Brad Hodge of the Adelaide Strikers.
Brad Hodge of the Adelaide Strikers. DAVID MARIUZ

Strikers off the mark in BBL after downing Sixers

THE Adelaide Strikers closed the door on 2016 with their first victory of the BBL season when they conquered the Sydney Sixers by 48 runs at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Facing a third defeat to start the season after a disappointing effort with the bat when Sixers paceman Sean Abbott bagged 5-16 to restrict the home side to 9-152, the Strikers ripped through the Sixers' batting with a magnificent performance.

Abbott's display was a remarkable contrast to the corresponding game last year when he had an embarrassing 1-57 from 3.3 overs in his side's loss.

"We know we did not take advantage of our batting effort (in the early overs) and could have probably scored a few more runs,” Strikers coach Jason Gillespie told Channel 10.

"We wanted to go out there (in the field) and give it everything and stay in the game.

"We needed to keep putting pressure on the Sixers and make them play good shots, and see where we go.”

Strikers captain Brad Hodge opted to promote himself to the top of the batting order in the expectation Adelaide-based Sixers spinner Johan Botha would open the bowling.

The move proved successful with Hodge and Jake Weatherald blasting 37 runs from 4.2 overs before Weatherald lost his wicket attempting to keep the runs flowing.

Ben Dunk then took to Sixers bowler Doug Bollinger, nailing 17 runs off an over as he teamed with Hodge to add 54 runs from 5.2 overs.

It was then the Abbott redemption show took over when he had Dunk, who struck two sixes and three fours in his 37 runs, caught. Just two overs later Hodge, who turned 42 on Thursday, was caught by Botha off Abbott trying to bag another six.

Travis Head mauled Abbott last year and the paceman could not hide his satisfaction with the next ball when Will Somerville took a spectacular flying catch near the boundary to dismiss the Adelaide left-hander for just seven.

The wickets continued to flow as the Strikers wasted a superb start, Jake Lehmann stretching his lean season into the final day of the year with a duck.

Big-hitting duo Kieron Pollard and England international Chris Jordan were forced to show restraint because of the collapse before hitting out.

Pollard finished with 29 from 20 and Jordan 18 from 19 before becoming Abbott's fourth victim.

The Sixers took the momentum from the field into the batting, charging to 34 runs in four overs before damaging paceman Ben Laughlin claimed the wicket of the dangerous Jason Roy.

Daniel Hughes followed three runs later before Nic Maddinson, coming off Australia's Test victory over Pakistan on Friday, lost his wicket to Head for only two runs.

The wicket rush continued when veteran Brad Haddin stepped on his wicket after pulling Billy Stanlake to square leg, leaving the Sixers 4-44 and under the pump.

And the Sixers were dealt another massive blow just two runs later when Moises Henriques was caught by Pollard on the boundary.

Laughlin finished with the extraordinary T20 figures of 2-10 from four overs, while spinner Liam O'Connor returned 2-12 from three.


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