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Strikers' golden run ends as Sixers into BBL final

Cricket

Sydney Sixers young gun Hayden Kerr has stunned the Adelaide Strikers, riding his luck to hit a career-best knock of 98 and secure a dramatic four-wicket victory and a spot in the BBL final.

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The Sixers, bidding for a third straight crown, will meet the Perth Scorchers in Friday night’s title-deciding match at Marvel Stadium.

The depleted Sydney side will ask Cricket Australia yet again to include Steve Smith yet again after Steve O’Keefe (calf) and Jordan Silk (hamstring) both suffered injuries in the field at the SCG.

Sixers captain Moises Henriques, who scored 13 in a remarkable chase of 168 that Kerr finished in scarcely-believable fashion, also tweaked his calf on an eventful night.

Earlier in the night, Jonathan Wells’ unbeaten 62 rallied Adelaide from 3-21 to 4-167.

But Kerr underlined the hosts’ depth in response, hitting a four off the last ball and carrying his bat as the home side reached 6-170.

Kerr benefited from two chances, having been dropped in the deep by Matthew Renshaw on 16 after Test keeper Alex Carey missed a stumping off the first ball of the innings.

“It is disappointing,” Strikers captain Peter Siddle said.

“A few missed opportunities with bat and ball.”

Harry Conway, who was the final-over hero of the Strikers’ thrilling victory over Sydney Thunder on Sunday night, was asked to defend 12 runs in Wednesday night’s final over.

Conway started with the wicket of a well-set Sean Abbott for 41 but ended with Kerr’s 12th boundary.

There was no shortage of drama between.

A hobbled Silk walked to the middle, scored a single, watched Kerr wallop a six then retired hurt because the Sixers wanted a fully-fit body at the non-striker’s end for the final ball.

The move appeared to not go down well with Siddle, while Adam Gilchrist opined in the commentary box that “it’s probably not in the spirit of the game”.

Kerr, having previously tallied 77 runs at 11 from 11 BBL innings, produced a masterful dig full of sensible strokes and powerful blows.

The 25-year-old’s career defining innings brings an end to a golden six game winning streak for the Strikers.

The Adelaide side finished just one game short of the final despite a dreadful opening half of the season in which they lost seven of their first eight games.

-AAP

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