Adelaide Strikers 4 for 187 (Carey 100, Weatherald 65, Archer 3-27) beat Hobart Hurricanes 4 for 176 (Doolan 70*, McDermott 45, Siddle 1-18) by 11 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The streak had to end somewhere for Hobart Hurricanes and their star batsman D’Arcy Short, but it took the second-highest partnership in the history of the Big Bash League to do it. The Hurricanes had won five in a row thanks to Short’s blazing run of form, but an Adelaide Strikers total of 187 proved too tall at Adelaide Oval after Hobart’s star man was dismissed for 28.
Adelaide’s innings was built on an opening stand worth 171 between Alex Carey and Jake Weatherald, falling one run short of the BBL’s all-time record partnership between Rob Quiney and Luke Wright for the Melbourne Stars back in 2012. The union threatened to push Adelaide onto a far more imposing total, but no one reckoned with Jofra Archer‘s late intervention. The Bajan fast bowler collected three wickets and a run-out in the 18th and 20th overs in a brilliant individual display.
But it was enough in the end, with Hobart held to 176 for 4 to lose by 11 runs. With two games left for both teams, it was a significant result: second on the table versus third, with a home final spot in the offing. Advantage Adelaide.
A near-record opening stand
A couple of months ago, South Australian opener Weatherald and wicketkeeper Carey were plying their trade in the Sheffield Shield, both outside chances for a spot in the Ashes. Carey couldn’t make enough runs to force the selectors’ hand, while Weatherald made a pile but didn’t make the cut.
They produced a very different kind of partnership across the course of 17.4 overs on Wednesday, equalling the unbeaten 171 between Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger for the Perth Scorchers in 2015, while falling just short of the all-time record.
It didn’t look likely from the first three overs of spin, as neither batsman could find range against Clive Rose and Short. Adelaide had 11 off 18 balls before Carey got lucky off Archer with two top-edged boundaries.
That was enough to kickstart the innings, as each batsman rained four sixes, Carey flying to his century in 54 balls while Weatherald played a T20 anchor role with 65 from 52. When Dan Christian was sacked for 22 runs in the 16th over, things looked very grim for Hurricanes, but that was about to change.
Archer hits the bullseye: once, twice, three times, four
Almost as exciting as Short for Hobart this season has been Archer, who bowls fast, nails yorkers, and is athletic in the field. He displayed all of those traits as he dragged Hobart back from the brink. At 170 without loss and three overs remaining, a total well in excess of 200 was on the cards. Archer hauled it back.
He started with a couple of seemingly impossible dot balls, pure pace getting them through Weatherald without contact. Then a leg bye as he targeted the pad. By now the batsmen wanted to run for anything, and tried as Carey bunted back another fast full ball. Archer took off to his left, snared the rebound several metres off the pitch, tumbled, switched the ball to his other hand, then threw down one stump from short mid-on while sitting on his backside.
If that wasn’t enough, he sent a screaming yorker through Carey the next ball, dismissing him for an even 100. He followed up in the final over by nailing Jono Wells lbw, then ripping another yorker so comprehensively through Jake Lehmann that the batsman ended up flat on his face. Two overs, eight runs, four dismissals, and a display of pure skill that few could match.
Shorting the market doesn’t always work
If there’s one thing that Christian Bale’s character taught us in The Big Short, it’s that you back it. The Hurricanes have been confident doing this, as their main man has rattled off 97, 96, 42, 122*, and 59 to win his team’s last five games.
There’s genuine excitement about the all-rounder, who has seemingly come from nowhere, though he’s been working his way through Australian cricket’s tiers for several years. Hope for a Hurricanes win seemed to rest with him. For a time, things flowed his way. His first four of the night from Michael Neser was effortless, a pull floating to the boundary, then his first six clanged over square leg. On 20, he was dropped by Wells off Neser from a tricky running attempted catch at cover.
But with his 500th run of the season looming, Short was dragged down by a climbing required run-rate, aiming a booming drive that took the edge to Carey. Neser won through in the end, and while it was 45 for 1 after seven overs, few sides will have felt closer to victory at the fall of the first wicket.
Doolan can’t find the wheels
One of the peculiarities of the Big Bash League is seeing sedate first-class players trying to find a way in the most frenetic format. Some, like Joe Burns for the Brisbane Heat, have been able. Others, like Alex Doolan for Hurricanes, have been less successful.
Observers of Australian Test cricket would remember Doolan for his cameo in the baggy green in 2014. Selected for his ability to occupy the crease rather than unfurl lavish strokes, he has made an odd partnership with Short this season.
Doolan’s slow start may well have been a factor in Short’s dismissal, having made 14 from 18 balls by the time his opening partner fell. In the end, Doolan batted through the innings, but a final mark of 70 from 55 balls wasn’t speedy enough to have kept his side in the game. Entering the last over with 22 needed, there wasn’t the sense that he could find the big shots required. Eventually, so it proved.