weatherald’s charge was only halted when he couldn’t get on strike. Travis Head was dropped twice in consecutive overs – first by Tom Rogers, who grassed a sharp return catch, and then Short, who misjudged a skier at deep midwicket. The run-rate dipped below 10-an-over before Weatherald launched Meredith again. He reached his hundred from just 58 balls, with 28 deliveries remaining in the innings. He did begin to wilt in the warm conditions but found a way to squeeze out two more boundaries off Archer before holing out. Colin Ingram played another superb cameo scoring, an unbeaten 14 from six balls, while Head continued his good form at the other end to tip the total past 200.

The Hurricanes opted to open with Short and Tim Paine to have a left-right combination. It meant that Matthew Wade, who was Man of the Match in the semi-final for his 71 from 45 balls opening the innings, waited at the bench. Paine was out to Head’s part-time off-spin in the opening over. Wade kept waiting as George Bailey walked out to keep the left-right combination going. The move worked initially. Head tried to sneak in a second over and Bailey clobbered him for two sixes. While Short battled for timing, Bailey blasted the bowlers to all parts of the Powerplay. He had two fours to go with his two sixes and had 31 from 18 balls as the Hurricanes stayed up with the required run-rate at 1 for 60 after six overs.

O’Connor’s last bowl in a match was in Perth premier cricket on December 9. But his style of right-arm wrist spin – quick, skiddy and attacking the stumps – suited the surface. The Hurricanes’ preference for pace on the ball is well known. Before the final, they had scored at 9.51 runs per over against pace in the tournament, compared to 7.01 against spin. O’Connor and Head bowled three of the first four overs post the powerplay and the Hurricanes scored just 25 runs, including one boundary. In the semi-final, against the Scorchers’ all-pace attack, the Hurricanes scored 38 in the same period, hitting a boundary an over, with Wade inflicting most of the damage.

Wade watched on as Bailey and Short struggled. Siddle returned to turn the screws. He bowled his first over in the powerplay for seven runs. His next three overs – the 11th, 15th and 17th of the innings – cost just 10. His mix of slower balls and yorkers were untouchable, and he picked up the wickets of Bailey, Ben McDermott – to a questionable lbw decision – and, finally, Short with the last ball of his spell. Wade walked out after Short’s exit with his side needing 58 runs from 18 balls. He was run out for a duck without having faced a ball when he and Ben Laughlin tried to pinch a leg bye to the keeper. The Hurricanes fell 25 runs short.