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45th Match (N), Coffs Harbour, January 17, 2023, Big Bash League
(19/20 ov, T:204) 144

Sixers won by 59 runs


Smith smashes first BBL ton as Sixers rout Strikers

Sixers win their fourth straight match and remain locked in a battle with Scorchers for the top position

Steven Smith brought up a 56-ball century  •  Getty Images

Steven Smith brought up a 56-ball century  •  Getty Images

Sydney Sixers 203 for 5 (Smith 101, Patterson 43, Agar 2-48) beat Adelaide Strikers 144 all out (Carey 54, Dwarshuis 3-28) by 59 runs
Steve Smith smashed his first BBL century to power in-form Sydney Sixers to a comfortable 59-run victory over Adelaide Strikers in Coffs Harbour.
After Sixers were sent in, Smith starred at the top of the order and relished the short boundaries in a blistering knock of 101 off 56 balls.
He dominated a 149-run second-wicket partnership with Kurtis Patterson in the highest stand this BBL season, as Sixers finished with a huge total that proved well beyond Strikers.
Sixers won their fourth straight match and remain locked in a battle with arch-rival Perth Scorchers for the BBL's top position, while Strikers are mired mid-table.

Smith cashes in on good fortune

In his much-anticipated BBL return against Scorchers, Smith showed glimpses of his best at the top of the order before falling for 36.
Against Strikers, in typically fidgety fashion, Smith lived dangerously early in his innings and was lucky to have survived on two.
Attempting to defend a length delivery from quick Harry Conway, the ball rolled back and hit the stumps but failed to dislodge the bails much to the exasperation of the bowler.
Conway's mood soured further when Smith on the next delivery smashed a six. It was clearly going to be Smith's night after he edged a delivery from quick Henry Thornton that bounced in front of wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Smith then cashed in with furious big-hitting that went against his type and motored past his previous highest BBL score of 66.
He also unleashed ramps and reverse sweeps, as Smith reached his ton in style with his seventh six.
But he was run out in the next over after losing his footing scrambling back to his crease following skipper Moises Henriques' refusal for a second run.
Smith became the first-ever centurion for Sixers to end a long-time jinx for the three-time BBL champions.
His only previous T20 ton was in the IPL in 2016, as Smith continued to showcase his greater freedom following his much-discussed technical refinement.
It was also a statement to national selectors after Smith was on the outer during the recent T20 World Cup.

Thornton's tough run continues

After such a blistering start to the season, marked by a remarkable 5 for 3 against Sydney Thunder, Thornton has thudded back to earth and been in and out of the line-up recently.
He was recalled with veteran quick Peter Siddle sidelined with a back injury as Thornton eyed an improved performance. He started well in the third over by conjuring swing to revive memories of his early season heroics.
But it was downhill from there, with Thornton leaking 13 runs in the 18th over to finish with 0 for 28 from three overs.
It was perhaps instructive that Thornton did not bowl his full four overs with confidence in him seemingly wavering as he struggled to carve out a permanent position in the team.

Murphy shines with career-best haul

There has been a lot of interest in emerging offspinner Todd Murphy, who was a bolter in Australia's Test squad for their upcoming tour of India.
He opened the bowling and faced a tough task against Travis Head and BBL leading scorer Matt Short, who smashed a six on the fourth delivery.
Renowned for his competitiveness and maturity belying his age, Murphy bounced back when he returned in the seventh over with the key wicket of Short.
He also claimed the wickets of Adam Hose and Ben Manenti - aided by a terrific diving catch from Henriques - to finish with BBL career-best figures of 3 for 35 from four overs.

Carey hits crisp half-century in vain

With wickets falling regularly, Strikers' faint chances rested on Carey, who made just two against Brisbane Heat in his BBL season debut.
Carey looked in crisp touch and was particularly savage on short-pitched bowling. With Strikers' required run-rate escalating, he put the foot down during the power surge with a calculated leg-side assault on quick Sean Abbott.
Carey reached an impressive half-century off just 32 balls, but was shortly after bowled by seamer Ben Dwarshuis to effectively end Strikers' chances.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

Win Probability
SS 100%
100%50%100%SS InningsAS Innings

Over 19 • AS 144/10

Harry Conway b Abbott 3 (6b 0x4 0x6 ) SR: 50
Sixers won by 59 runs
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