Adelaide Strikers, which won five of its last six games to make it to the finals of the Big Bash League 2021-22 and continued that run with a win in the Eliminator against Hobart Hurricanes have moved one step and continued their fairy tale run by defeating Sydney Thunder in the Knockout to advance to the Challenger, just one step short of a place in the title decider.
The Strikers clinched a thriller at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as they defended 14 runs in the last over even as Thunder had more than five of their wickets intact. Chasing a target of 185, the Sydney team tried its best to get as close as possible even as it lost two of its best batters in Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja in the first seven overs itself.
But not losing the plot, Jason Sangha and Alex Ross continued to follow the target at a good rate and reached within the striking distance with a 90 run stand for the third wicket. With 39 required from 23 balls, it was 60-40 in favour of the Thunder when Sangha was dismissed by skipper and Strikers legend Peter Sidlle.
That wicket of Sangha became the turning point in the game as just after that wicket, the newcomer Sams too was removed and the Thunder needed 35 from the last two overs, still very much gettable. However, the 19th over totally shifted the momentum in Strikers’ favours as even in the 18th, 12 runs came and 23 was needed from the last two. In the 19th over, Siddle gave away only nine runs and forced Thunder to get 14 from the last.
The last over was bowled brilliantly by Harry Conway who even after going for four on the second ball, bowled three dot deliveries on a trot, two of which also fetched him crucial wickets of Ross and Ben Cutting, the two men entrusted with the duties to win the game for their team.
Earlier in the evening, after winning the toss and deciding to bat first, the Strikers got off to a flyer, hitting 40 runs in the first four overs only. Even as Alex Carey got out, Matthew Short, the other opener continued his attacking play and added 50 in 37 balls with Ian Cockbain before getting out for 39.
Though Short got out, Cockbain continued his onslaught and it was his innings of 65 off 38 balls that propelled the Strikers to reach 184-6 in their 20 overs.
The Strikers would now face yet another team from Sydney as they play the Sixers in the Challenger on January 26, which will determine the team that will face Perth Scorchers in the final on January 28.
India made some tweaks in the playing XI and brought in Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Jayant Yadav and Suryakumar Yadav in the side against South Africa in the third and final ODI of the series in Cape Town. The changes in the bowling unit did work for the visitors after they bundled out the Proteas for 287 in the final over. While Chahar returned with figures of 2/53, Krishna had three scalps to his name for 59 runs in 9.5 overs. India after winning the toss, asked the hosts to bat and picked up some earlier wickets to reduce them to 34/2. But opener Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram tried to steady the ship for the side with a 36-run stand for the third wicket before Markram departed for 15 of 14. De Kock was then joined by Rassie van der Dussen and the two batters brought the side back in the hunt with a 144-runs stand for the fourth wicket. While the wicket-keeper batsman Quinton went on to score a century during the course, Van der Dussesn notched up a fifty during the course. But de Kock's departure for 124 brought a couple of more wickets to leave South Africa in a spot of bother at 228/6. David Miller and Dwaine Pretorius then took the onus on themselves and chipped in with some valuable runs as the duo stitched a partnership of 44 runs. But the Indian bowlers did break the stand and eventually bowled them out.
South Africa's wicket-keeper batsman Quinton de Kock was once again on a roll against India in the third and final ODI of the series in Cape Town after the left-handed batsman notched up a century during the course. Opening the innings with Janneman Malan, de Kock played in an aggressive manner despite losing wickets around him. The home side was at one stage reduced to 70/3 but a partnership of more than 100 runs for the fourth wicket between the left-hander and Rassie van der Dussen got the side back on track. India stand-in skipper KL Rahul had put South Africa into bat and the Indian bowlers did respond well initially as Deepak Chahar first removed Malan early in the innings while Bavuma was dismissed for a 12-ball 8 after he was run out by KL Rahul when the score read 34. The Proteas opener was then joined by Aiden Markram who became Chahar's second scalp of the innings. Markram and De Kock had put up 36 for the third wicket before the right-hander was undone for 15 off 14. At the time of writing this, de Kock completed 100 runs vs India in ODIs.
South Africa's Janneman Malan has been named as ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year for 2021. In 17 international matches that he played, Malan notched up 715 runs at an average of 47.66 Average and 101.85 strike rate. This also included two tons and three fifties. He unleashed a brilliant show against Ireland in one of the games where he struck 177, a knock that comprised 16 fours and six maximums. "Malan's most memorable knock in 2021 has to be his unbeaten 177 against Ireland. He looked absolutely on song that day and played numerous exquisite shots around the ground. Whether it was a spinner or a pacer, he treated them with equal disdain," the ICC said in a statement. The batter expressed delight on being named the ICC Emerging Player of the year. "It's a privilege to be named as the ICC Emerging Player of the Year. It's an honour to be among all the nominees. I would like to thank my family, my support system, team for the opportunity," he said in a video posted by the ICC. Malan also talked about his favourite innings that came against Sri Lanka. "My favourite innings was against Sri Lanka where I had to 50 overs while I was cramping. It was a big innings for me personally," he added.
The third and final T20I of the Women’s Ashes between hosts Australia and England got washed away leaving both the teams once again with only one point each in their kitty. While the second T20I was washed out after almost five overs of play in the first innings at the Adelaide Oval, in this one, even the Toss could not take place as the rain never stooped pouring down in Adelaide. The first T20I played at the same venue, was won comfortably by the hosts as they chased down a tough total of 170 with much ease courtesy of brilliant innings by Tahlia McGrath who hit unbeaten 91 and built a record 144 run stand with skipper Meg Lanning to chase down the target in only 17 overs. The Ashes would now move to the only Test which would begin from January 27th at Manuka Oval in Canberra. For England, it would be an opportunity to get ahead of the Aussies by winning the Test which contains four points. However, if the Aussies manage to win, they would get an unassailable lead of six points going into the ODI leg of the multi-format series. In case of a draw, the ODIs would gain a lot of importance.