Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes, BBL 2015-16, Adelaide January 13, 2016

Lehmann last-ball six seals Strikers' win

The Report by Tristan Lavalette

Adelaide Strikers 4 for 146 (Ludeman 57*, Milenko 3-25) beat Hobart Hurricanes 143 (Paine 45, Neser 3-26) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

One-ball hero: Jake Lehmann hit a six when the Adelaide Strikers needed four © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

It seemed an almost unfair task. Adelaide Strikers batsman Jake Lehmann had not faced a delivery in the entire BBL but needed to hit a four off his first ball to win the match for his stuttering team against a desperate Hobart Hurricanes. Astonishingly, Lehmann, the son of Australia coach Darren Lehmann, calmly lofted the ball over mid-off and over the rope to rescue the Strikers much to the delight of a frenzied Adelaide Oval near-capacity crowd.

As knockouts tantalisingly loom, the Strikers are in prime position to finish atop the BBL ladder for the second straight season. The six-wicket victory propelled them to the top and they are almost a lock to host a semi-final. Conversely, the slumping Hurricanes are struggling to stay afloat in the finals race.

Chasing an apparently mediocre 144, the Strikers, sans an injured Mahela Jayawardene, appeared to be coasting but were stymied by a disciplined Hurricanes attack in the middle overs. Knowing the importance of the result, the Strikers batted cautiously in a bid to chase down the target without too many undue risks. Out of nowhere, the game tightened with the Strikers needing 34 runs off the last three overs. But with just two wickets down, they had Tim Ludeman well set on 50 and the ever reliable Brad Hodge showcasing his coolness.

Hodge and Ludeman calmly made their match-winning move in the 18th over, bludgeoning 18 runs off Cameron Boyce to essentially put the result beyond doubt. Or so we all thought. Hodge was bowled by a piercing Shaun Tait yorker in the penultimate over to ensure there would be a grandstand finish. Needing 10 runs off the final over, Strikers batsman Alex Ross scored a couple of twos to bridge the gap. But the game once again flipped when Ross was brilliantly caught by a diving Jon Wells at the wide long-on boundary, bringing the equation to five off two.

Highly impressive paceman Simon Milenko, who was a late replacement for Darren Sammy, bowled accurately off the penultimate delivery and ensured Ludeman could only score a single. Milenko appeared to be his team's surprise match-winner, until Lehmann stole the show with an astonishing last-ball six, much to the relief of the Strikers who appeared set for an unfathomable choke.

The gripping ending looked highly unlikely earlier in the day when the Hurricanes were bowled out for 143, losing six wickets for 23 runs in a horrific late collapse. They scored at a brisk rate for much of the innings but lost wickets at regular intervals to stymie their momentum before crumbling to the wizardry of Adil Rashid. The legspinner was trumpeted pre-match as the "player of the Big Bash" by Damien Fleming on the television commentary, and Rashid lived up to the billing with a mesmerising performance.

Rashid finished with highly impressive figures of 2 for 16 from four overs to become the tournament's leading wicket-taker. Tapping into his bag of tricks, Rashid duped Jonathan Wells with a trademark googly and then trapped danger man Daniel Christian in front. Rashid backed up a vibrant Strikers attack fuelled by debutant Greg West's exuberance. The left-armer bowled with hostility marked by an array of short deliveries and finished with 2 for 24 from four overs. West was not overawed by the occasion, notably exchanging in a verbal stoush with Hurricanes batsman Michael Hill.

But West backed up the bravado by claiming his first wicket with the scalp of the out-of-form Ben Dunk for just 8. Part of Australia's T20 team last summer, Dunk may have played himself out of contention for a World T20 berth. West capped off a memorable debut by dismissing his nemesis Hill, who loomed as a potential match-winner having struck a brutal 21-ball 32.

It was a disappointing effort for the revamped Hurricanes, who reshuffled their top order in a desperate bid to turn around their sagging form. The Hurricanes separated explosive openers Dunk and Tim Paine, due to an underwhelming opening partnership this tournament.

Regular No. 3 Kumar Sangakkara swapped positions with Dunk but it was merely one struggling player replacing another. Sangakkara averaged a paltry 14 coming into the match, and the promotion failed to turn around his fortunes. He lasted just five deliveries, deceived by Michael Neser's slower ball and spooning a catch to short cover. Just when a partnership between Paine and Hill looked ominous, Paine was run-out attempting an ambitious second run.

It started a collapse of eight for 51, one that ultimately doomed the Hurricanes despite their admirable resolve.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul on January 14, 2016, 10:38 GMT

    Rashid has been key to England's revival in ODI and T20 cricket since the disastrous World Cup. He is a wicket taker, probably our highest in 2015, although I haven't checked the stats. In first class cricket, players can just sit in and wait for the bad balls, so he is not as threatening unless conditions are in his favour. He has had confidence problems too. This Big Bash campaign has really helped England's build up to the T20 World Cup. Thanks Australia.

  • John on January 14, 2016, 8:28 GMT

    As an English man I'm pleased to see Rashid and Willey doing so well out here. Just wondering , was it a really tough pitch to bat on? And whether Ludeman's knock was as much a hindrance in the run chase? The number 6 needing to hit a boundary off his first ball to win it seems a little too close for comfort

  • Graham on January 14, 2016, 5:33 GMT

    Jared Hansen : Your right he missed it but his bowling allowed the game to go that far. His yorkers over the last couple of overs was all to right handers that was his first ball to the left. Probably just missed it as he had to bowl it further across the batsman but not too many bowlers world wide can nail yorker after yorker to both right and left handers.

  • annoyed on January 14, 2016, 3:26 GMT

    @GEOFFREYSMOTHER, who Warne? He's always had England as his bunny. Rashid didn't cause Australia any trouble when they placed him in ODI's

  • Matthew on January 14, 2016, 2:31 GMT

    Great game! Games here much better than IPL

  • Ed on January 14, 2016, 1:05 GMT

    Rashid is brilliant - I bet England don't him for their T20 side though, which would be 'classic England selection theory'.....sigh....

  • Izmi on January 13, 2016, 23:51 GMT

    It is so exciting to watch some of the potential young aussie talent on display in the current BBL never seen or heard before in domestic cricket. Given the opportunity there are several young cricketers out there who could one day represent the country in international cricket. Though there are plenty of fine batsmen with lots of potential who could walk into any international team the notion is that there are not many good pacemen around due to retirements and injuries to several players in recent times. While watching the BBL game between the Adelaide Strikers and the Hobart Hurricanes there were atleast two fast bowlers with immense potential whose talents could be harnessed for the future of Australian cricket. More opportunities and some expert coaching no doubt will go a long way to develop their cricket career. It is not the amount of runs you score or the number of wickets that matter but the potential to excel which is written all over the player that eventually counts.

  • Jared on January 13, 2016, 22:52 GMT

    It's astonishing the game was so close without George Bailey. He's carried the Hurricanes in most of their games and I assumed they'd be flattened without him.

    Lots of great talent here, though I am a bit disappointed that one of the most impressive bowlers is English. Rashid seems like a nice guy that I'd like to do well but at the same time I'm an Aussie so I have to hope we absolutely annihilate him in the Ashes if he gets a match. On the parochial side Greg West and Milenko were revelations.

    Though, ultimately I think Milenko did poorly off that last ball. Yes, it was an incredibly assured shot from Lehmann but that was the one yorker he didn't get right - that ball was straight into the slot for any decent batsman. Going from a right-handed to a left-handed bat was a big adjustment he didn't get right, I think he'd have been much better aiming for a top-of-off delivery, tight on the line of the stumps.

  • GeoffreysMother on January 13, 2016, 22:19 GMT

    It isn't often a bowler has a whole nation as his bunny :-). Go Yorkshire Strikers!

  • Basil on January 13, 2016, 20:59 GMT

    Nice bowling Rashid and a dream finish for Jake. He cleaned up the mess that Ludeman got them in.

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