BBL 15: Adelaide Strikers thrash Brisbane Heat to go top
Adelaide Strikers moved to the top of the Big Bash League after a convincing victory over Brisbane Heat, thanks to fifties from Mahela Jayawardene, Tim Ludeman, and Travis Head. Set a challenging total of 176, Strikers cruised to their fifth win of the season, thanks an 86-run opening partnership.
Adelaide Strikers got an instant reward for winning the toss and choosing to field as the dangerous West Indian opener Lendl Simmons departed for a second-ball duck. The hosts, who have gotten used to losing an early wicket didn’t panic.
Thanks to their in-form captain Chris Lynn, who smashed three fours off the first three balls of the third over, Heat got out of a pickle. Lynn, who came into the match with a scarcely believable average of 70, continued to punish the bad balls as the Heat consolidated to finish the powerplay at 58/1.
But the introduction of spin but the brakes on the Heat onslaught as Adil Rashid picked up the crucial wicket of Lynn for 34. Although the next over went for 13, including a six that was almost a stunning diving catch near the ropes by Ben Laughlin, Rashid kept things tight.
The pressure from Rashid's tight bowling forced the hosts to take unnecessary risks, like the run out of Heazlett off the first ball fo the 10th over, with the score at 76. At the other end though Jimmy Peirson was determined to get them to a decent total and three sixes off Jon Holland’s third over, which cost 20 runs, certainly helped.
But Peirson departed soon after completing his fifty, with the score on nelson (111). Travis Head, who came in to bowl his part-timers got the crucial breakthrough, but wasn't so lucky in his second over, as he went for 12 runs.
That over set the platform for the Heat as they added 54 runs off the last five overs and finished with a competitive 175/6 in their quota of 20 overs.
If Heat were to claim only their second win of the season, they needed early wickets. But Strikers’ openers Jayawardene and Ludeman were in no mood to be amicable visitors as they pair set up the perfect chase.
Jayawardene, in particular, who was promoted to open the batting alongside Ludeman showed his intent early as he smashed Andrew Fekete for two sixes and a four off the last three balls of the second over of the innings.
Strikers raced to their fifty in the fifth over and the Sri Lankan batsman had already added 38 off just 16 balls. He slowed down thereafter and got to his fifty with a boundary, but was unlucky to be given out lbw, as he attempted the reverse sweep off Samuel Badree.
The ball was missing leg and joined Simmons as the second batsmen on the day, to be disappointed to be given out lbw, when the ball was missing leg.
The lack of confidence in the Heat lineup was evident from their fielding display. Not only did they drop a couple of catches, but also fumbled an easy run out and made a tough task even harder for themselves.
Head, who was dropped on 3, went onto score the fastest fifty of the day, off just 24 balls with a six off Ben Cutting. Before him, Ludeman also brought up his first fifty of the season as the visitors cruised towards the target, which they eventually reached with eight balls remaining and eight wickets in hand.
Adelaide Strikers won the toss and elected to field