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Strikers a step closer to BBL Grand Final

Cricket

The Adelaide Strikers are one win away from a Big Bash League Grand Final after defeating the Sydney Thunder by six runs in a pulsating knockout final at the MCG last night.

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After posting an imposing 6-184, the Strikers made it six straight wins and set up a date with the Sydney Sixers in “the Challenger” on Wednesday night after the Thunder could only reply with 6-178.

With nine runs required off three deliveries, Alex Ross succumbed when Henry Thornton somehow held a stunning outfield catch despite colliding with Alex Carey.

Harry Conway (2-33) had Ben Cutting caught on the boundary the next ball to seal the victory before narrowly missing a hat-trick when Jon Wells spilled a tough outfield chance.

Jason Sangha (61) and Ross (56) turned the tide the Thunder’s way with an enterprising 90-run stand after captain Usman Khawaja was controversially sent packing in the seventh over.

Khawaja stood his ground after slicing Matt Short to short third man where Fawad Ahmed lunged forward and claimed a catch.

Umpire Donovan Koch’s soft signal was out, which television umpire Ben Treloar agreed with, despite replays appearing to show the ball brushing the turf as it went into Fawad’s right hand.

“No, I didn’t (think it was out),” Khawaja told the Seven Network.

“I thought at the end of the day the soft signal cost me.

“It looked like a blade of glass 100 per cent touched the ball.

“I don’t agree with it, but I have to accept it.”

Strikers captain Peter Siddle claimed two wickets in the 17th over, including Sangha, as the Thunder took the power surge, before Conway held his nerve at the death.

“When they were in that position (Thunder 2-146 in the 17th), it was going to be hard work,” Siddle said.

“We were going to have to execute and get the job done with the ball.

“It was nice to get a couple in that over and Harry Conway from the other end, what a superb finish from him.”

Earlier, Strikers import Ian Cockbain (65) continued his rich run of form since arriving in Australia 11 days ago, while Short (39) and Carey (23) got the Strikers off to a strong start.

-AAP

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