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Strikers' trump card stands in Melbourne's way


Melbourne Renegades captain Cameron White has no doubt who the Adelaide Strikers’ key man will be in their BBL semi-final.

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White has identified Strikers legspinner Rashid Khan as a potential trump card in tonight’s Adelaide Oval fixture.

The winner will meet the Hobart Hurricanes in Sunday’s final after the Tasmanians thrashed the Perth Scorchers in last night’s first semi-final.

But even if the Strikers advance, Rashid won’t be available – he’s been summoned to national duties for Afghanistan.

The 19-year-old tweaker has been a revelation in his first BBL campaign, taking 17 wickets at an average of 13 – no bowler has claimed more victims.

But White says at least he and his Renegades teammates had a look at Rashid when the teams met on January 22 in Melbourne and the Afghani took 2-26 in an Adelaide win.

“That is one good thing about playing in the round games – you get a bit of a look,” White said.

“And you get all the data and all that analytical stuff about where you would be able to score best and how to go about it.

“Getting a look at him the other night, I think only a couple of us had faced him before. I know it was my first time.

“Hopefully, we will play him a bit better this time around but, no doubt, he’s their key.”

Rashid has also been miserly while collecting wickets, conceding an average of 5.52 runs an over.

And White said each Renegade batsman would have his own plans to score off the leggie.

“Most of the data suggests the sweep shot,” he said.

“But it’s really up to the individual. Everyone’s scoring areas are different.

“You have to weigh up the conditions, whether it’s spinning, whether it’s sliding on – everyone will have a bit of a different plan.”

The Strikers will welcome back captain Travis Head for tonight’s game.

Head expected to miss the BBL match after being selected in Australia’s Twenty20 squad.

The Australians play New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday in the opening game of the tri-series also involving England.

But Head has now been permitted to play in the BBL semi-final before flying to Sydney on Saturday to join the Australian squad.

His Strikers teammates Alex Carey and Billy Stanlake won’t play in the BBL semi due to their selection in the Australian squad.

Whoever makes it through tonight’s semi will encounter a red-hot Hurricanes outfit in the final.

In Perth last night, Matthew Wade and Ben McDermott cracked blistering half-centuries to help power the Hurricanes to a crushing 71-run win over the Scorchers at Optus Stadium.

Wade struck 71 off 45 balls and McDermott added an unbeaten 67 off 30 to lift Hobart to 4-210 – the equal-third highest score in BBL history.

In reply, the Scorchers were bowled out for 139 in 17.5 overs, ending their title defence in front of 52,960 disappointed fans.

The win propels the Hurricanes into an away final on Sunday.

“We’ve been talking all year about putting together a close-to-perfect performance. That’s probably as close to perfect for us really,” Hurricanes allrounder Dan Christian said.

– with AAP

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