Adelaide Strikers 5 for 147 (Carey 70, Pattinson 2-23) beat Brisbane Heat 146 (Lynn 33, Rashid Khan 3-19) by five wickets
Winning is a habit, and Adelaide Strikers aren't kicking it anytime soon. The reigning champions started their title defence in emphatic style with a five-wicket victory over Brisbane Heat, built on the back of another stunning spell from Rashid Khan and a dazzling knock from Alex Carey.
The match was marred by some bizarre umpiring, with James Pattinson incorrectly given run out by the TV umpire before the Strikers withdrew the appeal, and Carey admitted he nicked a ball to the keeper after being given not out on 52.
Rashid decimated the Heat's batting line-up in conjunction with crafty spells from Peter Siddle and Ben Laughlin. At one stage, the hosts were 9 for 101 before Mujeeb Ur Rahman made 27 off 22 balls, a record for No. 11 in T20 cricket to push the total to 146.
Strikers made a blistering start to the chase and though there were some wobbles Carey went deep enough before Jon Wells finished the job.
When too many gimmicks might be too much
The BBL is supposed to be one of the best T20 leagues in all of professional cricket. The opening night of the new season featured a toss of a bat instead of a coin. At one stage there were three players mic'd up on the field at once talking to two different television broadcasters and the whole ground descended in darkness during the innings break to allow for a fireworks display. So when the TV umpire incorrectly adjudicated a run out as 'out' that every person at the ground, at home, and around the world could see was clearly not out, you could be forgiven for wondering how serious this tournament is.
Pattinson dived to beat a throw from Peter Siddle in the 13th over as the Heat were struggling at 6 for 92. Replays showed him clearly making his ground, but the signal coming down from umpire Greg Davidson was out. After much confusion, Strikers bowler Ben Laughlin inquired with his captain Colin Ingram as to whether they could withdraw the appeal. Ingram checked with on-field umpire Simon Fry and then recalled Pattinson. He only lasted seven balls for four runs before being stumped by Carey from the bowling of Matthew Short.
The Bash Brothers failed to fire after being sent in and the Heat combusted. Brendon McCullum hit the first ball for four and the second straight up the in the air to be caught by the wicketkeeper. Chris Lynn clubbed 33 from 20 balls including a six and a four off Rashid in the fifth over, but he was knocked over by Peter Siddle with four balls left in the Powerplay.
The Heat slumped to 9 for 101 with 31 balls left. Rashid claimed 3 for 9 in three overs post the Powerplay. Equally startling was that he bowled 14 dot balls on a batsman's paradise. He undid Ben Cutting with extra bounce as the batsman holed out sweeping. He completely bamboozled Mark Steketee and Mitch Swepson in his last over with trademark wrong 'uns. He was unstoppable and as a result, so were the Strikers.
Mujeeb makes history
Mujeeb, on debut in the BBL, walked out at No.11 having never made more than 16 in any of his previous 28 innings in professional cricket. He wandered all around the crease and played all sorts of mad strokes including several attempted reverse hooks off the express pace of Billy Stanlake. But he mustered 27 off 22 balls, including three boundaries, the highest-ever score by a No.11 in T20 cricket. Mujeeb and Peirson put on 45 for the last wicket before Mujeeb fell with two balls left in the innings.
Carey cool, calm and collected
The Strikers batting relies heavily on their opening combination and Carey and Jake Weatherald picked up where they left off last season. They cracked 56 in 5.3 overs before Weatherald fell to reduce the required rate to a meagre 6.53.
Carey was savage in the Powerplay. He took Steketee for 16 in three balls with simple clean striking and added another six off Joe Burns. Heat youngster Max Bryant dropped Weatherald in the second over which proved costly from a partnership perspective. Carey too was fortunate to survive a caught behind in the 11th over off the legspinner Swepson. He launched the next ball for six and added 18 more to his total before Swepson finally got his revenge. The Strikers still needed 39 from 36 balls but Wells made a very composed and unbeaten 24 to secure the victory with five balls to spare.