Adelaide Strikers 5 for 173 (Ingram 68, Head 58, Bravo 2-30) beat Melbourne Renegades 7 for 147 (Hodge 30*, Harris 25, Laughlin 2-18, Stanlake 2-22) by 26 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A comprehensive win away from home has secured Adelaide Strikers a home semi-final at the Adelaide Oval, where they are undefeated this season.
The win over the Melbourne Renegades had significant ramifications for the BBL but the complete nature of the performance has sounded a warning to the Strikers' rivals.
The Strikers managed to compile an excellent first-innings score after one of their slowest Powerplays, and it was predominantly due to a man-of-the-match display from Colin Ingram. He peppered the crowd with five enormous sixes during a freakish 68 from just 36 balls. Travis Head compiled 58 from 47 but looked pedestrian by comparison.
Then the Strikers did what they do best squeezing the life from the Renegades in the chase. Four of the five bowlers conceded less than seven an over and their catching was out of this world. The Renegades have now lost three in a row to remain locked in a four-way battle for the last two semi-final spots.
Strikers slow out of the blocks
The Strikers have been measured in their approach to the Powerplays throughout the tournament, aiming for 40 to 50 runs without losing more than one wicket. On a slow Docklands surface they were extremely slow early. They were 1 for 13 from 21 balls having not hit a boundary before Alex Carey opened his shoulders. But Head really battled at the other end. He faced 10 balls in the Powerplay for just eight runs, and five of those deliveries were dot balls. The Strikers scored just 33 in the Powerplay.
No Nabi, Mo' problems
Mohammad Nabi's absence was keenly felt by the Renegades. He had bowled 25.5 overs in seven games, conceding just 5.76 per over while taking eight wickets. No other regular Renegades bowler had conceded less than seven an over. Cameron White gambled with Chris Tremain in the eighth over after a couple of good overs in the Powerplay. Head prefers pace compared to spin and he launched Tremain for a six and a four to get his strike rate up above 100 and the run-rate above six-an-over. The rate plateaued when Carey holed out.
Ingram entered and produced a stunning innings. He scored 10 off his first 10 balls before he started nailing slog-sweeps and wristy flicks to the leg-side boundary. He slog-swept and pulled Brad Hogg for successive fours and gave Head the freedom to hit him for six in a monster 13th over that yielded 18 runs. Ingram did the same to the 140kph speed of Kane Richardson, whipping him into the leg side crowd from way outside off stump. He did it again off consecutive deliveries from Kieron Pollard and once to Dwayne Bravo in the last over. His 68 from 36 balls turned a potential score of 150 into 5 for 173. Head played a good supporting hand but he was overshadowed.
Four boundaries in 11.4 overs
The Renegades needed a fast start and bolted to 33 without loss after four overs. Tim Ludeman and Marcus Harris found the boundary four times in 24 balls. But the Strikers did not concede another boundary until the 12th over. Peter Siddle executed his plan to Ludeman, dragging him wider and nicking him off. The Strikers starved Harris of boundaries square of the wicket by bowling straight until he skied one trying to find a boundary. Tom Cooper finally found the fence twice to close out the 12th over but the equation by then was 104 from 48 balls.
Bravo c Weatherald b Rashid Khan
After Cooper and Cameron White fell the game was all but gone, but until the mercurial Bravo and Pollard were removed last rites had to wait. Bravo fell to one of the best team catches you could wish to see. He hit Rashid Khan high, inside-out over wide long-off. Ben Laughlin ran full tilt-along the rope and caught the ball but was hurtling over the rope with no chance to toss the ball up and regain his balance. He instead back-handed the ball nearly 30m towards Jake Weatherald running across from deep cover-point. Weatherald had to change direction sharply to his left but he completed the catch to remove the dangerous Bravo. The last five overs were an anti-climax after such a stunning piece of fielding. Brad Hodge took 17 from the last over to make the margin closer than it was.