The Strikers move to third place, while the opponents are in some strife
Adelaide Strikers 5 for 150 (Wells 36, Zampa 2-20) beat Melbourne Stars 7 for 149 (Maddinson 48*, Agar 2-19) by five wickets
Adelaide Strikers sent Rashid Khan off in style with a hard-fought five-wicket win over Melbourne Stars to vault up to third on the BBL table and leave the Stars in strife.
Wes Agar starred with 2 for 19, including a maiden, while Khan took 2 for 29, including the prize scalp of Glenn Maxwell, to restrict the Stars to just 7 for 149 after they won the toss. Marcus Stoinis played a lone hand at the top smashing 47 but he failed to kick on while Nic Maddinson made an excellent 48 not out to rescue the Stars after they had slumped to 5 for 92.
The Strikers stumbled in the chase losing Phil Salt and Alex Carey in a failed attempt to claim the Bash Boost point. Adam Zampa’s sublime spell of 2 for 20 put the Strikers in a hole but Jono Wells and Ryan Gibson dug them out. Wells took his time before hammering Haris Rauf to finish with 36 from 27 while Gibson guided the side home with 22 not out from 13 balls. Fittingly, Khan was out there for the winning runs in his 50th game for the Strikers, and last for the season as he heads off to international duty.
WATCH: Rashid Khan bowls Larkin, has Maxwell caught
Stoinis needs some spice
Andre Fletcher was a late addition to the Stars squad for the BBL as a replacement for Jonny Bairstow. It was hoped he would provide a nice foil for Stoinis at the top of the order but his struggles have really hurt the Stars and again he failed to fire. He faced a maiden in the first over and although he struck two sixes in the third he faced nine dots in 12 balls before holing out to mid-on. The ball did nip and swing early and the Stars were wary of losing wickets. Nick Larkin faced another maiden in the powerplay from Agar while Stoinis was 8 off 11 at one stage. Stoinis made up for it with some sublime hitting but it was nullified by Khan’s double-strike. He bamboozled Larkin with a stunning googly. Maxwell fell for his second consecutive golden duck slicing a full wide wrong un to backward point. Stoinis clubbed the hat-trick ball through midwicket for four with contempt. He was fortunate to survive a dropped catch in the deep, but Agar got him four balls later with some extra bounce catching a leading edge. Hilton Cartwright also failed to leave the Stars 5 for 92 with just 36 balls left in the innings.
The Stars left the Power Surge until the 17th over and Agar continued his outstanding form delivering six straight yorkers to concede just four runs and two leg byes. Dan Worrall then backed it up taking two wickets to leave the Stars in a huge hole. But Maddinson kept his head to give the Stars a score to defend. He used the pace of Worrall to flick him over fine leg and uppercut over third man in between the two Power Surge wickets. He then smashed Agar over deep midwicket in the 19thover, but Agar still finished with the phenomenal figures of 2 for 19 from four overs. Maddinson finished the innings with back-to-back sixes off Worrall to reach 48 not out from 34 balls and lift the Stars to a competitive total.
Bash Boost blunder
The Strikers needed just 68 for the Bash Boost point and had it under control through eight overs. Salt lost his opening partner early but struck four boundaries to reach 31 from 21 balls and leave the Strikers needing just 10 from two overs with Salt and Carey at the crease. But they made a mess of the short-term goal and did significant long-term damage to their chase. Maxwell backed himself and Zampa with 9thand 10thovers and came up trumps. Salt skied Maxwell to long-off with the first ball of the over. Maxwell’s angle from around the wicket caused the miscue. Then Carey and Wells scored just seven singles from the next 10 deliveries to put the Bash Boost point in jeopardy before Carey committed the ultimate sin. Needing three for the point, he tried to loft a reverse sweep off Zampa and was caught at short third man with Maddinson moving well to take an excellent catch. It left the Strikers without the point and needing 85 to win from 60 balls as their captain trudged off.
Gibson goes to the Wells
Wells remained composed despite Jake Weatherald also falling to the reverse sweep to Zampa. The legspinner delivered an outstanding Power Surge over as a part of a brilliant spell. Wells found an ally in Gibson and the pair of calm heads prevailed. They failed to take a boundary off Zampa’s last over but didn’t panic despite needing 30 off 18 balls. Wells waited for the pace of Rauf and used it to perfection. He carved him through point, clipped him through midwicket, and lofted him over the midwicket rope to reduce the equation to 16 off 14. Wells did hole out trying to go again over point but the damage was done. Gibson picked up the slack slicing Rauf to third man to take 18 from the over and leave just 12 required from 12 balls. They only needed six. Gibson again found the rope off Liam Hatcher at midwicket. He had some fortune last ball when the substitute Tom O’Connell dropped him running back with the flight for the winning runs.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne
IPL 2021 to kick off on April 9, will be played across Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata
The tournament will be played behind closed doors “to begin with”, and all games will be at neutral venues during the league phase
IPL 2021 will be played in India from April 9, across six cities: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The tournament will be played behind closed doors “to begin with”, and all games will be at neutral venues during the league phase.
More to follow…
England complete 3-0 sweep as New Zealand tumble for 96
Brunt strikes twice in first over as England defend 128 with ease
England women 128 for 9 (Wilson 31*, Dunkley 26, Devine 3-30) beat New Zealand women 96 (Satterthwaite 25, Villers 3-10, Brunt 2-19)
England fast bowler Katherine Brunt led the way in a commanding bowling performance in Wellington, as her team comprehensively beat New Zealand by 32 runs to complete a 3-0 series sweep.
Six different England players got among the wickets, as New Zealand, chasing 129 for a consolation victory, failed to get any sort of momentum going, eventually being dismissed for 96 in 18 overs.
The hosts were pegged back very early in the chase, as Brunt trapped the openers Sophie Devine and Hayley Jensen lbw for ducks in the first over. Amy Satterthwaite at No.3 provided a brief resistance, top-scoring with 25, but once she was dismissed by Sarah Glen in the eighth over, New Zealand withered away, losing at least one wicket each over till the 13th. Legspinner Mady Villiers struck three times in the space of 10 deliveries to reduce the hosts to 60 for 8, before Sophie Ecclestone and Natalie Sciver mopped up the tail to seal the win.
England had earlier recovered from a slow start to post 128 for 9, thanks largely to Fran Wilson‘s unbeaten 23-ball 31, while Sophie Dunkley chipped in with 26. For New Zealand, Devine was the pick of the bowlers, ending with figures of 4-0-30-3.
New Zealand vs Australia, 5th T20I, 2020-21
Big-name players will return but some key areas will continue to provoke debate when Australia resume playing
Australia fought back from 2-0 down to square the series against New Zealand before suffering a heavy loss in the decider. The squad was missing at least four players who will be inked into the T20 World Cup squad, in theory given an opportunity to assess the wider options available. With the team now facing a lengthy break, what can be gleaned from the five matches?
Wade the frontrunner, but where does the keeper bat?
However this series had played out there would have been questions remaining afterwards because of the names missing, especially so at the top of the order. David Warner will return and open with Aaron Finch – that’s probably the easy bit – but at the moment it appears Australia want their gloveman in the top order as well and that’s going to be a squeeze with Steven Smith also to fit in. Matthew Wade had the gloves throughout the series and in the last match slotted in at No. 3 having previously opened and produced his best knock of the five games. Josh Philippe played two very good innings in his debut series – and may well be the man for the 2022 T20 World Cup – but for now Wade looks to have the running. With the bat he may yet be used in a floating capacity both because of his experience and the fact that he’s a left hander.
This has been a perennial debate around Australia’s T20 side. Given Ashton Turner wasn’t tried in the series before returning home early for the birth of his child it would appear to be between Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh (it’s tricky to see how both play when all the batsmen are available). Stoinis played one standout innings – the 78 off 37 balls that almost stole the game in Dunedin – and it could be his spot to lose although, like so many in this line-up, his best work domestically comes at the top of the order and at times he can still soak up too many dots. Marsh’s best innings came when batting at No. 4 in the first match, albeit in a forlorn cause, and in three of matches found himself down at No. 7 below Ashton Agar in an attempt to split up the left and right handers. He also didn’t bowl in the series following another season of injury. Daniel Sams showed what he is capable of with 41 off 15 balls in Dunedin, but the feeling is he has to compete as one of the five bowlers. Agar, whose role with the ball is vital, has yet to convince he can quite hold the batting position needed of him.
It can’t all be on Maxwell
Related to the above is the fact that it still feels as though too much of how the middle order performs (in whatever order they bat) rests on the brilliance of Glenn Maxwell. It came off spectacularly in the third game when he had the ideal mix of a platform to work with and time left in the innings as he hammered 70 off 31 balls. Either side of that he made 23 runs in four innings and Australia need to have the ability to soak up those sorts of days more easily.
Pace-bowling pecking order
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will be locked into the side which probably leaves room for one more frontline quick in the XI. It could well be a horses-for-courses approach depending on conditions and opposition. The possibility of larger World Cup squad due to Covid-19 protocols also means the tough calls may not need to be made at the outset. Riley Meredith‘s first appearances for Australia certainly caught the eye, twice beating Kane Williamson for pace to win lbw appeals, and his development at the IPL (if he plays) will be watched with interest. Kane Richardson remains a hugely versatile performer and perhaps the most dependable behind the big two. Jhye Richardson, on his international comeback, showed glimpses of the late swing that make him so dangerous. Does Josh Hazlewood come into the mix as well?
Did Australia try enough?
During the series both Finch and coach Andrew McDonald spoke of the valuable “information gathering” that had gone on even if, from the outside, it did not look like much was changing pointing to things like altering batting orders and Adam Zampa bowling more Powerplay overs. There was only one personnel change in the five games: Meredith replacing Sams after the first two matches. In truth, the series finishes with largely the same questions as it started. Five of the squad who were there the end – D’Arcy Short, Ben McDermott, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff and Tanveer Sangha – did not get a game although so many extra players wouldn’t have been on tour under normal circumstances.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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