On Tuesday evening our Strikers will be gunning for a Magnificent Seven when they take on Sydney Thunder from 6.40pm. There’s bound to be plenty of fireworks as usual for the traditional Adelaide Oval game - let’s bring in the New Year with a bang! In the meantime, these highlights show why these games have won our hearts.
1. HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE THE REST
31 December 2015 d Sydney Sixers by five wickets
Arguably the greatest Adelaide Strikers win of them all. And there has been no better innings than the unconquered century from Travis Head that propelled them to this great escape triumph against Sydney Sixers. The Strikers needed 51 off the last 18 balls - and Head proceeded to play a succession of drives, pulls, flicks, a slog or two and even a tennis smash as he smashed 56 off his bat alone from the next 15 balls, Adelaide home with three deliveries to spare. Head went 4-6-4-6-6-1 off paceman Sean Abbott, 0-2-2-6-0-1 off former Test left-armer Doug Bollinger, then 6-6-6 off Abbott to kill the game off about as comprehensively as you could imagine. And the final six - his ninth of an unforgettable innings - took him from 95 to his century, from just 53 balls. It was a historic moment in more ways than one - Head’s was the first ton by a Strikers player. Earlier, Brad Haddin made an unbeaten 54 from 35 balls and former Strikers skipper Johan Botha slammed 38 not out as the Sixers reached 5/176. Tim Ludeman (26) and Craig Simmons (25) gave the Strikers a helter-skelter start but it was Head who whipped the 46,389-strong crowd into a frenzy.
2. OVAL’S NEW LOOK AND PLENTY OF FIREWORKS
31 December 2014 d Hobart Hurricanes by eight wickets
Newly-developed Adelaide Oval was as pretty as a picture and the 43,288 people packed into it showed how much the fans loved it - along with their Strikers and the colour and excitement of the New Year’s Eve fixture. South Australian pace ace Shaun Tait, close to as fast as anyone’s ever been, bowled like a hurricane to rip through the Hurricanes, snaring 3/22. Jon Wells - now a Striker - scored an unbeaten 58 from 36 balls to lift Hobart to 8/136 but player-of-the-match Tim Ludeman set the Strikers on their way with 54 from 33 balls. Then Jono Dean smacked six crashing sixes in an unbeaten 54, finishing the game off by depositing paceman Ben Hilfenhaus over the square-leg boundary. While there were fireworks on the field and off - to herald the New Year - that wasn’t the end of the entertainment. The night was capped by a memorable, spectacular on-field concert.
Speedster Shaun Tait starred for the Strikers on New Year's Eve 2014
3. HUGE CHEERS FOR RASHID
31 December 2018 d Sydney Thunder by 20 runs
The Strikers made it six from six on New Year’s Eve last summer and it was a strong team effort that saw them home. Local favourite and current acting captain Alex Carey plundered 59 from 40 balls and South African slugger Colin Ingram slammed six sixes in his 75 as the Strikers reached 4/175. Paceman Peter Siddle sealed the deal with 20 runs to spare by snaring 3/20, claiming the key scalps of Redbacks star Callum Ferguson (47), and star England batsmen Joe Root (18) and Jos Butler (23). But the crowd of 41,987 reserved its biggest cheers for leg-spin superstar Rashid Khan. He snared 2/34, courageously playing after the passing of his father in Afghanistan.
4. START OF A TRADITION
31 December 2013 d Perth Scorchers by six wickets
Adelaide Oval was still being redeveloped but 26,030 fans were willing to give this New Year’s Eve BBL idea a bash. And Strikers opener Michael Klinger made it all worthwhile with a superb unbeaten 86 from 55 balls, pounding five fours and four sixes. It was another contest that was capped by a six, player-of-the-match Klinger planting paceman Yasir Arafat over the mid-wicket boundary to take the Strikers past Perth Scorchers’ 9/159 with an over to spare.
5. ATTACK FORCE STRIKES
31 December 2017 d Brisbane Heat by 56 runs
The Strikers put the Heat on Brisbane, skittling Brendon McCullum’s talented line-up for just 91 - the lowest score Adelaide has kept an opponent to in the BBL. Ben Laughlin, the Strikers’ all-time leading wicket-taker - with 60 - snared 3/11, medium-pacer Michael Neser - second behind Laughlin with 48 - snared 2/7 and Rashid Khan claimed 2/19. Player-of-the-match Neser ended the year with a bang having also top-scored with an unbeaten 40 from 26 balls in the Strikers’ 7/147. And Rashid showed what an entertainer he could be with the bat as well - becoming the third player in BBL history to hit a six from the first ball he faced. Team-mate Jake Lehmann had previously achieved the feat when he hit the winning runs from the last ball of the match against Hobart Hurricanes on another unforgettable night at the Oval in January 2016.
6. BIG BILLY SIZZLES
31 December 2016 d Sydney Sixers by 48 runs
Sean Abbott came off second-best to Travis Head when he smashed his century on the last day of 2015 but the Sixers paceman gave the Strikers a scare the following year, snaring 5/16. Still, the Strikers made it to 9/152, thanks to Ben Dunk (37), Brad Hodge (36) and hard-hitting West Indian allrounder Kieron Pollard, who smashed two sixes in his 29. The 45,471-strong crowd loved watching big Queenslander Billy Stanlake hurl them down at around 150km/h and he snared 3/17 to bundle out the Sixers for just 104. Oh, what a night!
And there’s another one coming - you can bet there will be plenty of fast-paced action as the Strikers look to continue the tradition and end 2019 on a high.