Alex Hales hit a quickfire 49 at the weekend. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au/News Limited
You couldn’t take much out of Adelaide’s opening Big Bash which ended in a damp squib in Hobart. The game did provide two main things, though; firstly, a second opportunity to see why Englishman Alex Hales is rated the best T20 batsman in the world; and secondly, it gave cricket writers a chance to use an abundance of weather-related clichés in stories. The Hales storm hit the Tasmanian capital with some force as nine 4s and one 6 rained down on Blundstone Arena in his devastating inning of 49 off just 19 balls. If he hadn’t been run out on that score, he would undoubtedly have broken the record for the fastest fifty in the competition.
Last season Aaron Finch drove the Melbourne Renegades all the way to a home final with his big hitting at the top of the order, and if Hales gets on a roll this summer then he could do the same for the Strikers. One-paced opener Michael Klinger built plenty of solid foundations last season and he looked good in his short stint at the crease against Hobart. With the likes of Phillip Hughes , Callum Ferguson and Nathan Reardon in the middle order, the Strikers have a good mix of power players and workers of the ball.
Taking in to account the no result in Tassie, the Strikers have lost three of their last four matches. That’s nothing in comparison with Sydney Thunder , which was consigned to its 14th straight loss on Saturday night when it failed, once again, to topple fellow Harbour City side the Sixers. Test opener David Warner and former international Usman Khawaja got Thunder off to a flyer putting on a 116-run stand but the bad news is the men in green won’t have either on board for this clash. While Warner is likely to be on Australian duty for the rest of the tournament, Khawaja will definitely miss this match due to a hamstring injury. He was the team’s leading run-scorer last season and it heaps the pressure on skipper Mike Hussey and super-talented Irishman turned England representative Eoin Morgan .
The Strikers were the last outfit Thunder beat in this competition, but the fact its score of 166 against the Sixers was its highest in any Big Bash match says where this team’s problems lie. Last time they met, lanky left-armer Dirk Nannes was outstanding picking up 4/17 on the lifeless Homebush pitch, but his teammates couldn’t get the job done with the bat as Adelaide speedsters Shaun Tait and Kane Richardson both picked up three wickets.
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