Rashid Khan signs off with career-best to rekindle Strikers’ hopes

Written by The Frontier Post

SYDNEY (Cricinfo): Rashid Khan signed off from his BBL stint with career-best figures of 6 for 17 to lift Adelaide Strikers off the bottom of the table with a thumping win at the Gabba as Brisbane Heat produced another of their eye-watering collapses.
Rashid’s figures, coming in his 300th T20 game, were the third best ever in the BBL behind Lasith Malinga’s 6 for 7 and Ish Sodhi’s 6 for 11. He will now depart for international duty with Afghanistan in a major loss for Strikers, but on his last night sparkled briefly with the bat then halted a promising Heat position with two wickets in two balls as part of a team hat-trick.
From 2 for 62 Heat, welcoming back a host of their players who had been hit by Covid, lost for 8 for 28 in seven overs with five batters collecting ducks – equaling the most in a BBL innings – as they fell out of the fifth finals position with three games to play.
Strikers had laboured with the bat after Matt Short fell for a brisk 27 but a late cameo from Thomas Kelly (24 off 16) balls lifted them over the 160 mark.
Another player given an unexpected opportunity in the tournament, pace bowler Henry Thornton made his second BBL appearance four years after a debut for Sydney Sixers. With his second legal ball, clocked at 143kph, he removed Chris Lynn from a bottom edge into the stumps. There was also some eye-catching late movement as he pitched the ball with an interesting, slingy action. Overall he went for just 12 in his three overs including eight dot balls. From 2 for 17, Heat had recovered nicely through Lachlan Pfeffer and Ben Duckett before the wheels came off.
Out of nowhere, Pfeffer set off for a non-existent single to midwicket and had no chance of getting back. Next ball, Sam Heazlett edged a Rashid googly to the keeper and then Jake Lehmann went for a big sweep off his opening delivery and was cleaned up. Xavier Bartlett survived the hat-trick but the damage had been done leaving Rashid to slice through the lower order. If Strikers are to make a run to the finals, they have a big hole to fill.

Do Strikers have enough power?

They got the win they desperately needed, but it was not a batting performance to inspire confidence. Short was promising after copping a painful blow to the arm from a wild throw by Nathan McSweeney to dominate the powerplay worth 1 for 33. However, the trio of Henry Hunt – who only faced seven balls in the first five overs – Jake Weatherald and Jonathan Wells had a combined tally of 83 off 81 balls. Overs 11-14 brought just 22 runs when Weatherald briefly broke the shackles with a hooked six before finding deep square leg next ball.

Mujeeb vs Rashid

It is often a surprise that the various T20 sides Rashid plays for don’t make more use of him up the order. At last Strikers made that move, Rashid walking out at No. 5 – just the 12th time in 170 T20 innings he had batted so high – to try and give the innings some impetus. He couldn’t have started much better, top edging his first ball off Bartlett for six before depositing him straight down the ground for another. However, the stay came to end in unfortunate fashion against his Afghanistan team-mate Mujeeb ur Rahman when, moving well outside leg, the ball cannoned off the pads into leg stump. Mujeeb knew he had got lucky and directed a little smile Rashid’s way. However, when Mujeeb later became Rashid’s fifth wicket the smiles had swapped.

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