Despite his Adelaide Strikers suffering a two-wicket defeat to Sydney Sixers at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, Rashid Khan stole the headlines with a brilliant hat-trick.
After the Strikers made 137 for 8 – with Phil Salt – scoring nine from ten balls – the Sixers were looking reasonably comfortable at 79 for 3 with James Vince going nicely with 27 from 19 balls.
But Rashid then ripped one away from the England batsman’s defensive shot, taking a big knick into Sussex alumnus Alex Carey’s gloves.
A googly then trapped Jack Edwards in front leaving Rashid on a hat-trick with the first ball of his final over.
Billy Stanlake ramped up the pressure on the Sixers’ batsmen by giving away just two runs from the intervening over, leaving Jordan Silk – well-established with a run-a-ball 16- to face Rashid.
It was clear that Silk’s plan was to just see off Rashid without further damage, but sometimes a bowler is just too special. Another googly that beat the batman’s defence and took the top of middle stump to give Sussex Sharks’ overseas star the third hat-trick of his T20 career.
Rashid’s earlier dismissal of the Sixers’ captain Daniel Hughes meant that the leg-spinner finished with wonderful figures of 4 for 22 from his allocation.
That left the Sixers on 85 for 6 at the end of the 13th over and the Strikers well in the game. Some intelligent batting from Tom Curran and a few lusty blows from Josh Hazlewood saw the visitors take the spoils in the 19th over.
That was the Strikers third defeat in a row and the team’s strong start to the competition was fading from memory fast.
The side stopped the rot on Sunday afternoon, however, with a comprehensive 63-run win over winless defending champions Melbourne Renegades at the Adelaide Oval.
Phil and Rashid were joined by another of Sussex’s overseas players for the coming season Travis Head who was back from international duty.
After the Strikers had won the toss and elected to bat, Phil helped the side get off to a flyer by making 18 from 12 balls. He and Jake Weatherald put on 40 for the first wicket in just 3.2 overs.
When Phil was dismissed by Rashid’s international teammate Mohammad Nabi, he was replaced at the crease by Travis who chipped in with a useful 22 from 20 balls.
Rashid came in to face the final ball of the innings and scored two from it to leave the Strikers defending a respectable 173 for 6.
Resurrecting a formula that had worked well for the Strikers in previous editions of the BBL, off-spinner Travis bowled the first over of the Renegades’ reply. It was a move that paid off as fellow Aussie international Marcus Harris lost his off-stump with Travis’ fifth delivery.
He returned in the tenth over and struck again, this time bowling Shaun Marsh to end a dangerous 50-run partnership and leave the Renegades 60 for 3 and needing
The Renegades then fell apart completely, losing their last seven wickets for 50 runs to hand victory to the home side inside the 18th over.
Rashid was superb again, taking 2 for 19 from his four overs, while Travis finished with 2 for 26.
After eight matches, the Strikers are fourth in the table. They have six matches remaining to secure a place in the top five and make it into the play-offs.
This week they take on Brisbane Heat in away and home fixtures on Tuesday and Friday respectively, before a trip to Tasmania to play Hobart Hurricanes on Sunday.
Elsewhere in the Big Bash, Chris Jordan played all three of Perth Scorchers’ matches since the last Winter Watch
CJ had a difficult evening on Tuesday against the Renegades at Geelong, bowling four wicketless overs for 43 runs. There was the consolation however of a catch and a comfortable six-wicket win for his side.
The Scorchers followed that up with another win at the Optus Stadium on Saturday as Brisbane Heat were condemned to a 34-run defeat.
CJ conceded 44 runs from his four overs, but the Scorchers had runs to play with having made a huge 213 for 3 batting first on a wicket to give bowlers nightmares.
That allowed CJ to bowl aggressively and that plan was rewarded with the key wickets of Chris Lynn and Joe Burns. In the end, the Heat could only make 179 for 8 from their 20 overs.
Earlier this morning, the Scorchers continued their winning run with a crushing 77-run away victory over Hobart Hurricanes.
Batting first, the Scorchers made 175 for 7 with CJ – having scored one from three deliveries - selflessly scarifying himself in search for bonus runs at the end of the innings.
CJ was only required to bowl two overs as the Hurricanes were dismissed for just 98 with the best part of three overs remaining. He picked up 1 for 16 with Simon Milenko bowled by a trademark leg-stump yorker.
CJ also took the catch that dismissed the Hurricanes’ top-scorer, George Bailey who made 36.
The Scorchers have five games left in the regular season and are well placed in third in the table. The remainder of this week sees the side play home and away games against Melbourne Stars on Wednesday and Saturday respectively.
Ravi Bopara continued his Bangladesh Premier League campaign with Rajshahi Royals last week.
On Tuesday, they suffered a seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Chattogram Challengers at Dhaka. Ravi made a run-a-ball four as the Royals scored 166 for 8 batting first. His three overs during the Challengers’ chase cost 27 runs.
Four days later, the Royals got their revenge, inflicting an eight-wicket defeat as they met the Challengers at the same venue again. Ravi was not required with either bat or ball.
That victory ensured that the Royals finished second in the table and secured a place in the 1st qualifier that will take place later today (Monday). The winner of that match will go straight into finals Friday, while the loser will have a second chance to do the same when they take on Chattogram Challengers in Wednesday’s 2nd qualifier.
Back in Australia, Victorian Premier Cricket resumed after the festive break and Luke Wells was in one-day action for his Casey-South Melbourne team against Footscray.
In a match reduced to 32 overs-a-side, Luke impressed with the ball. He took 3 for 26 with his leg-spin as Footscray reached 171 for 7 batting first. Luke also took a catch.
Luke made 23 off 29 balls at the top of the order to get his side off to a good start in their chase. They ultimately fell 19 runs short of victory, however.
Casey-South Melbourne are in 50-over action again next weekend, away at Monash Tigers. Luke’s team are currently 12th of 18 sides in the Men’s Premier Firsts competition.
Tom Clark played in England’s first warm-up match ahead of the ICC Under-19 World Cup on Sunday. Opponents Zimbabwe were dispatched for 116 inside 32 overs and England had just started their chase when the most torrential rain imaginable saw the match abandoned.
England will have another warm-up opportunity against Afghanistan on Tuesday before the tournament proper begins on Friday. England’s will play their opening match against West Indies at Kimberley next Monday.