Hobart Hurricanes 1 for 217 (Wade 130*, Short 72) beat Adelaide Strikers 8 for 207 (Salt 66, Head 47, Rose 2-16) by 10 runs
A breathtaking century by captain Matthew Wade helped the Hobart Hurricanes time their run into the BBL finals just right as they secured a spot in the Eliminator by overcoming the Adelaide Strikers in a high-scoring match of more than 400 runs.
Wade and D'Arcy Short added 203 for the first wicket with Wade finishing on a magnificent unbeaten 130 off 61 balls, which, at one stage, looked set to threaten Marcus Stoinis' recent BBL record of 147.
However, the Strikers - who could have clinched second place with victory - gave the chase a terrific attempt led by Phil Salt as he looked capable of matching Wade. However, the impressive Nathan Ellis again shone at the death while James Faulkner showed his experience when it mattered.
The outcome means that the Strikers will host the knockout match at the Adelaide Oval on February 1 while the Sydney Sixers have earned a spot in the Qualifier against the Melbourne Stars and two chances to reach the final. The Hurricanes' opponents, the Brisbane Heat away or Sydney Thunder at home, would be known on Monday after the final regular-season match between the Heat and the Melbourne Renegades.
Wade, who has hit a purple patch in the last week, looked in the mood early on and by the end of the powerplay had 38 off 19 balls with the Hurricanes going at ten an over. It was the eighth over, which would become Billy Stanlake's only one of the innings, where the Strikers began to really lose control as Wade fed off a leg-side line in an over that cost 22. Though he had gone for 21 before the final ball of the over, it might have been different for Stanlake if Jono Wells had managed to hold Wade at deep square-leg on 57. The Strikers' go-to bowler, Rashid Khan, was also taken for consecutive sixes before Wade brought up his hundred from 48 balls after reaching 99 with a bottom-handed flick over the ropes off Peter Siddle.
Short plays second fiddle
It is little surprise that the Hurricanes' season has come together as they've got Wade and Short back in harness after their respective international duties. Short made a duck in his game after the India tour (although he took a five-wicket haul) and did not quite look in his best form for most of this innings, but showed maturity by playing in Wade's slipstream and not giving it away. In a mark of the contrasting innings, Short's fifty and Wade's hundred both took 48 deliveries but Short got some rewards late on as he struck three sixes in the space of four balls to take the total over 200. The last two overs from the Strikers only went for 15 but a lot of damage had been done.
A sprinkling of Salt
Although they could secure second spot, overall there was less pressure on the Strikers than the Hurricanes and they were able to approach a tough chase with a degree of freedom knowing a home knockout match was theirs even in defeat. Salt was dropped second ball - a sitter to George Bailey at point, who managed to maintain his sense of humour (his career now has at least one more game) - and raced out of the blocks to put the Hurricanes' bowlers under the pump. At the end of the powerplay, the Strikers were ahead in the comparison at 1 for 66. With the halfway mark of the innings approaching, they had kept the required rate around 11 but attempting to clear the popular deep midwicket area, Salt picked out Short, who had previously given him a life in the same spot on 43.
Nerves at the death
When Scott Boland removed Travis Head - the ball rolling up his leg and back into the stumps - the Strikers surged again as Alex Carey and Wells took 25 off the next seven deliveries. By the start of the 17th over, they needed 48 off 24 balls with a set Carey and in-form Wells in the middle. However, Clive Rose bravely held back his first delivery of the over and Wells missed his sweep, and then it was over to Ellis and Faulkner to close out. Ellis' first ball of the 18th was swung for six by Khan but his next was a pinpoint yorker, which earned an lbw. He went for just six off the next four deliveries, and then Faulkner used all his variations to concede five off the penultimate over, leaving Ellis with 22 to defend from the last.