Sydney Sixers 8 for 137 (Khan 4-22) beat Adelaide Strikers 136 (Weatherald 47, Curran 4-22) by two wickets
Rashid Khan turned on the magic with a hat-trick but could not quite carry the Adelaide Strikers to victory in a low-scoring thriller against the Sydney Sixers. The unlikely matchwinner with the bat was Josh Hazlewood, the day before he flies to India with the ODI squad, as he struck his first three balls for four to seal the win with eight deliveries to spare.
The batting of both teams fell away from very similar positions: the Strikers were 2 for 79 in the 10th over before eventually losing their last seven wickets for 25 then the Sixers 3 for 79 in the 11th, and seemingly in control, when Khan removed Daniel Hughes which created havoc in the middle order.
The Sixers' bowlers had more-than done their job. Hazlewood, in the role he is more accustomed to, sent down 12 dot balls across four one-over spells, Lloyd Pope took two in his last over and Tom Curran claimed 4 for 22. Curran's batting then came to the fore again as he got the Sixers close to their target. His dismissal appeared to open the door for the Strikers, but Hazlewood had other ideas.
Even early tussle
In the first half of the Strikers' innings, each time either side was taking the ascendancy the other would hit back. Jackson Bird produced an excellent delivery to find Phil Salt's edge and Matt Short was beaten by Ben Dwarshuis' yorker as the Strikers ended the powerplay on 2 for 53. Jake Weatherald, who is having a good tournament, was building another promising innings as he took on Bird, taking 15 off the fourth over, and was 34 off 18 balls at the end of the fielding restrictions. Then the Sixers started to squeeze and the final ball of the 10th over from Curran was a yorker that beat Weatherald for pace. It would prove a key moment
Pope bounces back to prompt collapse
Alex Carey struggled to get his innings off the ground, reaching 15 off 19 balls, but the 13th over from Pope looked as though it could be the moment to bring lift-off as consecutive fours - breaking a series of 20 deliveries without a boundary - were followed by five wides. However, having conceded 30 off three overs, Pope, who was selected ahead of a fit-again Steve O'Keefe, showed his character by having a big impact in his last over. He had Jono Wells caught at deep midwicket and pinned Michael Neser lbw four balls later. Two balls into the next over, from Curran, the dangerous Khan made a poor choice with a cross-batted swipe and the innings was falling away. In the end, the Strikers couldn't even make their 20 overs as Curran claimed two in the final over.
Rashid Khan the T20 king
Khan was used unusually early, sending down the second over of the innings, and was taken for 11 runs before being held back until the powerplay was finished. The Sixers were reasonably steady on 2 for 46 despite early inroads by Neser, but then Khan started to get to work. Hughes was brilliantly caught at slip as he went for a cut, the ball reaching Short in the blink of an eye, with Khan then withdrawn from the attack again. It was the 11th over, immediately after the timeout, where it looked as though he had changed the game as he nicked out James Vince and won an lbw verdict against Jack Edwards which replays showed was missing leg. With the first ball of his next over another googly spun through Jordan Silk to give him his third T20 hat-trick.
Sixers' lower order hold their nerve
Khan had five balls left but could not add a fifth wicket and he was finished by the 14th over. When Dwarshuis edged a swipe against Peter Siddle the Sixers were 7 for 97 but not for the first time Curran showed his batting pedigree. He had earned the Sixers a Super Over against the Sydney Thunder last month - which they went on to win - and here whittled the requirement down to 12 off 13 balls only to play around a full delivery from Harry Conway. It left a run-a-ball for the last two wickets to try and score, but after a single by Bird it only needed three shots from Hazlewood - an upper cut, an edge wide of the keeper and a perfect cover drive - against his former Australia team-mate Siddle to get the job done.