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Rashid rout sparks finals hopes for Strikers

Sport

Rashid Khan has put in a career-best bowling display to propel the Adelaide Strikers to a thumping 71-run Big Bash League triumph over Brisbane.

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The Afghan leg-spinner tore through the Heat batting lineup at the Gabba last night, claiming 6-17 off his four overs including twice being on a hat-trick, as Brisbane were rolled for 90 in reply to Adelaide’s 4-161.

It’s just the third time in BBL history a player has taken six wickets after Lasith Malinga’s 6-7 for Perth in 2012 and Ish Sodhi’s 6-11 for the Strikers in 2017.

The big win sent Adelaide soaring from the bottom of the ladder to above Brisbane into fifth with four matches to play before finals.

It was also a perfect sign off for Khan before he departs to join up with his national team ahead of matches against the Netherlands in Qatar later this month.

“This game, this momentum will give us so much energy for the rest of the games,” the 23-year-old said.

“As a team we had a very tough season this year … that’s the kind of click as a team you need at this stage and once you’re on, you’re just on and on.

“It’s good to finish up well and I wish all the very best for the rest of the guys, they do well and they go to the finals.”

Khan began his rout in the ninth over when he dismissed Sam Heazlett (0) and Jake Lehmann (0) in consecutive deliveries.

His double strike was part of a team hat-trick with Lachlan Pfeffer (23 off 24) run out on the first ball of the over.

Pfeffer’s demise, as well as the quickfire exits of Heazlett and Lehmann, meant Brisbane slumped from 2-62 at the start of the over to 5-62 just three deliveries later.

When English import Ben Duckett (24), who smashed a match-winning 78 runs off just 47 balls when the teams met earlier this summer, bottom-edged a slog sweep onto his stumps off Matthew Short (2-13) two overs later, the hosts were reduced to 6-67.

Khan came back to wrap up the innings in his fourth over, removing Matthew Kuhnemann (1) and compatriot Mujeeb Ur Rahman (0) for his fourth career T20 five-wicket haul.

A spectacular catch at slip by Short off Khan’s final delivery dismissed Liam Guthrie (0) to eclipse his previous best of 5-3 for Afghanistan against Ireland in what was his 300th T20 appearance.

“As soon as I have seen the wicket and bowled a few balls I was like, this wicket is good, as long as I’m pitching it in the right area I can make the batsman in trouble and give me a few wickets,” he said.

“That’s what happened.”

The Heat welcomed back six players following a COVID outbreak in the squad but it was to no avail as they slipped to their eighth defeat of the summer.

Xavier Bartlett was one of those to return and while the big quick conceded a lack of preparation didn’t help the hosts, he also acknowledged Khan’s dominance.

“He’s the best T20 bowler in the world for a reason and we saw it firsthand tonight,” Bartlett said.

“When he gets one he more often than not gets two … he’s awesome.”

The Strikers host table-topping Perth on Friday in Adelaide while Brisbane hit the road to face the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Sunday.

 – AAP 

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