The Adelaide Strikers match against top side Melbourne Stars tomorrow night takes on added weight after the Perth Scorchers beat the Hobart Hurricanes last night.
Nathan Coulter-Nile gave the Scorchers a parting gift with a match-winning performance in their six-run Big Bash League triumph.
In reply to the Scorchers’ 7-153, the Hurricanes were cruising at 3-133, with Shoaib Malik (26) and Owais Shah (32) seemingly in control in front of 15,355 fans at the WACA.
But with Hobart needing 16 runs off the final two overs, Coulter-Nile turned the match Perth’s way with the wickets of Shah and Ben Laughlin in an over that cost just two runs.
Scorchers import Yasir Arafat was left with the important task of bowling the last over.
And the Pakistan paceman didn’t disappoint, conceding just seven runs when Hobart needed 14 for victory.
However, it was Coulter-Nile who was the true hero of the night, with the star all-rounder finishing with 3-15 off four overs to secure the man-of-the-match award.
Coulter-Nile will now link up with Australia’s one-day squad for their series against England.
The result left Hobart with just one win from four matches, while the Scorchers improved to 3-2.
Adelaide has two wins and a draw from its four matches and a win against Melbourne will pitch it into second spot and clear of other contenders.
Although the Scorchers were jubilant in victory, their running between wickets almost cost them dearly earlier in the night as they limped to 7-153.
Shaun Marsh (40 off 32) and Simon Katich (22) got the Scorchers off to a solid start with a 60-run opening stand.
But the run-outs of Katich, Adam Voges (2) and Craig Simmons (8) saw the Scorchers stumble to 4-89 in the 14th over.
“I probably burned him,” Shaun Marsh said of the communication mix-up that resulted in the run-out of Katich.
“It’s disappointing. We got off to a good start and then lost our way after those run-outs.”
All three run-outs were by wide margins, but handy knocks by Mitch Marsh (33) and Ashton Turner (32no) lifted the Scorchers to a competitive total.
Sam Whiteman became the fourth run-out when he attempted a suicide second run on the final ball of the innings.
The four run-outs equalled the record number for an innings in the BBL.
Hurricanes pacemen Doug Bollinger (1-23) and Ben Hilfenhaus (1-27) performed strongly with the ball, but Pakistan spinner Shoaib Malik (0-37) and Ben Laughlin (1-40) copped some punishment.
Coulter-Nile paid tribute to Arafat, who snared the vital wicket of Malik in the 18th over.
“If he doesn’t get that pole (Malik) then there’s two set batsmen and it gets a lot harder,” Coulter-Nile said.
“It was a fantastic win.
“I didn’t think we were going to get there at the 16th over, but Yas bowled a fantastic over and we got back in it.”
The Scorchers will also lose Shaun Marsh to international duties, but hope to regain paceman Alfonso Thomas (back) for Friday night’s clash with the Sydney Sixers at the SCG.
Team P W L NR Pts NRR
Stars 4 4 – – – 8 2.520
Scorchers 5 3 2 – – 6 0.051
Sixers 4 3 1 – – 6 -0.654
Strikers 4 2 1 1 – 5 0.191
Renegades 5 2 3 – – 4 -0.068
Hurricanes 4 1 2 1 – 3 -0.846
Heat 4 1 3 – – 2 -0.803
Thunder 4 – 4 – – 0 -0.478
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