Adelaide Strikers claimed their first Big Bash League title after defeating Hobart Hurricanes by 25 runs in the final in front of a delighted crowd at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday with opener Jake Weatherald scoring a superb century to earn himself the man-of-the-match award.
Adelaide skipper Travis Head won the toss and opted to bat first on a batting paradise of a pitch and his decision was quickly vindicated as the home side got off to a superb start. Alex Carey’s dismissal on the last ball of the fifth over gave Hobart some respite with the score at 41-1, but it was all one way traffic from there on in.
Skipper Head joined Weatherald out in the middle and the two combined for a 140-run stand that virtually took the game away from Hobart even before the halfway mark. The 23-year-old Weatherald played the best knock of his young career so far, smashing a 70-ball 115 that included a whopping nine fours and eight sixes.
Colin Ingram came in to bat with 10 ball remaining and his six-ball cameo yielded 14 runs; enough to take Adelaide over the 200-run mark and set Hobart 203 to win. Head remained not out on 44 off 29 balls as he expertly rotated the strike.
All of Hurricanes’ bowlers were given the treatment by Adelaide with Thomas Rogers being the most economical bowler with figures of 0-30 in his four overs. Jofra Archer and Daniel Christian were the only two bowlers to take a wicket but both were expensive, going for 46 and 38 runs respectively in their four overs.
Chasing more than 200, Hobart needed to get off to a superb start if they were to have any chance of reaching the score but they lost opener Tim Paine in the very first over to Head.
George Bailey and eventual player of the tournament D'Arcy Short settled the ship a bit but were never able to really accelerate enough to worry Head and Adelaide. The veteran Peter Siddle once again proved impossible to get away and dismissed both Bailey and Short to end all hope of a dramatic chase. Siddle’s bowling was arguably the difference between the two sides as his scarcely believable figures of 3-17 in four overs on a batting haven negated the shellacking a few of the other bowlers received.
Head was understandably ecstatic at the end of the game. "[There have been a] few opportunities in the past that we haven't taken," said Head, according to ESPNcricinfo. "The fans expect us to win and it's nice to repay that faith. Weatherald won us the game with the bat and did fantastically.”
Head also took the opportunity to praise the losing finalists. “To George and Hobart, they've been fantastic,” he said. “Special mention to D'Arcy who's been unbelievable throughout the tournament, so well done. To all the guys, it's fantastic to do it in front of our fans, so well done."
For his part, Bailey too was full of praise for his opponents. “Now is not the time to lament," he said. "The Adelaide Strikers deserve this. Well done.”