More to Strikers than Rashid
Steve Barrett |
Most cricket followers felt Rashid Khan’s departure from the BBL last week, to represent Afghanistan against the Netherlands in Qatar, would spell the end for the Adelaide Strikers.
The legspinning master signed off last Wednesday with a career-best 6-17 to lift the Strikers to victory over the Brisbane Heat and off the foot of the points table, where they had languished for much of the summer.
But the Strikers have defied the doomsayers by winning three on the trot without Rashid – capped by Monday’s eight-wicket demolition of the second-ranked Sydney Sixers – and four in succession overall to book a shock finals berth.
“The big thing for us as a group is we’ve won the last few games without Rash,” said opener Matt Renshaw, who crunched a match-winning 50 against the Sixers.
“Everyone seems to talk about ‘can they win without Rash?’
“We’ve had a couple of really good wins since he left.”
Little-known Englishman Ian Cockbain (71no), who turns 35 next month, and creaking legspinner Fawad Ahmed (3-16), who turns 40 next month, led the charge for the rags-to-riches Strikers, who are suddenly the hottest team in the competition.
The Strikers are assured a berth in Friday’s fourth-versus-fifth Eliminator final, where they may welcome back Ashes heroes Travis Head and Alex Carey.
Head is in the form of his life and was awarded the Compton-Miller Medal as the best player in Australia’s 4-0 triumph over England, while Carey top-scored in the Aussies’ second innings in the fifth Test at Blundstone Arena.
“Trav’s been playing the Ashes like a Twenty20,” Renshaw said.
“It would be nice to welcome him back and ‘Kez’ (Carey) as well.
“I’m not envious of the selectors at all.”AAP