Adelaide Strikers 5 for 178 (Dunk 65, Pollard 47) beat Sydney Thunder 101 (Watson 39, Sodhi 6-11) by 77 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Sydney Thunder needed to win against Adelaide Strikers to keep their Big Bash League title defence - which, at one stage, had looked stillborn - alive, a fortnight after Eoin Morgan's famous last-ball six.
In the end, after Strikers posted the highest score at Spotless Stadium, Thunder lost, and badly, ending their season. They were bundled out for 101, losing eight wickets for 22 runs in 29 balls, with six of them falling to the beguiling legspin of Ish Sodhi, who took 6 for 11 in 21 deliveries - the second-best figures in the tournament's history.
Slam Dunk, the old story
Jason Gillespie has spent the season tearing what is left of his famous mane out at his team's batting woes. Prior to this game, Ben Dunk and Brad Hodge had more than 240 runs each, but beyond them only Jake Weatherald had more than 100. Tim Ludeman fell early - to Carlos Brathwaite, leading to a brilliant celebr-appeal then that dab.
They put on a stand of 92 from 55 balls. Dunk was dropped by Brathwaite at mid-on but went on to smash three sixes down the ground before being yorked by Shane Watson for 65. He ended his first season with Strikers with 364 runs and, in doing so, becomes the first player to make more than 350 runs in a BBL season twice; this was his third half-century to go with five thirties. Hodge also fell to Watson, caught at cow corner one ball after smoking it over that fielder's head for six. He has indicated that he plans to carry on - whether with Strikers or not - and it's easy to see why: his lowest score this season was 17.
Five sixes, no fours
That's Kieron Pollard's style. Only Chris Gayle has more sixes in the history of T20 cricket than Pollard's 437. He was instantly into his work, forehand-slapping Fawad Ahmed over long-on off his second ball, with just one hand on the bat. Then he knocked it about a bit, before hitting four more sixes from seven balls, then being run-out off the penultimate ball. Brathwaite was nailed over long-on, Clint McKay was crunched low and hard to deep midwicket, and Watson was hammered over square leg and long-on. He ended with his highest score of the tournament, and not a single four to his name.
The golden arm
Despite their excellent total, Strikers looked a bit light on bowling. But then out came Michael Neser to start with a maiden at Kurtis Patterson, then Pollard, who bowled three overs in the powerplay, had James Vince caught behind thanks to a brilliant diving catch by the debutant wicketkeeper Alex Carey. Patterson rebuilt with Watson, who was starting to look in the mood, and Thunder were ahead of the rate. So Hodge turned to Jake Lehmann, who had never taken a professional wicket, but promptly had Watson caught at long-on to start the collapse. Hodge then tried another trick, giving himself an over, before Liam O'Connor bowled Patterson.
The green bat and the Black Cap
Whether Brathwaite is a No. 5 in T20 is a question for another day. What he is is box office, and, as if to prove the point, out he ambled with a big green bat. But it did not do much damage, knocking just one single before he was done all ends up by Sodhi's dip and turn, heaving wildly and missing by miles.
Three balls later, Sodhi deceived Ben Rohrer, bowling him through a wildly unlatched gate. In his following over, Thunder lost three wickets in four balls to seal the deal. It was a mighty skilful showing from Sodhi.
Where are they now?
Out of finals contention. Both of them. Strikers' win means that every team in this season's BBL has won at least three of their eight group matches.