Recent Match Report – Strikers vs Thunder 5th Match 2022/23

Adelaide Strikers139 for 9 (Lynn 36, de Grandhomme 33, Farooqi 3-20, Sam 2-23, Sandhu 2-28) beat Sydney Thunder 15 (Thornton 5-3, Agar 4-6) by 124 runs

Defending a seemingly modest 139, Agar and Thornton made the Sydney Showground Stadium surface appear like a minefield as they combined for nine wickets for nine runs.

Thunder were routed in just 5.5 overs in arguably the most bizarre innings played in T20 cricket as no one could quite believe what had just transpired in 30 minutes of mayhem.

Thornton and Agar create history
It doesn’t feel real, but a professional cricket team was actually bowled out for 15. Yes, 15 runs in total.

How did it happen? Thornton and Agar transformed into peak Dennis Lillee and Glenn McGrath as they bowled with hostility and continually made a stunned Thunder batting order edge behind the wicket.

Before their heroics, spinner Matthew Short removed Matthew Gilkes in the first over then the quicks produced a performance for the ages that will reverberate worldwide.

Foreshadowing what was ahead, Short plucked an incredible high-flying one-handed catch to remove Rilee Rossouw as everything from there went like a dream for Strikers.

With dangerous bowling angling into the batters, Thornton removed a succession of frazzled batters who could only produce edges to wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen.

Agar, similarly, was possessed as he claimed Alex Hales with his first ball before ripping through Thunder’s meek batting order.

Thornton finished the rout with the wickets of Ollie Davies and Brendan Doggett to seal a place in history and continue Strikers’ statement to start the season.

It was a perfect present for Thornton, who will never forget his 26th birthday.

Thunder utterly humiliated
Thunder’s highest scorer was four runs by Doggett, who inside edged a boundary first ball which received a mocking standing ovation from the ashen-faced home faithful.

It felt almost like a video game as Thunder could simply do nothing to counter the bowling. So bad was their batting that it felt like Thunder had a hex placed on them as all they could do was tamely poke edges behind the wicket.

They fell well short of the lowest BBL score of 57 by Melbourne Renegades in 2015 and once they slumped to 6 for 9 the only interest was whether Thunder could pass the lowest T20I score of 21 made by Turkey against Czech Republic in 2019.

Thunder simply froze in one of the worst batting displays surely ever seen.

After such an embarrassment, which will make headlines worldwide, Thunder will somehow need to regroup from this disaster in what looms as a tough task for coach Trevor Bayliss.

Strikers batting needs a lift
Before the carnage, Strikers appeared to have mustered a modest total although it proved more than enough in hindsight. Still they will want to muster a better effort with the bat moving forward. In their season-opening thrashing of Sixers, Strikers, much like last season, relied on big-hitting Short for a fast start.

But he fell for just nine and Strikers never really rallied. In a bid to add firepower to a fairly sedate batting order, Strikers recruited Chris Lynn and Colin de Grandhomme but they had to firstly dig the team out of a hole at 32 for 3 in the sixth over.

Lynn, especially, curbed his attacking instincts after surviving a huge shout for lbw from Gurinder Sandhu on his first ball faced. They decided to get a move on mid-innings with de Grandhomme whacking two sixes off the spin of Chris Green before Lynn started to open up.

Strangely, as they started to put the foot down, the power surge wasn’t taken and it proved costly with Lynn holing out in the 13th over and de Grandhomme falling later in the same over.

With such a deadly double-strike, Strikers never recovered and finished with a middling total but it didn’t matter.

Farooqi stars again
Let’s end with a positive for Thunder that will be totally forgotten in the wash up.

It’s still very early but Fazalhaq Farooqi is shaping as the recruit of the season. A late replacement for David Willey, the Afghanistan left-arm quick has picked up five wickets from two games and has an economy rate of just five.

Living up his burgeoning reputation, as he showed during the recent T20 world Cup, Farooqi’s full-length deliveries were almost unplayable as he suffocated Strikers at the death after the key early wicket of Short. He can generate serious pace around 140kph and he’s proving invaluable with his aggressive bowling in the powerplay and at the death.

But it was just a taste of the later carnage.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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