The match in a tweet: Weatherald, bowlers fire on all cylinders as clinical Strikers crush disappointing Renegades in Geelong #BBL|08
The score: Adelaide Strikers 6-158 (Weatherald 71, Wells 22no; Boyce 2-16) defeated Melbourne Renegades 9-126 (Webster 33; Neser 2-10, O'Connor 2-21, Stanlake 2-27) by 32 runs
The hero: Strikers opener Jake Weatherald’s superb half-century proved a match-winning performance on a pitch where no other batsman managed to pass 33. Weatherald belted three sixes and six fours in an action-packed 44-ball 71 to lay the foundations for the Strikers’ total of 6-158. He signalled his intentions early, hitting three consecutive boundaries off Usman Shinwari to close out the fourth over and raced to his fifty in the ninth over. He was run out in the 15th over, with the knock marking a return to form after scores of 17, 32, 22 and 11 to start BBL|08.
The supporting cast: Leg-spinner Liam O’Connor was called into the Strikers’ XI to replace Peter Siddle and was ultra-impressive in returning figures of 2-21, grabbing the wickets of Renegades skipper Tom Cooper and Mohammad Nabi. It was O’Connor’s first appearance of BBL|08 after he was a member of the Strikers’ title-winning side last summer. Pacemen Michael Neser (2-10) and Billy Stanlake (2-27) also fired with the ball, while ever-consistent leggie Rashid Khan (1-18) was typically tidy.
The consolation act: Schoolteacher Cameron Boyce does not have a state contract for the first time since 2010 and is at his third BBL club, but the experienced leg-spinner showed tonight that he remains a valuable contributor. With the Strikers 0-60 off seven overs, the Renegades tweaker claimed the key wickets of Carey and South African Colin Ingram to finish with 2-16 from four overs, his best return of this tournament. Boyce now has five wickets from five games in BBL|08, and proved himself a handy hitter with a couple of devastating blows.
The cameo: Gun spinner Rashid spent just seven balls at the crease, but his unbeaten 21 proved decisive in the outcome as he helped lift the Strikers above 150 after they lost momentum through the middle of the innings. The Strikers went six overs without a boundary before Rashid walked out to the middle with two overs remaining in the innings. His entertaining knock featured two fours and two sixes.
The selection squeeze: Experienced paceman Siddle was player of the match in the Strikers’ New Year’s Eve victory after collecting 3-20, but he missed tonight’s match because of Australia Test duties. Siddle will be available for the Strikers’ next match against Sydney Sixers on Sunday, giving Adelaide some pleasant selection headaches after O’Connor’s fine performance and Cameron Valente also in the mix.
The big in: After three consecutive defeats – punctuated by below-par performances with the bat – the Renegades will be desperate to welcome Aaron Finch back into the fold. Finch was dropped from Australia’s side for the fourth Test against India at the SCG but is set to be available for BBL duties on Monday. Finch is the third highest run-scorer in the history of the Big Bash with 1,669 runs, behind Michael Klinger (1,860) and Chris Lynn (1,706).
The blow: Renegades import Shinwari copped a blow to his ankle while trying to stop a powerful Weatherald straight drive in the second over of the Strikers’ innings. The left-arm paceman immediately suffered swelling and left the field for treatment soon after before returning and finishing with 1-40 from four overs – his most expensive return from five matches in this season’s tournament. Speaking on Channel Seven’s coverage during the Strikers’ innings, Shinwari said the swelling had gone down and he appeared to be recovering well.