Adelaide Strikers death bowler Ben Laughlin has described his final, match-winning delivery as “stinky” and admitted he “got lucky” when Kieron Pollard swung hard and missed the ball while trying to snare victory and a spot in the final for the Renegades.
Pollard and Tom Cooper had scored 10 runs off the first five balls of the last over but still needed three for victory off the final ball of the match to seal the win.
Laughlin was aiming to hit the top of off stump but knew he had missed the mark as soon as he released the ball, which pitched on a length and tailed into Pollard, missing both the inside edge and the stumps. The batsmen scampered through for a bye but by then the Strikers’ celebrations had begun.
“Hell no!” Laughlin laughed when asked if he had meant to bowl a length ball to the hard-hitting Pollard. “I was trying to hit the hole wasn’t I? Yeah, top of off. I got lucky so thanks, Poll!”
Before starting his final run-up, Laughlin had what looked like an intense discussion with the Strikers captain, Travis Head.
“He was actually thinking, ‘I’ll come in and stop the one,’ and I was, like, ‘Trav, sit back and stop two not one’,” Laughlin said. “But we got there.”
“I knew half way down, when I let it go, it wasn’t right. It was a stinky, horrible length ball that didn’t come out very well. Sometimes you get lucky though, don’t you?”
“It was panic stations. He swung at it hard, didn’t he? I don’t know how he missed it.”
Laughlin has become a specialist death bowler for the Strikers but, despite his extensive experience bowling the final over, this was the first occasion where a match was decided on his final delivery.
“It was pretty awesome,” he said. “I’ve never had that last-ball-to-win scenario, so that’s cool. It sort of ticks it off the list now. It was an amazing roar afterwards, I’ve got a tingly feeling now thinking about it. The boys went off, there was a bit of emotion afterwards so it was cool.”