Jake Weatherald’s lone hand in vain as the Thunder cruise to nine-wicket win
Sydney Thunder 1 for 116 (Hales 63*, Ferguson 46*) beat Adelaide Strikers 4 for 115 (Weatherald 80*) by nine wickets
The Sydney Thunder cruised home by nine wickets to secure their place in the BBL playoffs, leaving the Adelaide Strikers facing an anxious wait to see if results fall their way in Tuesday’s triple-header.
In a match reduced to 14 overs per side after heavy afternoon rain, the Strikers struggled early in their innings, crawling to 3 for 39 after eight overs. Jake Weatherald batted through for an unbeaten 80, the only score of note, and made 50 off the last 19 balls he faced as his death hitting dragged them up to 115.
But after losing Usman Khawaja to the first ball of their run chase, the Thunder kept the required rate in check, with Alex Hales, the competition’s leading run-scorer and form batsman, leading the charge. He struck 63 not out in an unbroken 116-run partnership for the second wicket with Callum Ferguson, seeing them home with 11 balls to spare.
The Thunder are almost guaranteed to finish third after wrapping up a four-point win, thanks in part to their net run-rate, which is among the best in the competition. If they do, they will contest the Knockout on January 31, playing the winner of the Eliminator (between the teams who finish fourth and fifth); if they win, they play the loser of the Qualifier (between the top two) on February 4 for a place in the final two days later.
The Strikers, meanwhile, face a nervous wait on results elsewhere. They are going to be eliminated if the Hobart Hurricanes beat the Melbourne Renegades and at least one of the Brisbane Heat and the Melbourne Stars win their respective games with a bonus point, or if both the Heat and the Stars win with a bonus point.
Full report to follow…
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98