Adelaide Strikers 5 for 186 (Head 79, Wells 45*, Boland 2-26) beat Hobart Hurricanes 6 for 176 (Miller 90*, McDermott 31, Agar 4-33) by 10 runs
The Adelaide Strikers survived a return to form for David Miller to secure a ten-run victory in Launceston that moved them to second in the table and all but end the Hobart Hurricanes' hopes of making the finals.
Travis Head played a superb innings to put the Strikers on course for a hefty total but he was grateful for the experience of Peter Siddle, and four wickets from Wes Agar, as the Hurricanes tried to keep their season alive.
Head crunched 79 off 40 balls - and was a chance of making a century - before Jono Wells and Matt Short ensured a strong finish to the innings with a stand of 54 in 36 balls. The Hurricanes were always behind in the chase, but Miller and Ben McDermott added 60 to just about keep them in it, before Miller struck powerfully in the closing overs to ensure the Strikers were not secure until Siddle conceded just two off the first three balls of the last over.
Tricky start, costly drop
There was a little bit of life in the surface and the Hurricanes made the early running through Scott Boland, who had 2 for 2 after his first seven deliveries, removing Phil Salt and Jake Weatherald - the latter to a reflex one-handed return catch. However, Clive Rose bookended the powerplay with a brace of poor overs - conceding 21 - which meant the Strikers still had a decent tally on the board. In the eighth over, there was what would become a key moment in the game when Head swept Qais Ahmad to deep square-leg where Miller could not hold on to a low chance.
Head makes it count
When he was dropped, Head was 21 off 14, an innings he would transform into a decisive display. The next over he faced from Ahmad, he slog-swept two sixes and another followed against Nathan Ellis - which went out of the ground - as he sped to a 31-ball half-century. In the 13th over, he took Rose for two more sixes in the space of three balls and there was time for him to make a huge total, but attempting to clear the rope again he found deep midwicket. However, he had shown the flexibility that has become part of his game and a reminder that before he became a Test cricketer it was the T20 format where he first made his name. The Hurricanes did reasonably well at the death - there were only two fours and two sixes in the final 7.2 overs - but Wells, whose 40 made him the Strikers' leading run-scorer, and Short married good running with the occasional strong shot to ensure Head's work didn't go to waste.
Wading into early trouble
It was the size of chase where the Hurricanes needed to come strongly out of the blocks, but it didn't happen with Matthew Wade edging to slip in the first over and Caleb Jewell skying to mid-off in the fifth. Coupled with a sluggish start from Jake Doran at No. 3 - who was 15 off 18 balls at the end of the powerplay - it meant the Hurricanes had already let the asking rate escalate into double figures.
Miller's late arrival
Miller had made 91 runs in nine innings before today, but was able to get an early foothold this time although after ten overs, the Hurricanes' requirement was a steep 122 off 60 balls. He and McDermott threatened to turn things around, but the Hurricanes were always behind even though Rashid Khan had a rare expensive day. The last five overs started with them needing 71 and McDermott picked out long-on against Siddle just as he was finding his stride. With 38 needed off 12 balls, Miller took two sixes in four balls off Michael Neser and if he could have managed a third, to bring the final-over requirement under 20, things could have been twitchy for the Strikers. But Neser went for just three singles off the last three balls - Khan pulling off a good save at deep square on the last delivery. With 21 needed off the last, Siddle had breathing space, but showed his T20 prowess with two yorkers to start with which killed the game off.