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A bizarre injury, a thrilling finish - but it's all over for Strikers

Cricket

The Adelaide Strikers’ season is effectively over after a nailbiting homeground defeat last night, but the talking point of the BBL showdown was a bizarre facial injury to Melbourne Renegades wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.

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Chasing 172 to win, the Strikers made 8-165 to slide to their fifth loss in seven games – they now can’t reach the finals.

Gloveman Nevill was helped from Adelaide Oval with what was initially suspected to be a fractured cheekbone after being struck by a bat handle.

Nevill was standing well back from the stumps when Strikers captain Brad Hodge swung heartily at a leg-side ball – he connected with the ball but his bat slipped from his hands and flew towards Nevill.

The ‘keeper was watching the path of the ball into the outfield when the handle of Hodge’s bat struck him in the right cheekbone.

Nevill was floored by the contact and then assisted from the field with noticeable facial swelling, before the Renegades closed out a victory to kept their own dim finals hopes alive.

Nevill was taken to hospital for X-rays and was today ruled out for the remainder of the the Big Bash League with a burst blood vessel in his cheek.

His teammate Callum Ferguson said: “I have never seen anything like it. That was staggering.”

Peter Nevill of the Melbourne Renegades is helped of the field during the BBL T20 match between the Adelaide Strikers and the Melbourne Renegades at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. (AAP Image/David Mariuz) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FROM AAP

Nevill is helped from the field. Photo: David Mariuz / AAP

Hodge said he had swapped to new batting gloves the ball prior to the incident.

“If you have brand new gloves they have got like this powdery feel to it and it (the bat) just slipped straight out of my hands,” Hodge said.

“I tried to grab it and hold onto it – if I had of just let it go it probably would have gone out to square leg, but I sort of just tugged it round and it [hit] him right in the side of the jaw.”

Hodge, who turned 42 on December 29 last year, will fall out of contract with the Strikers when their current campaign ends tomorrow night, and while Adelaide can’t reach this season’s finals under his captaincy he’s adamant he’ll play in the next BBL edition.

“I am going to play. Where that’s at, who knows, we will just have to wait and see,” Hodge said after the match.

“I would like to stay here. This is a great place to play cricket and I feel I contribute well and teach the guys how to get better.

“And there would be guys who learn from this experience.

“Over the past couple of years I have really helped a few people like Travis Head, Alex Ross and there’s a few more that are going to come through and we need to teach. That aspect of it is really cool.

“But who knows where you end up. I must say, I’m out of contract, so we’ll see.”

Hodge is currently the fourth-highest run-scorer in this BBL season with 247 runs at an average of 41.16 and strikerate of 133.

“I feel like I’m contributing well … I think I have played pretty well this year,” he said.

“I love it. This is what sport is all about – get in the moment and try and do what you do best.

“For me, I’m pretty happy with what I have achieved so far personally, but disappointing not to lead a side into a final.

“Who knows what the future holds? I still didn’t think I would play on again this year, I was only ever going to play on if I had a good season so I have ticked that box.

“So what happens next year, where I end up, is a different matter.”

The Renegades, meanwhile, must beat second-placed Brisbane Heat on Friday night in Brisbane and hope other results fall their way to reach the play-offs.

Aaron Finch’s side posted 9-171 against the Strikers at Adelaide Oval, a total underpinned by a superb knock by opener Marcus Harris, who blasted 85 from 53 balls.

Harris crunched six fours and four sixes in his knock with cameo support from Ferguson (26) and Finch (19), who fell to a stunning outfield catch.

Finch was caught by Adelaide’s Ben Laughlin, who ran 25 metres with the flight of the ball before diving, full-stretch, to complete the dismissal.

Laughlin was also the pick of Adelaide’s bowlers, taking 2-15 from four miserly overs while Kieron Pollard claimed 3-30.

But Adelaide’s run chase faltered after openers Ben Dunk (32 from 25 balls) and Tim Ludeman (29 from 22 deliveries) were dismissed.

The Strikers were off the pace at 2-64 in the ninth over before Pollard (22) and Hodge (26) tried to steal momentum, only to fall short despite a late flurry from Jono Dean (21 from nine balls).

-AAP

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