An old hand has delivered the Adelaide Strikers a festive six-wicket triumph against Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.
Stalwart Michael Klinger, the oldest man in the Strikers’ squad, struck a cool 86 not out from 55 balls to steer Adelaide past their 160-run target with six balls to spare.
Klinger ensured the Strikers enter the New Year unbeaten, the Strikers making 4-164 in reply to Perth’s 9-159 before more than 26,030 spectators at Adelaide Oval – the largest crowd of this tournament so far.
The Scorchers slipped to their second loss in three games, with only some lusty late hitting from Nathan Coulter-Nile (42 from 25 balls) giving the visitors a respectable total.
And Perth’s bowlers were unable to counter the 33-year-old Klinger, who underpinned a successful run chase after early explosives from his teammate Alex Hales.
The Englishman’s 31 from 20 balls, featuring a six and five fours, gifted the Strikers a flying start with a cameo appropriately played amid early fireworks outside the ground at city New Year’s festivities.
The Strikers lost traction mid-innings with Phil Hughes (8), captain Johan Botha (6) and Callum Ferguson (10) all falling cheaply to leave the home side 4-116 in the 15th over.
But Klinger’s brilliant 55-ball knock featured four sixes – the last of which secured victory.
“We probably didn’t have the best day in the field, we normally pride ourselves on our pressure and our fielding ability,” Klinger said.
“But we thought with our batting line-up we would be able to come hard at the end.”
Earlier, the Scorchers were in danger of being bowled out when they slumped to 9-134 in the 19th over.
Perth’s top-order faltered with evergreen opener Simon Katich making 36 from 30 balls but receiving scant support, until Coulter-Nile rescued the innings.
The Scorchers’ all-rounder cracked three sixes and three fours in his powerful cameo and hit 19 of the 20 runs from debutant ben Oakley’s final over of the innings.
Adelaide medium-pacer Michael Neser claimed 3-27, while legspinner Adam Zampa and quick Shaun Tait – who sprayed seven wides, including three in a row – both claimed two victims.