Adelaide Strikers 6 for 155 (Wells 73, Short 33, Hinchcliffe 2-21) beat Melbourne Stars 8 for 132 (Cartwright 49, Burns 25, Thornton 4-26) by 23 runs

The resurgent Adelaide Strikers are looming as a BBL finals darkhorse after leaping to fourth place on the points table with a comfortable 23-run win over Melbourne Stars at Adelaide Oval. After posting 6 for 155, Strikers banked their third successive victory when their attack, spearheaded by Henry Thornton (4 for 26), restricted the Stars to 8 for 132.

Only a late assault from Hilton Cartwright (49) prevented a landslide defeat for Stars, who got off to a flier before being strangled in the middle overs.

Glenn Maxwell (16) signalled his intentions early, slog-sweeping Matt Short for six off the first delivery he faced. The Stars skipper should have been on his bike reverse-sweeping later that over when Fawad Ahmed grassed a regulation catch at backward point. The damage wasn't too serious though, and Strikers were relieved when Maxwell's cameo ended via a 147kph thunderbolt from Thornton, triggering a 4 for 16 collapse.

Fawad redeemed himself when he was introduced in the powerplay, and enticed Marcus Stoinis to edge one to Short at first slip. Thornton then picked up his second scalp when Harry Nielsen snaffled a one-handed, diving catch to dismiss Beau Webster and have Stars reeling at 4 for 37, leaving too much ground for Cartwright and Joe Burns to recover.

Cartwright thumped Fawad for 24 in the 17th over - including three sixes - to give his side a faint sniff. But the power-hitting counterattack came too late, and Stars' slender hopes ended when Cartwright was caught by Short in the deep off the impressive Thornton.

Earlier, Jonathan Wells stroked a career-best 73 to move to second place behind Ben McDermott on the competition's run-scoring leaderboard. Short thumped a brisk 33 at the top but the home side's batters were largely reigned in before Wells went big late.

English import Ian Cockbain was stumped when he was deceived by a Hinchliffe wrong 'un on 17. Jake Weatherald battled for his 17, his scratchy, sluggish knock in contrast to Wells' clean ball striking.

Wells was measured early before exploding from the moment the Strikers took the power surge in the 15th over. Wells dominated a 61-run fourth-wicket stand and crunched 40 of Strikers' 50 runs from the last five overs to steal momentum back from the Stars.