Hobart Hurricanes 6 for 185 (Wright 64, Sams 4-34) beat Sydney Thunder 128 (Hales 63, Short 5-21) by 57 runs
A special performance from D'Arcy Short, with the ball rather than the bat, helped the Hobart Hurricanes climb back into finals calculations on the back of a stunning 57-run win over the Sydney Thunder in Hobart.
Short was out for a duck in but took 5 for 21 as the Thunder lost 8 for 28 in the chase of 186. Alex Hales and Alex Ross were well placed at 2 for 100 after 12.2 overs but the side imploded and their finals hopes took a massive blow as their net run-rate dropped below the Hurricanes' after starting the game well clear of them.
Matthew Wade and Mac Wright once again make half-centuries to underpin a big Hurricanes total but it was a hard-hitting cameo from George Bailey that tipped the score above 180. He made 29 off 10 balls with three fours and two sixes in what might be his final game at Bellerive Oval. Daniel Sams took 4 for 34 with the ball to equal Kane Richardson's BBL record of 24 wickets in a season with a game to go.
The Thunder now face the Perth Scorchers in their final home and away fixture on Sunday in Sydney while the Hurricanes head to Adelaide to tackle the Strikers, with both games set to shape the finalists.
Wright-ing the ship
Short fell to Arjun Nair in the opening over as the Thunder's pre-planning paid off. They bowled spin from both ends first up to Short and Wade and it paid massive dividends with the Hurricanes 1 for 5 after two overs. But captain Callum Ferguson opted to bowl just two more overs of spin in the next eight and neither were bowled by Nair. Wade and Wright settled as the pace slid on better on a good batting track and they found the boundary in every over bar the ninth and struck four massive sixes between them. They scored 94 off 50 balls and Wade looked set for a huge score until Sams deceived him with a slower ball for 56 which triggered a mini-collapse. David Miller fell to a brilliant catch from Hales at long-on, who tiptoed along the rope, flicked the ball up, stepped out and dived back in to complete a remarkable piece of fielding. When Wright and Ben McDermott also fell to Sams in the 17th over, one with some extra pace, the other from clever slower ball, the Hurricanes were 5 for 144 and in danger of squandering a big total.
The crowd was aware that this could be Bailey's final innings on his home ground as he is set to retire from all cricket at the end of the BBL to become an Australian selector. He went out with a bang. He was fortunate with his first boundary, dropped on the rope by Hales but it was a brutally tough one-handed chance that few would have even got to. Bailey then pummelled Gurinder Sandhu with a six over square leg, a falling scoop fine for four, and an uppercut that was caught by Sams at deep point but he was touching the rope. His 29 off 10 ended in a skilful final over from Sams that cost just eight but it gave the Hurricanes and the crowd a huge boost heading into their bowling innings.
Not for the first time, Hales threatened to single-handedly steal a game in this BBL as he marched past 400 runs for the tournament with a dazzling half-century. He lost an out of sorts Usman Khawaja early and didn't get much assistance from Ferguson but he took down Clive Rose in the last over of the powerplay with a hat-trick of sixes. Two slog sweeps, one over backward square, the other over long-on into the stands, bracketed a phenomenal lofted strike over cover. He came within metres of a fourth in a row but had to settle for 23 from the over. Hales was in cruise control and he had a great ally in Ross as the pair ticked the total to 2 for 100 in the 13th over, leaving the Thunder needing 86 from 47 balls with eight wickets in hand.
The big Short
Short has never been player of the match after scoring 0. Nor had he ever taken more than two wickets in 80 T20 matches. He ran through the Thunder taking 5 for 21 in a magical spell and he started the rot removing Hales with a wrong 'un. Hales hit the first ball of the over for four and knew Short was the match-up to target with the left-arm wristspinner's stock ball spinning into his arc but he didn't read the wrong 'un and top-edged it to short third man. Those that followed were utterly clueless. Chris Morris couldn't pick it either and was pinned lbw. Jay Lenton, Ross, and Nair all fell miscuing trying to clear the rope. The collapse of 8 for 28 took just 31 balls to complete and was sealed with an obligatory run out with Wright producing a classy direct hit to end the match.