The match in a tweet: Thunder can't halt Adelaide Oval New Year's Eve party as Strikers finish 2018 on a high! #BBL|08
The Score: Adelaide Strikers 4-175 (Ingram 75, Carey 59; Sams 2-24) defeated Sydney Thunder 6-155 (Ferguson 47, Watson 28; Siddle 3-20) by 20 runs.
The Hero: Peter Siddle's duties of late have consisted of mixing Gatorade and dropping THAT catch as a substitute fielder for Australia, so it was great to see the veteran paceman up-and-about and with a smile on his face for the Strikers. The lion-hearted Victorian was at his economical best against the Thunder, going for just five runs an over and picking up three valuable wickets in a player-of-the-match performance. Strikers captain Colin Ingram turned to Siddle when he needed a wicket the most and the experienced quick didn’t let him down. Siddle's three scalps were important ones too - Jos Buttler, Joe Root and Callum Ferguson - so Siddle's performance was all class.
The Supporting Cast: By weight of numbers Ingram was due. The stand-in Strikers captain had only made it into double figures once from his first three hits in BBL|08, so he was well overdue to fire. And that's exactly what the South African did as he smashed six maximums on his way to a quickfire innings of 75. This is what we come to expect from the powerful Ingram, who has well and truly earned the nickname of 'Bulldozer' from his teammates. Ingram’s 71-run partnership with Alex Carey (59) provided the backbone to the Strikers’ innings and allowed them to post a competitive score that proved too difficult to run down on a perfect night in the city of churches.
The Consolation Act: Callum Ferguson's name was mentioned at the start of the summer when spots were up for grabs in Australia's Test side, but the veteran failed to step up during the JLT Sheffield Shield competition for South Australia when he needed to. He provided a timely reminder of his skills with a well compiled innings of 47 for the Thunder, but it wasn’t enough to get his side over the line.
The Turning Point: The Thunder were actually looking pretty good in their run chase at 1-72 at the start of the 10th over and with the asking rate less than 10 runs an over. However, things swung the hosts’ way when the Thunder lost one of their best and most experienced batsman to a spectacular outfield catch. Shane Watson was well set, but will be kicking himself after he holed out in the deep to a wonderful team catch from Jake Weatherald and Jake Lehmann. The loss of Watson left the Thunder middle order with too much to do as the visitors fell well short in the end.
The Special Mention: A death in the family is tough at any time, but for a 20-year-old professional cricketer plying his trade in a different country it must be extremely difficult. It was a great effort for Rashid Khan to even be in Adelaide following news of his father's death some 24 hours earlier, so the Afghanistan spinner deserves a special mention. Rashid was introduced into the attack in the ninth over with Watson and Ferguson well set and went for just five in his first over. Joe Root and Ferguson got him away for 14 in his next over, but the talented tweaker fought back hard. He found the edge of Jason Sangha to reduce the Thunder to 4-116 and then dismissed the dangerous Daniel Sams in his final over when the visitors threatened again. It may not have been Rashid's best spell, but under the circumstances it was a valuable one.
The Stat: You can pretty much guarantee a New Years Eve fixture at Adelaide Oval during BBL|09 if the Strikers get any say in it. The Adelaide club have hosted six NYE contests at the iconic ground and have won them all!
The Next Stop: The Strikers travel to Victorian country town Geelong to tackle the Melbourne Renegades at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday night, while the Thunder head home to host the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday.