Ben McDermott smashed 110 not-out from just 60 balls in a 176 chase as the revived Hobart Hurricanes notched consecutive wins
Hobart Hurricanes 3 for 176 (McDermott 110*, Short 37, Garton 1-30, Rashid 1-30) beat Adelaide Strikers 5 for 175 (Renshaw 63, Weatherald 41, Meredith 3-37) by 7 wickets
The recently promoted opener, who had started the season slowly at No. 4, thwarted Strikers’ star spin tandem of Rashid Khan and Fawad Ahmed to lead Hurricanes’ overhaul of the 176 target with nine balls to spare.
McDermott is relishing his new role
McDermott’s recent elevation to partner Matthew Wade has been a master stroke for Hurricanes. He took the aerial route in the powerplay to get Hurricanes off to a fast start even though they lost Wade for just six.
Short has started to show a liking to No. 3 as he slowly rediscovers his best form underlined by smashing a pull shot out of the ground. Just when the pair were taking control, Short fell to a superb yorker from Perter Siddle although the batter felt aggrieved with the lbw decision.
McDermott, however, remained unruffled and continued to toy with Fawad as he once again smashed the spinner to his sweet spot down the ground. The 16th over loomed as defining, with Rashid bowling his final over but McDermott continued his merry way with a six although the Afghan star claimed the wicket of Harry Brook.
McDermott never gave Strikers a sniff and he effectively sealed the game when he clubbed three boundaries off Siddle in the 18th over. He then reached a deserved century with a six in the penultimate over as he became the first player with two centuries in BBL chases.
Wounded Strikers have no answers
Strikers had to guts it out with quicks Siddle and Wes Agar both injuring their fingers while bowling. With Fawad nullified by McDermott, the burden fell on Rashid who also could not weave his magic against the rampaging batter.
Strikers have a strong bowling attack although will be sweating on the fitness of Agar, who suffered a dislocated finger, and the indefatigable Siddle, who looked in anguish throughout after dropping a tough return chance off Short.
With teams being cautious against Rashid, Strikers need other bowlers to step up, otherwise their season will be quickly a lost cause.
Meredith is Hurricanes’ bowling talisman
Hurricanes did a serviceable job to restrict Strikers’ batters on a belter of a pitch. Their attack has looked far more potent with the inclusion of speedster Riley Meredith.
After returning from a hamstring injury and bowling just one over in his season debut against Perth Scorchers, Meredith claimed three wickets in Hurricanes’ win over Melbourne Stars and backed that up with another trio of scalps against Strikers.
The 25-year-old, who has played five T20Is for Australia this year, bowled with trademark fire but mixed things up nicely by taking the pace off the ball – a skill he has sharpened this season.
Amid a strong attack, Meredith looms as its talisman as he proved with the key scalps of Jake Weatherald and Matthew Renshaw in a momentum-shifting 15th over.
He was occasionally wayward and predictable but Meredith’s impact has already been pronounced.
Renshaw and Weatherald provide silver linings
Strikers are in a rut but Weatherald’s return to form and the belligerence of Renshaw, who had looked one-paced in his previous two games, are desperately needed tonics.
Renshaw mixed orthodox shots with inventiveness in the most commanding knock by a Strikers batter this season. His fluency seemed to spark Weatherald, who had only mustered 53 runs from his previous five innings. The pair combined in a century stand as Strikers laid their best platform of the season until their departures triggered fears of another collapse.
But impressive youngster Thomas Kelly continued his breakout season with an 18-ball 28 as Strikers conjured their highest total of the season, though it ultimately proved insufficient.
Strikers appear short of firepower underlined by hitting just one six on the small Blundstone Arena and they are running out of time to resurrect their season.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth and writes on sports for the Guardian and mailerreport