Hobart Hurricanes 5 for 174 (Short 72) beat Adelaide Strikers 9 for 163 (Worrall 62*, Faulkner 3-21) by 11 runs
The Hobart Hurricanes made it two-from-two on home soil as D'Arcy Short's BBL kicked into life as he turned a run-a-ball struggle into a potentially matchwinning hand before the Adelaide Strikers' top order crumbled in a poor batting display.
Although the Hurricanes had not lost early wickets - Short and Will Jacks putting on a first-wicket stand of 63 - the run rate had not got away from the Strikers until Short, who had been given a life on 23, produced an onslaught against the normally frugal Rashid Khan. The Hurricanes could not quite take full advantage of that dramatic shift in gears as the Strikers fought back in the Power Surge, but in the end 174 proved enough although not by as much as initially appeared likely.
The Strikers lost both openers inside the four-over Powerplay - Johan Botha being excellent in the field restrictions - and the middle order collapsed in a way that will not have impressed coach Jason Gillespie as a way to set down a marker for the season. However, Dan Worrall, who had dropped the chance offered by Short and then been ordered out of the attack for two chest-high full tosses, swung his way to a maiden T20 fifty off 28 balls and the game wasn't closed out until the final over.
First runs in style
Both the Hurricanes openers made ducks in their opening match and it was Jacks, the Surrey allrounder, who was first to start his account for the summer when he lofted fellow Englishman Danny Briggs way back over long-on. It was Jacks who made the early running - as Short struggled to get his innings above a run-a-ball - taking Briggs for a second six in the seventh over. The opening stand was worth 63 when he skied the ball high into the leg side where Ryan Gibson steadied himself. At the 10-over mark the Hurricanes were 1 for 69 and in need of kicking on.
Short takes down Khan
Moments before the opening stand was broken, Short was given a life on 23 when Dan Worrall dropped a top-edge pull at fine leg. It would prove costly. Having laboured somewhat to 38 off 40 balls at the start of the 14th over, bowled by Khan, Short started to find the middle of the bat. He launched three sixes in four balls - the other delivery going for four - in an over that cost 25, the most expensive of Khan's BBL career. Short's fifty came up off 42 deliveries when a full toss was dispatched over deep midwicket and the third of his sixes was measured at 96 metres. At the end of the over the Hurricanes called the Power Surge with all the momentum behind them.
However, they did not have it all their own way with the field restrictions enforced. It looked like it would work perfectly when Short took Wes Agar for four and six within his first three deliveries - all off a sudden a century was on the cards - but then he picked out short-third man off a slower delivery. The next over from Peter Siddle cost just five runs and included the wicket of the dangerous Colin Ingram - a brilliant boundary-rope parried catch by Khan - to mean that two new batsmen had to get set for the final push. Khan returned to trap Peter Handscomb lbw and the innings was threatening to fall away, but Worrall's last over went wrong as he sent down two no-ball full tosses and was ordered out of the attack with a ball remaining. Tim David, who was the Player of the Match in the opening game, provided a handy 21 off 13 balls.
Botha's guile, Meredith's pace
Botha has come out of retirement to help the Hurricanes' early season: a few more performances like this and they may ask him to stay on. He bowled three consecutive overs, two of them in the Powerplay which cost just eight runs and included the wicket of the dangerous Jake Weatherald, then after briefly being attacked in the sixth over he hit back by removing Harry Nielsen. One of the eye-catching features of the early matches has been Meredith's pace - upwards of 150kph - and here he was too quick for Jono Wells, pinning him lbw. He also showed his football skills by kicking the ball into the stumps after following through to run out Gibson and a rapid short ball capped Khan's disappointing day with a first-ball duck.
There was briefly a game within-a-game as the Strikers came close to stealing the Bash Boost with 10th-over sixes from Matt Renshaw and Worrall, but whether it would have been deserved being six down is an interesting debate. The real entertainment from the Strikers' batting came from the last-wicket pair as Worrall, with the highest score of his professional career, and Danny Briggs added a rollicking 61 - the second highest tenth-wicket stand in T20s. It may even have made the Hurricanes a little nervous but 18 from the last over proved a step too far.