The Strikers started slowly after the early loss of Phil Salt. The Englishman's BBL journey started poorly after he miscued trying to loft Jhye Richardson over mid-off in the first over, adding just 2 to his duck against Sydney Thunder. The Strikers were 1 for 16 after three overs before Weatherald lined up Joel Paris' second over, having faced three dots from him in his first. His first boundary was streaky, a French cut past leg stump. But he launched the next ball over the midwicket fence. Paris then dropped a tough caught-and-bowled chance before Weatherald pounded the next two to the rope to take 20 from the over. Matthew Short followed up, striking three fours in Mitchell Marsh's first over to push the run rate above 10 an over.
An untimely rain delay at the end of the fifth over appeared to give the Scorchers a reprieve by both halting the Strikers' momentum and giving them a big advantage chasing as the game was reduced to an 18-overs-a-side contest. But it had the opposite effect. The rain greased up the surface and the outfield. It nullified the Scorchers' spin threats in Ashton Agar and Fawad Ahmed and the Strikers took full toll. Alex Carey played a sublime knock after the loss of Short. He started with two incredible inside-out sixes off Agar against the angle over cover. Agar, Australia's T20 spinning allrounder, only bowled one over in the innings after conceding 16.
Livingstone and Inglis started the run chase with a required run rate of 10.78. By the end of the eighth over, the Scorchers were 0 for 111 needing a very manageable 88 from 60 balls with 10 wickets in hand. Inglis set the tone with a pull shot that went like a bullet to the midwicket rope off the first ball of the innings. Inglis matched Carey's 360-degree play with boundaries all around the park. Livingstone just stood still and swung hard, clubbing seven massive sixes over the leg side. Livingstone matched the fastest fifty in Scorchers' history taking just 21 balls to raise his bat. He brought it up with a 98-metre six that landed in the first tier of the Members' stand. No bowler was safe from the staggering assault. He hit the first three balls he faced from Rashid Khan for sixes over the leg side.
The star legspinner was having a dirty night having earlier dropped Livingstone at long-on. He rarely gets hit for four consecutive sixes by one batsman. Chris Gayle once did it in the IPL; Livingstone tried and perished, holing out to deep midwicket. Inglis was bowled sweeping next ball to change the game in a heartbeat. Rashid bamboozled Turner in his next over to have him caught behind. Rashid's figures went from 0 for 28 after 1.3 overs to 3 for 40 after four and the Scorchers needed 50 runs from 30 balls. They saw off Rashid's final over and tried to target the Strikers' inexperienced quicks, but failed. Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Bancroft, and Cameron Green all holed out while Agar fell to his younger brother, Wes, for the second time this season, strangled down the leg side.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne