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Epic finish books home final for Strikers


Jake Lehmann has belted a six over long-off from the final ball of the match to secure Adelaide Strikers a nail-biting BBL win over Hobart Hurricanes.

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Chasing a modest 144 for victory at Adelaide Oval last night, the Strikers needed four to win from Simon Milenko’s last ball and the son of the Australian coach – who was facing his first ball in not merely the game but the entire BBL competition – calmly delivered.

The six-wicket triumph, in front of another bumper sell-out crowd of 49,000, booked Adelaide a home semi-final and ensured the Hurricanes were rubbed out of finals contention.

Strikers opener Tim Ludeman (57 not out) top-scored for the home side, while skipper Brad Hodge (28) impressed until he was dismissed by a lethal yorker from Shaun Tait, who reached 155km/h during a fiery spell.

Milenko was the best of the Hurricanes’ bowlers with 3-25 but couldn’t deliver his side the win they craved to stay in the playoff hunt.

The Hurricanes, who won the toss and elected to bat, made a promising start but crumbled under sustained pressure.

England legspinner Adil Rashid (2-16) delivered again to take his wicket tally for the tournament to 14.

The crafty spinner’s tight spell peaked with a magnificent wrong’un which ripped through the defence of a hapless Jon Wells.

Hobart skipper Tim Paine (45) set the tone early with an array of aggressive strokes but was run out just short of his half-century.

Hill (32 off 21 balls) pushed the run rate along but the Hurricanes capitulated, with Michael Neser claiming 3-26 and fellow pacemen Greg West (2-24) and Ben Laughlin (2-31) effective.

Strikers coach Jason Gillespie said his batsmen had looked too comfortable at times.

“We certainly feel we nearly made a meal of that,” he said.

“With the batting, there was an overriding feeling we left ourselves with too much to do. We needed to shut the game down a lot earlier.”

West, who impressed on debut, paid tribute to Lehmann’s match-winning heroics.

“I had 100 per cent faith in him when he went out,” he said.

“He wasn’t nervous, he was good to go… there were little lulls in the game which we can work on but we still got the win at the end of the day.”

Social media – and the Channel Ten switchboard – went into meltdown when the network in Adelaide inexplicably cut to an informercial for massage chairs before returning to a repeat of an earlier Strikers win, only returning to the live coverage for the final ball.

-with AAP

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