Matthew Wade smashed a glorious century as the Hobart Hurricanes beat the Adelaide Strikers by 10 runs to clinch a place in the Big Bash League's Eliminator.

Buoyed by solid efforts of 66 and 56 in his previous two outings, Wade found an entirely new level on Sunday, toying with the Strikers bowlers as he hit an unbeaten 130 off 61 balls, a career-best T20 score.

Wade's previous best in the shorter format was 88, but he went well beyond that in a team total of 217-1, setting Adelaide a daunting victory target.

The Strikers came up short, finishing eight wickets down.

The result means the Hurricanes will play the Eliminator against either Sydney Thunder or Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League finals, while Adelaide must face the winner of that contest after missing out on the chance to finish second.

 

UNTOUCHABLE WADE DAZZLES

Wade produced an innings for the ages at the Adelaide Oval.

In total, he hit 11 fours and seven sixes from 61 balls of pure mastery, as the 32-year-old left the Strikers looking clueless, particularly when knocking three successive boundaries off Wes Agar in the 17th over.

It was Wade's maiden T20 century, and the second-highest innings in Big Bash history, only trailing Marcus Stoinis' stunning unbeaten 147 from earlier this month.

As impressive as Wade was, he did not do it all alone – on another day D'Arcy Short might have been the man of the moment with his applaudable 72, as the pair's 203 partnership was only four adrift of the Big Bash record.

Their stand almost lasted the entire innings, but Short eventually fell in the penultimate over taken at long-on after not quite getting enough on Michael Neser's delivery, allowing Phil Salt to catch.

STRIKERS JUST FALL SHORT

Although the Hurricanes set a hefty total to chase, the Strikers seemed to be on track until the seventh over, with Salt and Travis Head posting a solid 79-run partnership following the early fall of Jake Weatherald in the second over – Macalister Wright taking the catch from Clive Rose's delivery.

The Strikers certainly piled the pressure on towards the end, with Alex Carey (39) and Jonathan Wells (15) hitting five boundaries between them in seven balls across the 15th and 16th overs.

But the commendable death skills of James Faulkner (1-35) and Nathan Ellis (2-36) upset the Strikers' flow, toppling Rashid Khan (eight), Carey (39), Matthew Short (six) and Neser (nine) in the final three overs.

Kieran Powell and Amir Jangoo followed up a strong bowling performance led by West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph to put Leeward Islands Hurricanes in a strong position against Windward Islands Volcanoes in their rain-marred, day/night contest at Gros Islet.

Former West Indies Under-19 World Cup-winning pacer Chemar Holder led the demolition of the Jamaica Scorpions batting with a career-best return, propelling Barbados Pride to a 119-run victory in the West Indies Championship on Saturday.

India cruised to a 2-0 series lead against New Zealand with a controlled seven-wicket in the second Twenty20 at Eden Park on Sunday.

KL Rahul made a second successive half-century and Shreyas Iyer, who starred at the same venue two days earlier, contributed 44 runs as the tourists easily chased down the required 133 with 15 balls to spare.

Unlike in the series opener, the Black Caps failed to set a competitive total, with Martin Guptill (33) and Tom Seifert (33) the only batsman able to get on top of India's bowlers.

New Zealand must now win all three remaining matches to snatch an unlikely series victory from an in-form India.

Jasprit Bumrah held his place in the line-up after Friday's injury scare and was effective in restricting the home nation to 132-5 on a challenging surface in Auckland.

The seamer finished with economical figures of 1-21 from four overs as New Zealand were made to rue their decision to bat first.

Guptill fell to Shardul Thakur after building a promising 48-run opening partnership with Colin Munro (26), who followed him to the pavilion after giving Virat Kohli his second catch of the game off Shivam Dube.

The excellent Ravindra Jadeja (2-18) removed danger man Colin de Grandhomme and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson in quick succession to reduce New Zealand to 81-4 in the 13th over.

Ross Taylor (18 from 24) and wicketkeeper Seifert added 44 together to lift the total beyond 130, though it never looked like being enough to trouble India.

Rohit Sharma's departure in the opening over of the chase provided false hope to the home fans, who otherwise only had Kohli's exit for 11 - the skipper strangled down the leg side - to cheer about.

Tim Southee (20-2) claimed both key wickets but the rest of the Kiwi attack struggled to make inroads into a high-class top order.

Rahul anchored the innings with a measured 57 from 50 as he and Iyer put on 86 in 11 overs, the latter eventually well caught by Southee off Ish Sodhi (1-33) as India accelerated towards the finish line.

Chris Morris emerged as the final-over hero after Sydney Thunder preserved their Big Bash League play-off hopes with a tense win over Perth Scorchers on Sunday.

The Thunder needed to triumph to avoid elimination from top-five contention and held their nerve with the bat after being set 96 from 12 overs for victory following a rain delay at Spotless Stadium.

South African Morris clubbed a six and a four in consecutive deliveries to reward Alex Hales' blistering 47 and get the hosts home with two balls to spare, sealing a seven-wicket victory that takes them above the Scorchers and into fourth.

Miserly bowling from Chris Tremain (1-14) and Daniel Sams (1-16) earlier restricted the Scorchers to 99-4 from 15 overs, their total reduced following the hour-long pause in play.

 

BANCROFT BUILDS COMPETITIVE TOTAL

The Scorchers gave themselves plenty of work to do after winning the toss, electing to bat and then slipping to 64-4 in the 12th over of their truncated innings.

They were indebted to Cameron Bancroft for achieving a reasonable score before the rain arrived, the Australia international managing a valuable unbeaten 35 from 25 balls amid scant contributions elsewhere in the top six.

Liam Livingstone stuttered to Perth's next-best score with 20 off 27 as Tremain, Sams and Morris (1-9) kept the total down.

 

HALES HELPS THUNDER THROUGH THE STORM

Following scores of 85 and 63 in the previous two games, England international Hales continued his fine form in a standout performance.

The 31-year-old made light of a difficult wicket as he breezed to 47 from 27 balls before slicing a catch to cover off Fawad Ahmad (1-15).

The ease with which Hales found the boundary - his innings included four fours and two sixes - came in contrast to the other batsman during a low-scoring affair on a difficult wicket.

 

MORRIS SETTLES THUNDER NERVES

Hales' departure led to the loss of three wickets for 16 runs as the Thunder started to let victory slip from their grasp.

Usman Khawaja (22) was caught out of his crease, Jhye Richardson bowled Alex Ross and the Scorchers suddenly became favourites to escape with the points.

Enter all-rounder Morris. After watching Callum Ferguson take three runs off the first two balls of the decisive 12th over from Matt Kelly, the 32-year-old brought a stunning end to the contest.

He struck a huge six over long-on and then pierced a drive through the off-side to snatch a season-saving win for the Thunder just as it looked to have eluded them.

Veerasammy Permaul claimed another two wickets as defending champions Guyana Jaguars pushed leaders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force to the edge of defeat, heading into the final day of the West Indies Championship fixture at Providence.

Resuming the day on 53 for 0, the Jaguars, led by a half-century from Chanderpaul Hemraj (54), added another 124 runs before declaring at 177 for 5. Vishaul Singh was unbeaten after adding a patient 37 from 74.

In pursuit of a mammoth 402 to win, the Red Force were in early trouble when pace bowler Keon Joseph struck twice.  Keagan Simmons was the first to go after being caught by Anthony Bramble off the bowling of Joseph in the second over.  Darren Bravo only managed to put two runs on the board before falling to Joseph in the next two overs.  Opener Jeremy Solozano (34) steadied the ship after forming a partnership with Jason Mohammed (33) as the pair put on 62 for the third wicket.  The partnership was, however, broken when Solozano was dismissed lbw by Kevin Sinclair with Jason Mohammed falling to Permaul soon after. 

Permaul further rocked the middle order after having Joshua Da Silva (8) caught by Leon Johnson.  The spinner has so far claimed six wickets in the match so far.  Yannic Cariah put 27 runs on the board but was dismissed lbw by Devendra Bishoo.  Yannick Ottley (13) and  Akeal Hosein (5) close the day as the not out batsmen with a further 280 runs needed for safety.

 

Retired Windies batsman Dwayne Smith is expected to head to Asia for the upcoming Everest Premier League where he will represent the Bhairahawa Gladiators.

The much-travelled power-hitter will bring plenty of experience to the Napal-based franchise as the tournament head into its fourth edition.

 The 36-year-old Smith, a former Windies batting all-rounder who made 255 appearances for the regional team, has played for over 14 T20 franchises.  He most recently appeared for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).  Smith currently averages 26.23 and has played 337 matches.

The signing of the West Indian veteran proved a source of excitement for Gladiators captain Sharad Vesawkar.

"I still can’t believe that the powerhouse of West Indies Cricket and IPL for a long time, Dwayne Smith will be playing under me in the upcoming season of EPL,” Vesawkar said.

“This will do a world of good to the team’s top order and also serve as an exciting opportunity to all the players especially the young ones to observe how the greats go about their game.”

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave has insisted the board will look to continue its objective of spreading the sport across regional venues.

Insularity and some amount of bias have often been charges leveled at those who select which grounds will be picked to host international cricket on various West Indies tours.  International grounds in bigger countries have often been given the nod but Graves insists it might not be the case in the future.

“The highest crowds we experienced in this series was in Grenada.  Grenada didn’t have cricket between 2015 and 2019 and I think it is important we spread cricket around our international grounds,” Graves said.

“I think we need to do far more as an organization to promote and market to make sure all the cricket fans and even the non-cricket fans know that the West Indies team is coming to their country to play,” he added.

“I hope everyone understands that policy and we do our best to spread cricket around the region.”

With the exception of Barbados the West Indies' first tour of the new year, against Ireland, was played in Grenada and St Kitts.  The New Zealand New Zealand tour in July will be hosted in Antigua, Dominica, and Guyana, with Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Jamaica.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez powered Pakistan to a dominant nine-wicket win over Bangladesh as they clinched the Twenty20 series with a game to spare. 

Pakistan claimed a five-wicket victory in the opening game in Lahore on Friday, and Babar and Hafeez ensured the hosts were in cruise control again at the same venue on Saturday.

After Bangladesh finished on 136-6 thanks predominantly to Tamim Iqbal's 65, Babar (66 not out) and Hafeez (67no) combined superbly for an unbroken stand of 131.

It meant Pakistan clinched the match and the three-match series with 20 balls to spare, rendering Monday's finale a dead rubber.

Bangladesh opener Mohammad Naim went for a duck in the second over and, though Tamim held the innings together, he found little in the way of partners.

Afif Hossain (21), stayed with Tamim for a stand of 45, but after the latter was run out in the 18th over, any impetus Bangladesh's innings had was lost.

Shafiul Islam removed Ahsan Ali for a duck to give Bangladesh hope of defending their total, which was swiftly and brutally extinguished by Babar and Hafeez.

Hafeez brought up his half-century in 39 balls, but Babar was four deliveries quicker, the pair hitting 16 fours and two sixes between them as they tormented the Bangladesh attack en route to an easy win.

Brisbane Heat kept their hopes of a place in the Big Bash League playoffs very much alive with a dominant win over leaders Melbourne Stars.

The Heat started the day on 10 points with two games to play but vaulted into the top five with a 71-run victory clinched with 14 balls to spare at the MCG.

AB de Villiers laid the platform for the Heat with a searing 71 off just 37 balls, helping Brisbane to 186-5.

The table-topping Stars promptly collapsed in response, spinners Mitchell Swepson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman doing the damage for Brisbane as Melbourne were bowled out for 115.

 

DEVASTATING DE VILLIERS

Veteran De Villiers had not scored a half-century in the BBL going into Saturday's contest, but he changed that fact in emphatic fashion.

The South African cleared the rope six times, with two of his sixes coming in an expensive Clint Hinchcliffe over.

De Villiers' primary support came from Australia international Marnus Labuschagne, who finished unbeaten on a 13-ball 24, the pair combining for a fifth-wicket stand of 70.

 

STARS PUT IN A SPIN

Marcus Stoinis (17) got the Stars' chase off to a strong start but it proved the first of two false dawns for the Stars, who lost Stoinis and Seb Gotch to James Pattinson in the fourth over.

Peter Handscomb (27) and Nick Larkin (22) appeared to have mounted a recovery with a stand of 36, only for the former to be run out chasing two as Mujeeb and De Villiers combined in the field.

Danger man Glenn Maxwell (1) followed three balls later as he was bowled by Swepson, who struck again to remove Nic Maddinson (9) and then Larkin after Nathan Coulter-Nile had fallen to Mujeeb for a duck.

That left the Stars on 92-7 and the tail never looked like mounting a remarkable recovery.

 

A TIGHT FINISH

In the fight for the final two playoff places, the Heat join the Scorchers on 12 points and would qualify as it stands, with Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder each a point back with a game to play.

Perth face the Thunder in their finale, while the Hurricanes visit Adelaide Strikers and the Heat face bottom side Melbourne Renegades.

The fight for the top five is going down to the wire.

Steve Smith helped the Sydney Sixers to a seven-wicket win over the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League on Saturday.

Aaron Finch (109 off 68 balls) had led the struggling Renegades to 175-5 from their 20 overs at the SCG.

But after Josh Philippe's 61, Smith ensured the Sixers moved back into second in the table.

The Australia star made an unbeaten 66 off 40 balls as the Sixers reached their target with eight balls to spare.

 

FINCH PUNISHES SIXERS

Finch gave the Sixers chances when he was on 39 and 40, dropped by Jordan Silk and Philippe.

Another chance went begging when Finch was on 62, dropped by Ben Dwarshuis – who would face further punishment.

Bowling the next over, Dwarshuis was taken for 22 runs by Finch, including a six and three fours.

Finch went on to notch his eighth T20 century to guide the Renegades to what looked like a competitive total.

VINCE UNLUCKY

James Vince and Philippe helped the Sixers make a fine start to their chase, reaching 49 without loss after five overs.

But Vince's unfortunate dismissal would slow the Sixers down.

Will Sutherland dropped a return catch off Philippe, but the ball ricocheted onto the stumps at the non-striker's end, running Vince out for 22 off 13.

SMITH STEPS UP

That allowed Smith to take over.

A reverse sweep for four from Smith off Mohammad Nabi (1-27) in the 15th over helped the Sixers need 45 off the final five overs.

Smith almost went in the next over, with Nathan McSweeney producing a brilliant piece of fielding on the boundary, catching the ball as it was flying for six, but throwing it back as he fell over the rope.

But that would be the Renegades' last chance as Smith took control to lead the Sixers to victory.

 The 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) had an economic impact of over US$136 million, a record for the T20 league since its inception in 2013, the CPL has announced.

Ben Stokes has issued a statement apologising for his choice of language after becoming engaged in a verbal altercation with a fan during the fourth Test with South Africa.

The all-rounder was dismissed for two on the opening day at the Wanderers and was heard on a live broadcast aiming expletives at a spectator.

After Friday's play, Stokes – who claimed to have been "subjected to repeated abuse" – took to Twitter to say sorry for his "unprofessional" reaction.

"I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast today after my dismissal," he wrote. "I should not have reacted in that way.

"As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd. I admit that my reaction was unprofessional and I sincerely apologise for the language I used, especially to the many young fans watching the live telecast around the world.

"Throughout the Tests so far, the support from both sets of fans (England and South Africa) has been brilliant. One incident will not ruin such a competitive series, which we are determined to win."

It remains to be seen if officials will take any action against Stokes, who was one of four batsmen dismissed as England closed with 192 runs on the board.

The tourists lead the four-match series 2-1.

England became the first team to score 500,000 Test runs on the first day of the fourth Test with South Africa, which saw the tourists' strong start curtailed by a final-session fightback from the Proteas.

Joe Root's men were dealt a blow before winning the toss with the news that paceman Jofra Archer would be unable to play at the Wanderers because of elbow soreness.

Having seen his side take command of the third Test in Port Elizabeth with a dominant first-innings batting display, Root elected to give his charges the same opportunity, and openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid an excellent foundation.

Crawley was in fluent form as he scored his first half-century for his country but England slumped to 157-4 after the first-wicket stand of 107 was broken. 

Root (25 not out) and Ollie Pope (22 not out) steadied the ship, the former seeing England to the half-a-million milestone as they reached 192-4 before bad light stopped play.

After falling six runs short of a fifty at St George's Park, Crawley made no mistake in Johannesburg in a stylish innings that featured 11 boundaries, combining with Sibley for England's first century opening stand since December 2016.

Crawley's maiden international 50 was brought up in more fortuitous fashion with a thick edge through point but Sibley, having successfully reviewed an lbw decision and been given a reprieve by a no-ball, was not so lucky.

A centurion in the second match in Cape Town, Sibley was strangled down the leg side on 44 as Beuran Hendricks claimed a wicket on his Test debut.

Vernon Philander then ensured he will end his final Test with a wicket as Crawley presented a simple catch to Rassie van der Dussen, who made another grab at slip to end a difficult 35-ball spell at the crease for Joe Denly (27).

South African hopes of an England collapse were given a significant boost when talisman Ben Stokes fell to Anrich Nortje for just two, the all-rounder's attempt at a drive seeing him send another straight to Van der Dussen.

Stokes was involved in a verbal altercation with a fan as he left the field but, while England will now have to wait to see if he faces any repercussions from that, in terms of the match their position was improved as Root and Pope provided stability.

They did so in confident fashion. Root surpassed 7,500 Test runs with a pull through midwicket for four and his single through the covers took England to the historic 500,000 mark.

The fading light saw the fifth-wicket partnership interrupted on 35 and, though England have plenty of batting to come, Root and Pope will know that stretching their stand well into day two will go a long way to sealing a 3-1 series victory.

Adelaide Strikers are sure of a place in the top three of the Big Bash League table after Wes Agar led them to a comfortable 16-run victory over Perth Scorchers on Friday.

Phil Salt's second half-century in his last four games helped the Strikers to 181-5 from their 20 overs, with Jake Weatherald and Travis Head making 35 apiece at Optus Stadium.

That target proved to be well beyond the hosts despite a magnificent knock from Liam Livingstone (79), Agar taking 3-36.

Adelaide are second in the table and will not have to contest the eliminator round of the play-offs. The Scorchers are fourth and can secure a place in the playoffs with a win over Sydney Thunder on Sunday.

 

SALT SHAKES UP SCORCHERS ATTACK

Opener Salt hit seven boundaries and a pair of maximums in his 31-ball 59, putting on 71 for the opening wicket with Weatherald.

Alex Carey and Head kept the scoreboard ticking with a stand of 43 off 28 balls and Jono Wells' contribution ensured the Strikers had plenty to defend.

A dozen of Wells' 23 runs off 16 balls came via him finding the rope, and those boundaries proved valuable as the Scorchers came up short in response.

LIVINGSTONE GIVES SCORCHERS HOPE

The Scorchers' top runs scorer in the BBL this season, Livingstone frequently threatened the rafters as he kept the hosts' hopes alive.

The English opener struck seven sixes in his explosive 54-ball knock and showed the ability to do so in unorthodox fashion, with ramp and hook shots sent sailing for six.

However, when man of the match Wes Agar ended his remarkable innings the prospect of a Scorchers victory went with him as they went from 115-5 to finishing on 165-7.

WES WINS BATTLE OF AGARS

Wes Agar also removed opener Josh Inglis and Scorchers captain Mitchell Marsh as he finished with figures of 3-36, ensuring he got the better of his brother Ashton Agar in the process.

Older sibling Ashton Agar took 2-29, dismissing openers Weatherald and Salt, and was unbeaten on 10 with the bat.

He still ended up on the losing side despite his admirable efforts, but was all smiles as he congratulated his younger brother after the match.

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