Sydney Sixers’ import Michael Lumb braved rain and a thundering Shaun Tait to crack a lightning half-century and inflict the Adelaide Strikers’ first loss of the Big Bash League on Sunday night.
Set 150 to win, Lumb’s 54 from 41 balls helped the Sixers to 4-150 and a six-wicket victory with five balls to spare at Adelaide Oval.
The Englishman survived a frightening blow from Adelaide tearaway Tait’s first ball – a bouncer struck the left-hander on the helmet, which broke but saved Lumb from serious damage.
After a concerned Tait checked on his welfare, the 33-year-old Lumb continued unfazed and guided the Sydneysiders to their third win from four games, and second spot on the BBL ladder.
Lumb smacked five sixes – including three in one Adam Zampa over – in his game-breaking knock.
He registered his half-century from just 35 deliveries, many faced in rain which fell throughout the Sixers’ innings but didn’t prompt umpires to send players from the field.
While Lumb played the starring role, a support cast including Marcus North (38 from 30 deliveries) and Moises Henriques (26 from 18 balls) produced valuable cameos.
The Sixers’ successful run chase came after Adelaide’s batsmen struggled to post 7-149.
Adelaide crashed to 4-32 in the eighth over, and could only muster three fours in the initial nine overs.
And they had to wait until the last ball of the 14th over for their first six – struck by Bangladeshi debutant Shakib Al Hassan.
Al Hassan top-scored with 46 from 30 balls and, with Nathan Reardon (43 from 29 balls) rescued the Strikers. The pair put on 80 runs from 8.2 overs for the fifth wicket.
But the Sixers, with paceman Josh Hazlewood taking 3-16 from four overs, controlled the rest of Adelaide’s batting line-up.
And the visitor’s run chase, despite Al Hassan completing an impressive all-round debut with 2-21 from four overs, was always on track because of Lumb’s hitting.
Sixers batsman North said the win, coming after another road victory in Brisbane, was invaluable.
“The last two games have been an extremely important stage of our competition,” North said.
“To get two away wins against the Heat in Queensland and then to come here to Adelaide, and beat a very organised side in the Strikers, is certainly going to go a long way to setting up our campaign now.”
Adelaide’s Phil Hughes, who was acting captain in the absence of injured regular skipper Johan Botha, said the Strikers simply didn’t make enough runs.
“It was a bit of a slow start for us, to be 4-40, it’s quite tough from that position to come back,” Hughes said.
“We were probably 15 runs short.”