Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne
Adelaide Strikers 5 for 147 (Weatherald 68*, Carey 55, Faulkner 2-35) beat Hobart Hurricanes 146 (McDermott 46, Ingram 46, Siddle 5-16) by five wickets
It was Siddle's first five-wicket haul in T20s on a night of firsts for the BBL with both sides using the X-Factor substitute for the first time in the tournament, eight games in.
Siddle did his damage late in the innings after burgling D'Arcy Short down the legside in the powerplay. His outstanding mix of slower balls and yorkers completely deceived the Hurricanes middle order and destroyed any chance of a late surge to post a competitive total.
Weatherald and Carey were then re-united at 2 for 9 in the chase after two early James Faulkner strikes, and plundered their third-century stand against the Hurricanes. Carey set the tone with 55 off 40 while Weatherald finished the job guiding his side home with 68 not out off 48.
In the first seven games of the tournament, the new X-Factor substitute rule was not used at all with most teams thinking it won't be needed. But the circumstances of the first ten overs in Launceston forced the hand of both sides. The ball nipped and swung from the first over for the Strikers quicks and the Hurricanes crumbled to be 3 for 20 after the powerplay with Will Jacks, D'Arcy Short and Peter Handscomb all back in the pavilion. The Strikers tried to hurry through two overs of spin in the first ten overs and Ben McDermott and Colin Ingram mauled them taking a combined 26 runs from the overs of Matt Renshaw and Danny Briggs with the ball hardly spinning, and sliding onto the bat beautifully. With the Hurricanes 3 for 70, both sides used their X-Factors in the same manner, subbing out spinners for batsmen. Briggs suffered the ignominy of being removed from the game with the figures of 1-0-0-15 with Matt Short replacing him. Johan Botha didn't even set foot on the ground as he was subbed for the Hurricanes batsman Macalister Wright.
Siddle rolled back the clock with a destructive display of death bowling and exposed the Hurricanes tactics in the process. McDermott fell at a critical time in the 12th over having done an outstanding job to get the Hurricanes out of a hole. He and Ingram were poised to take the Power Surge but he popped a leading edge to cover off Rashid Khan for 46 from 33. The Hurricanes then sent the X-Factor Wright ahead of Tim David, who had been Man of the Match against the Sydney Sixers with a devastating display in the last ten overs. Hurricanes coach Adam Griffith told Channel Seven they wanted to hold David back. They held David and the Surge back too long.
Siddle came back in the 18th over and the Strikers skipper Carey assumed the Surge was taken, when it hadn't been, and brought the field up. Wright was bowled by Siddle. Carey clarified with the umpires and spread the field again. Three balls later, Faulkner holed out and David was left with too much to do without much support as the Surge was left to the final two overs. Nathan Ellis was run out by a superb Renshaw direct hit from the boundary. Then Siddle produced his best in the last. He came around the wicket to David with no one back on the off-side, predicted David would back away and cramped him for room with a short slower ball and David chopped on. He clean-bowled Riley Meredith next ball with a searing yorker to claim his first five-wicket haul in T20 cricket.
Faulkner fires up
Faulkner produced an outstanding opening over. Phil Salt was intent on assaulting him verbally and with bat in hand. He clubbed the first ball for four but Faulkner had the last laugh swinging one through the gate as Salt attempted another wild slog. He was a little fortunate to get Renshaw. Faulkner first forced a leading-edge that perhaps deserved to find a fielder. But his worst ball of the over, a half volley on leg stump did find a fielder with Renshaw picking out deep square leg to leave the Strikers 2 for 9.
Dynamic duo haunt Hurricanes
Weatherald and Carey were the key to the Strikers title in BBL 07 as a prolific opening duo. They previously had scored two century stands against the Hurricanes. But Carey has moved to No. 4 due to his international ambition. They were reunited at 2 for 9 in the second over and it was like the band had never broken up. Carey struck the ball crisply while Weatherald worked through the difficult new-ball conditions placing balls into gaps. The pair cruised to the Bash Boost without too many risks. Carey breezed to his half-century and their third-century stand came and went. The Hurricanes rarely attacked Carey from around the wicket until Boland came on in the 14th. Carey was cramped for room trying to pull and was caught at square leg. But the damage was done. Weatherald accelerated past a half-century and guided the side home with eight balls despite a couple of late wickets.
Peter Siddle's five-for, Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey's half-centuries give Adelaide Strikers easy win
The game also saw both sides using the X-Factor substitute for the first time in the tournament
Danny Briggs and Johan Botha first players subbed out under BBL X-factor rule
Adelaide Strikers brought in Matt Short and Hobart Hurricanes opted for Mac Wright