Dunk’s half-century keeps Strikers alive

Adelaide Strikers 5 for 164 (Dunk 79*) beat Hobart Hurricanes 8 for 161 (Webster 67*, Wells 55, Jordan 3-24) by 5 wickets

A serene Ben Dunk half-century helped Adelaide Strikers to a comprehensive win over Hobart Hurricanes and kept them in finals contention.

Dunk barely got out of first gear during an effortless 79 not out from 49 balls in sweltering conditions to control a run chase of 162 that wobbled momentarily. Brad Hodge was once again sublime in the middle overs but his dismissal was quickly followed by both Kieron Pollard’s and Jono Dean’s before Chris Jordan helped Dunk see Strikers home with 10 balls to spare.

The target would have been far fewer if it wasn’t for a brilliant salvage job from the unheralded Hurricanes duo of Beau Webster and Jonathan Wells. They were brought together at 5 for 30 and produced fine half-centuries each to raise the total to defendable levels. But the damage done early by Jordan, Billy Stanlake and Travis Head with the ball proved too difficult to overcome.

Trade wins

The off-season trade of Ben Dunk and Hamish Kingston raised a number of eyebrows and Dunk’s performance against his old side only added to the intrigue. He made just 31 in his first meeting against Hobart last Monday and D’Arcy Short, recruited as Dunk’s replacement, dominated in the Hurricanes’ successful chase.

Dunk enjoyed the re-match, becoming the second-leading run-scorer in the BBL while Kingston and Short managed just four runs between them, not to mention leaking a combined 1 for 50 from five overs. Dunk was player of the tournament in the 2013 BBL and said post-match that he was probably playing better now than he did three seasons ago, when he was subsequently picked to play for Australia in three T20 internationals.

Webster’s record

Beau Webster had never batted in a BBL match prior to this game. The 23-year-old Tasmanian has three first-class centuries but had played just one T20 game, also against the Strikers, earlier this week, when he did not bat. On Friday, he walked out to bat with half the side back in the pavilion and one ball short of 14 overs still left.

Webster finished unbeaten on 67 off 43 balls, the highest score by a No. 7 in BBL history. He played second fiddle during an 89-run stand with Wells, who played exceptionally well for his 55. Webster accelerated after Wells’ exit reaching 50 in just 36 balls. He showed admirable fitness, running twos late in the innings despite suffering in the stifling heat.

Stanlake’s statement

Billy Stanlake has only played seven T20s but his stocks have risen with every outing. He bowled magnificently again picking up the crucial wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Dan Christian in consecutive balls to leave Hurricanes reeling. The 22-year-old now has six wickets for the tournament at an average of 17.83 and economy rate of 6.97. His height and pace have troubled batsmen consistently and his captain Brad Hodge has backed him to play for Australia at some stage soon.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

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