Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie believes financial imperatives are likely to bring back elite cricket behind closed doors.

Sporting leagues across the world are at various stages in plotting their return from a widespread hiatus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Germany, the Bundesliga will come back this weekend, while Australia's NRL is slated for a May 28 return.

Cricket in Australia has a little more time to play with as a summer sport, but Gillespie – who coaches Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League, along with English county side Sussex – is realistic over the need to play without fans initially if possible.

"Let's face it, the reason why sports want to have their various sports behind closed doors is TV money," he told Stats Perform. "A lot of sports are on the brink, financially they're struggling, and that television money is vital to the survival of the various codes.

"I'm not against it. Ideally, we want sports to be played with the crowds but, if the only option is to play behind closed doors with TV and radio and the like then I'm for that. That's better than no sport.

"I'm very conscious of the fact that it needs to be done safely – the health of the players. And it's not just the players, behind the scenes there is still going to be a production. There are a swathe of people around who will need to be looked after.

"But if we can play sport safely, then I'm all for it."

One of cricket's unique quirks looks set to become problematic in these changing times – namely the use of saliva and sweat to maintain the condition and shine of the ball.

Fielding sides engage in this practice to give pace bowlers a better chance of achieving swing, although it would now throw up obvious health and safety concerns.

As one of his generation's finest seam bowlers, Gillespie believes the art of maintaining the ball must remain but feels umpires could have a role to play.

"It's a really tough one. To give the bowlers half a chance of creating some movement through the air the ball needs to be maintained," he explained.

"I know there's been lots of discussions about what's the best way to do that.

"At the moment in cricket, if there's some dirt on the ball, you can go to the umpire and under his supervision remove that dirt.

"I wonder if there could be a law that can be brought in for this time. Whether it's a substance I don't know. Under the supervision of the umpires, maybe at the start or the end of each over to maintain the shine on the ball.

"I'm sure that's something that the law makers will look at. It's a really tough one. I'm not sure I have an answer but that's the only thing I can think that could be done, as legally and as safely as possible."

Kookaburra – the Australian company that manufacturers the balls predominantly used in international cricket around the world – announced last week they had developed a "unique wax formula" that could be applied by umpires in place of traditional shining methods.

However, this would require a change to the laws of the game, which prohibit the application of any artificial substance to the ball.

The Sydney Thunder capitalised on a stunning Adelaide Strikers collapse to snatch an eight-run win and move within a match of the Big Bash League final.

Set a meagre 152 for victory on Saturday, the Strikers were cruising towards a comfortable victory before Daniel Sams (3-26) and Chris Morris (2-22) instigated the loss of five wickets for 24 runs.

Star batsman Alex Hales top scored with 59 for the Thunder, who finished four points behind Adelaide on the ladder but will now face the Melbourne Stars in a do-or-die challenger clash on Thursday.

The winner of that match will advance to face the Sydney Sixers in the February 8 final at the SCG.

 

HALES GIVES THUNDER HOPE

Usman Khawaja's early exit and the loss of Callum Ferguson inside six overs could have derailed the Thunder before their innings began to take shape.

Hales had other ideas and, like he has done so regularly in the tournament, gave his team crucial quick runs at the top of the order.

The destructive England opener hammered six fours and four sixes to record his fourth half-century in five innings while dominating a 51-run stand with Alex Ross (12).

Arjun Nair (18) and all-rounder Morris (21) made handy contributions lower down the order to build a competitive total, but the Thunder would surely have been bundled out if not for their key man.

 

STRIKERS SQUANDER WINNING POSITION

Phil Salt's departure in the opening over of the chase failed to prevent the Strikers from making a confident start in front of an expectant Adelaide Oval crowd.

Travis Head entered and struck a quickfire 32 before Alex Carey (28) and Jonathan Wells (34) came together and produced what looked to be a match-winning partnership worth 50 runs.

Then, however, came the collapse. Australia international Carey was run out after gambling on a quick single and the promotion of Rashid Khan failed to pay dividends as he looped a catch out to deep square two balls later.

When Morris pinned Matt Short in front for a duck, the Strikers had lost three wickets for two runs and undone their good work.

 

TREMAIN FLAILS BUT THUNDER PREVAIL

Adelaide's implosion was only matched by that of Thunder bowler Chris Tremain, who sent down three wides in a wretched 16-run 18th over that left the door ajar.

Sams made amends, conceding five runs and removing both Michael Neser and Peter Siddle the following over.

Morris then extracted a thin edge from Wells, the Strikers' famed finisher, to all but end the contest at the beginning of the 20th.

Key contributors Sams and Hales combined to let a high ball go to ground but the damage was done as the Thunder kept alive their hopes of a second BBL title.

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.

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.

Adelaide Strikers boosted their hopes of a top-two finish in the Big Bash League by recording an 11-run victory over runaway leaders Melbourne Stars.

Jono Wells was instrumental to the Strikers' 162-4, sharing in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 71 with Matthew Short, before the duo of Peter Siddle and Rashid Khan frustrated the Stars' batsmen with the ball.

The win saw Adelaide move above Sydney Sixers in the table, both sides on 15 points, five behind the Stars.

Wells' knock gave the home side's innings much-needed impetus after Phil Salt, Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey all got starts without going beyond 40.

The Tasmanian hit two sixes and four fours in a 36-ball 55 which, alongside Short's 23, gave the Adelaide bowlers something to work with.

Michael Neser and Siddle immediately applied the pressure, with the latter also claiming the prize wicket of BBL top run-scorer Marcus Stoinis (5) after he mistimed a drive towards long-on and was snaffled by Salt.

And the Stars were put further on the back foot when Rashid bowled the dangerous Nic Maddinson with his second ball.

Wes Agar accounted for Nick Larkin and Glenn Maxwell and Neser snared Seb Gotch, with Adelaide always seemingly in control.

However, Peter Handscomb (65 not out) helped the Stars reach the final over requiring 22 to complete a remarkable win.

Home skipper Travis Head turned to veteran Siddle and he saw the Strikers home with two wickets as Melbourne were restricted to 151-8.

 

Handy Hinchliffe 

Clint Hinchliffe's left-arm spin had only reaped five wickets in the BBL this season but he was the Stars' best bowler while the more established Daniel Worrall and Adam Zampa struggled.

Hinchliffe took 3-19, including a sharp caught and bowled to remove Weatherald, to keep the Strikers top order from cutting loose.


Head Boy ends the 'Big Show'

Melbourne's best chance of chasing down the Adelaide total rested on the shoulders of Maxwell. 

But the 'Big Show' failed to wow the crowds as he holed out to Head off the bowling of Agar for 19.


Super Siddle shows he's still got it

The pressure was on Siddle at the beginning and end of the Melbourne innings and he delivered both times, finishing with figures of 4-33 from his four overs.

The former Australia international cleverly varied his length and pace and proved far too wily for the Stars line-up.

David Miller's magnificent unbeaten 90 proved in vain as Hobart Hurricanes' hopes of making the Big Bash League play-offs were effectively ended with a 10-run defeat to Adelaide Strikers.

After Strikers skipper Travis Head (79 from 40 balls) had lifted his side to an imposing total of 186-5, Miller threatened to pull off a dramatic rescue act in Launceston on Sunday.

The South Africa batsman, who had made just 91 runs in his previous nine innings in the competition, plundered eight fours and five sixes in a 48-ball innings that kept Hobart in the hunt after a slow start to their chase.

However, the Hurricanes were still left with too much to do. They required 21 off the final over, bowled by Peter Siddle, and could only manage 10 runs as they finished on 176-6.

Adelaide are now up to second in the table, but yet another defeat leaves Hobart staring at likely elimination.

 

MILLER DROP PROVES COSTLY

Although he finally found form with the bat, Miller was guilty of missing a significant chance when Adelaide batted.

Head had only 21 to his name when he dragged Qais Ahmad to Miller at deep square-leg, but the fielder failed to take the opportunity.

The Hurricanes were left to rue the dropped chance as Head accelerated superbly, receiving fine support from Jono Wells (45 not out).

Matt Short also made a valuable contribution late in the Strikers innings with an unbeaten 33 from 20 deliveries.

 

AGAR AND SIDDLE SEAL VICTORY

Michael Neser removed Matthew Wade in the first over of the Hobart reply, before Wes Agar and Siddle took centre stage.

Agar picked up four of the other five wickets to fall on his way to career-best figures of 4-33, while Siddle (1-26 from four overs) was key in ensuring the required rate spiralled beyond the Hurricanes' control.

With Miller in the groove, Hobart still looked to have a slim chance at the start of the last over, but the vastly experienced Siddle held his nerve.

 

Phil Salt smacked an unbeaten 67 to propel Adelaide Strikers to a 10-wicket win over Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League on Friday.

The Heat were stunningly bowled out for 100 in their innings at The Adelaide Oval, Matt Renshaw (43) and captain Chris Lynn (26) the only players to reach double figures.

Adelaide reached the modest target of 101 with 9.1 overs to spare, Salt and Jake Weatherald (33) securing their biggest BBL win ever by balls remaining.

They are third in the table with 11 points from 10 games. Brisbane are a point behind them in fifth.

BRISBANE FAIL TO HEAT UP

The visitors' innings never got going, and the Heat were two down inside the first four overs when AB de Villiers (2) was taken at deep square.

Lynn and Renshaw's stand of 35 briefly steadied the ship, but when the former went to Liam O'Connor (3-30) the Heat fell apart.

Renshaw found nothing in the way of support as a talented attack featuring Michael Neser and Rashid Khan along with Peter Siddle ripped through the Brisbane line-up.


PHIL WORTH HIS SALT

Salt has struggled for form since his half century against the Melbourne Renegades on December 29.

However, the opener proved his worth with an excellent display of ball striking.

He hit five fours and five sixes in a superb showing, with Weatherald - who found the rope six times - more than playing his part as Adelaide eased to a victory that was fittingly sealed with a Salt maximum.

Brisbane Heat romped to a seven-wicket win over Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League after skittling their opponents for 110.

The hosts were dominant in Brisbane as James Pattinson starred with the ball, claiming a five-for as Adelaide failed to bat out their 20 overs.

Left with such a meagre total to chase, the Heat initially toiled as they lost two early wickets, but Matt Renshaw and BBL debutant AB de Villiers' 77-run partnership took the game away from the visitors.

The result moves the Heat above the Strikers and into fourth.

 

PATTINSON FIVE-FOR STRANGLES STRIKERS

Each of the top five Strikers batsmen fell to Pattinson, who may not have been the most economic of the bowlers, but he was certainly the most dangerous.

Having posted 0-52 on his BBL return against Perth Scorchers at the weekend, the Australian went for 33 on Tuesday but also tallied up his victims.

Jonathan Wells (14) was the only top-order batsman to make it into double figures as the Strikers fluffed their lines badly in the powerplay. 

Rashid Khan's 28 down the order was the best contribution, but when Liam O'Connor was the last man out without scoring, it was clear Adelaide had come up well short of a competitive total. 

DE VILLIERS AND RENSHAW GET A GRIP

Perhaps there was an element of complacency in the way the Heat set about their very modest chase.

Captain Chris Lynn went for a golden duck and Max Bryant followed him after a brisk 10 from five balls.

It needed Renshaw (52) and De Villiers to get a hold on things, with the latter falling for 40 and leaving Joe Burns (10) to come in and help finish the job with 28 balls to spare.

Jonathan Wells and Matthew Short put on a big partnership before Peter Siddle led the way with the ball as the Adelaide Strikers hammered the sorry Melbourne Renegades by 63 runs.

The Strikers scored 66 from the final five overs after a sedate start, with Wells (58 off 38) and Short (41 off 28) combining for 80 runs to help set a competitive total of 173-6 at the Adelaide Oval.

It was a score the Renegades, Big Bash League champions last season, never got near with only Beau Webster (49) and Shaun Marsh (21) making double figures in a risible chase.

Siddle (3-14) was chief protagonist, while Travis Head (2-26) - playing his first BBL game of the season - did early damage and Rashid Khan (2-19) also played an influential role in bowling the visitors out for 110.

The Strikers move third in the table, while the Renegades are 0-9 in an awful defence of their title.


WELLS AND SHORT STEP UP

Phil Salt (18), Jake Weatherald (27) and Head (22) all failed to build on starts and the Strikers were 81-4 when Harry Nielsen (4) trudged back in the 11th over.

But Wells upped the ante, with his knock including five fours and a six, while Short slogged three straight over the ropes in his innings.

It was a partnership that boosted the Strikers at the right time, with each member of the Renegades attack taking a wicket bar Dan Christian.


SIDDLE SINKS RENEGADES

The Renegades were up against it right from the off, with Head sweeping up Marcus Harris (4) in the very first over.

The sensational Siddle cleared up Sam Harper (5) from his first set of six and Marsh's promise was ended by the dangerous Head.

Rashid kept things tight and earned his reward with the wicket of Mohammad Nabi (6) before also ending the valiant resistance of Webster, who clobbered 49 off 33.

Siddle then accounted for Samit Patel (8) and Christian (2), with the rest of the Renegades tail unable to stop the rot.

Birthday boy Josh Hazlewood's three-ball cameo put the seal on a fifth Big Bash League win on the bounce for Sydney Sixers as they beat Adelaide Strikers by two wickets.

The Australia star sent all three of the balls he faced to the boundary to get his side over the line with eight balls remaining.

It came after the Strikers had posted a sub-par 135 all out on home soil, Jake Weatherald (47) and Alex Carey (32) the only men to do any real damage with the bat.

Although no Sixers players could match either of those efforts, Hazlewood was one of seven to reach double figures in a more robust team innings.

HAZLEWOOD CELEBRATES IN STYLE

The Sixers were ahead of the rate but running out of wickets when Hazlewood came to the crease with eight down.

Unflustered by the precarious situation, Hazlewood set about ruining former Australia team-mate Peter Siddle's bowling figures in the penultimate over.

Having got on strike in the second ball of Siddle's set, Hazlewood quickly got into the groove and cut his mate to the rope for the first of three fours on the bounce.

It was a fitting way to celebrate his 29th birthday, with his bowling figures of 1-19 off four overs proving pretty useful, too.

 

JAKE CAN'T WEATHER THE STORM

Weatherald's knock made him the game's top scorer, but it came in a losing effort.

He played fluently in a 31-ball innings that featured seven fours and a maximum before Tom Curran's superb yorker brought the Weatherald show to a close, the bowler posting figures of 4-22.

His departure put the brakes on Adelaide's progress as nobody down the order could match Weatherald's strike rate.

 

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

It may not have been the plan, but the Sixers ended up sharing the runs around in pursuit of what was a pretty modest target.

James Vince's 27 was the biggest contribution, with Curran rounding out a superb day by adding 21 with the bat.

It was Curran's dismissal, Harry Conway's yorker giving him a taste of his own medicine, that led to Hazlewood's introduction and he put the icing on the cake.

Josh Philippe thumped an unbeaten 83 from 52 balls as Sydney Sixers continued their excellent Big Bash League campaign with a thrilling seven-wicket victory over Adelaide Strikers at Coffs Harbour.

The Sixers, beaten semi-finalists last season, made it five wins from seven outings, after limiting the Strikers to 176-6 and chasing down the target with three balls to spare.

Adelaide failed to fully capitalise on a promising start, having been 53-1 after five overs, with Josh Hazlewood's miserly spell proving pivotal.

Philippe then starred with the bat, while Justin Avendano (47) also caught the eye, and Tom Curran finished the job in style in a match that saw a comical dismissal for Matthew Short.

HAZLEWOOD HALTS STRIKERS

Adelaide looked well placed to make a big score after a fast start but Hazlewood had other ideas.

Despite taking only one wicket – that of Strikers captain Alex Carey (29) – his four-over spell was key as he conceded just 18 runs.

That stood in stark contrast to the economy rates of three of his fellow bowlers, with Ben Dwarshuis, Lloyd Pope and Curran all in double figures.

 

SHORT'S SHORT INNINGS ENDS IN COMEDY OF ERRORS

The 14th over of the Strikers' innings saw two wickets fall, with one playing out in the manner of a slapstick comedy.

After Cameron White had holed out on 18 while in search of a six, Short followed him back to the pavilion without facing a ball.

Standing at the non-striker's end as Jonathan Wells flicked a stroke towards square leg, Short saw an opportunity for two runs, then changed his mind... then changed it again when there was a misfield. 

By the time he changed his mind for a third time he was halfway down the pitch and he was then short of his ground when he was run out, even though wicketkeeper Philippe appeared to lose his grip on the ball as he whipped off the bails. 

What Wells, who finished 40 not out in a losing effort, must have made of all this as he stood safely in his crease is anyone's guess.

PHILIPPE CUTS LOOSE

Philippe was aggressive from the outset in a 52-ball knock that yielded five fours and four sixes.

Avendano joined him for a 72-run opening partnership that put the Sixers firmly on course, but the best strike rate belonged to Curran.

Coming in late and with a job still to be done, Curran faced just three balls but scored 10 runs, sealing the win with a six.

Rashid Khan's thrilling cameo was not enough to stop the Adelaide Strikers suffering their first loss of the Big Bash season against the Sydney Thunder at Adelaide Oval.

An 18-ball 40 from Rashid, which included four fours and three sixes, looked set to inspire the Strikers to a fourth straight victory on Tuesday.

However, with Adelaide needing five off the final two balls to triumph, the Afghanistan international was run out attempting an ambitious second run.

Responsibility to clinch the win subsequently fell to Wes Agar but he was unable to connect sufficiently with Chris Morris' delivery and was run out by the South African, securing a three-run triumph for the Thunder.

 

FERGUSON SETS THE TONE

The Thunder set a target of 169 for the Strikers and owed much of that to the work of Usman Khawaja (63) and Callum Ferguson (73).

The duo combined for a 73-run stand after Alex Hales (4) fell, with Ferguson racking up seven fours and two sixes in an expansive knock that saw him move top of this season's scoring charts on 229.

Those maximums came off successive Rashid deliveries, one of which was ruled a no ball, before he holed out to deep midwicket.

Peter Siddle (2-30) claimed two wickets in a final over that went for just three runs, but Ferguson's efforts ended up proving the difference.

 

WEATHERALD MILESTONE

While his opening partner Phil Salt went for a six-ball duck and the Strikers were reduced to 36-3 after 5.4 overs, Jake Weatherald ensured their chase did not entirely collapse.

He became the second Striker to reach 1,000 BBL runs, joining Travis Head, and plundered a trio of sixes off one Jonathan Cook over en route to his second fifty of the season.

However, Daniel Sams (2-32) got Weatherald on 52 with a slower delivery, and when Arjun Nair (2-19) accounted for Cameron Valente and Cameron White in the same over the hosts were in trouble at 118-7.

 

RASHID RUFFLES FEATHERS

The Strikers required 53 runs off 28 balls when Rashid walked out to the middle and he certainly looked in the mood when he launched a six that left him on his backside over deep midwicket.

His display of varied and exciting striking continued when, on the back of a four and a third six of the match, he guided a magnificent checked sweep in front of square and to the ropes.

Rashid's back-to-back fours off Morris put Adelaide in position to snatch victory in the final over, but the Thunder just about managed to hold them off and seal an enthralling win.

Rashid Khan starred as Adelaide Strikers continued Melbourne Renegades' Big Bash League misery with an 18-run win at Docklands Stadium.

The Renegades have now lost four out of four in this season's competition, with their chase of the Strikers' 155-6 decisively compromised by losing three wickets – including two run outs – in the 13th over.

Rashid sharply threw down Aaron Finch's stumps from backward point to start the mini-collapse from the delivery after Australia's limited overs captain reached 50.

The Afghanistan leg-spinner had already bowled the experienced Shaun Marsh for 16 and accounted for Will Sutherland with a wonderful googly.

Rashid's figures of 2-15 from his four overs should have been even more handsome, with Beau Webster given an unusual lbw reprieve.

Webster (37 not out) set himself up for the big finish but excellent death bowling from Wes Agar (2-20) and Cameron Valente (2-36) finished the job.

Adelaide got off to a flyer, thanks almost entirely to Phil Salt's blistering 54 off 26 deliveries – Renegades paceman Richard Gleeson shipping some brutal punishment.

Cameron Boyce held a return catch to end Salt's fun and returned economical figures of 2-18.

Dan Christian (0-17) also put the squeeze on but was the second ambling run out in the Renegade's nightmare over, which also saw Marcus Harris flick an awful shot off Agar straight to deep square leg.

Kane Richardson, the pick of the Adelaide attack with 4-33, was the last man out in their 137-8 as Salt concluded a fine outing by catching him at long-off to give Valente his second wicket.

Scratch leaves Renegades in with a sniff

Webster was not alone in failing to pick the mercurial Rashid effectively and he was hit on the pad to prompt a loud appeal. The Adelaide players joined their star spinner in celebration as Greg Davidson raised his hand. However, the umpire proceeded to scratch his nose in an exaggerated manner and not raise his finger, meaning Rashid's joy turned to confusion.

Hawkeye showed the ball would have crashed into leg stump. Davidson later explained he changed his decision at the last moment, adjudging Webster to have got an inside edge.

Salt piles misery on Gleeson

Gleeson came into the match with a BBL economy rate of 10.6 and the Lancashire seamer's struggles continued at the hands of Salt. He could count himself unfortunate to an extent, as one of Salt's five fours from his second over was a thick outside edge past the wicketkeeper, but it was a punishing and decisive passage in a game where runs were otherwise hard-earned.

Siddle earns warm ovation

It was an emotional day for experienced seamer Peter Siddle, who announced his retirement from international cricket. Although he went wicketless in his four overs, Siddle could celebrate undefeated Adelaide moving to the top of the BBL standings.

Peter Siddle's impressive death bowling held off Melbourne Stars as Adelaide Strikers handed them their first loss of the Big Bash League season with a five-run victory.

Australia international Siddle returned figures of 3-24 from his four overs, claiming the key wickets of Glenn Maxwell and Ben Dunk to ensure the Strikers defended their total of 174-4.

Jonathan Wells wrested control away from the Stars and ended with an unbeaten 68 off 46 deliveries – an 89-run partnership with Alex Carey anchoring the Strikers' innings.

Melbourne lost Nic Maddinson and Hilton Cartwright early on and were 66-3 when Maxwell went out to the middle for the final ball of the 10th over.

All-rounder Maxwell racked up four maximums in a blistering 43-run knock but chopped onto his middle stump when attempting a reverse scoop off Siddle.

Nathan Coulter-Nile (20 not out) kept the Stars in contention and with the visitors requiring six runs from the final two deliveries, Siddle picked out Dunk's leg stump with a sweet yorker and denied Adam Zampa a match-winning moment on the final ball to clinch a dramatic victory as Melbourne finished with 169-6.

 

STEYN GETS A TOUGH WELCOME

After starting his BBL career with a dot ball, Dale Steyn was launched for back-to-back sixes by Jake Weatherald.

The Strikers opener was not finished there either, finding the ropes twice more in succession – the second drilled to the boundary past a diving mid off.

However, Steyn got his revenge when Weatherald ballooned him to mid on to become the first wicket to fall.

WELLS' ACCELARATION KEY

The Stars appeared to have everything under control until Wells claimed the Strikers' first boundary in 34 deliveries, though there was more than a slice of luck about it as Cartwright spilled an absolute dolly off Zampa on the ropes.

That over proved to be the foundation of a surge that saw Wells claim 51 off the last 26 balls he faced, sealing a second fifty of this BBL.

He finished with a stunning 13-ball partnership worth 32 alongside Rashid Khan, a prolific spell that ended up proving key to the victory.

 

MAXWELL COMES UNDONE

After Khan had Peter Handscomb (34) stumped off a googly, Maxwell decided it was time to cut loose. He launched the next ball to Wells at wide long on and had a six when the ball slipped through the Strikers fielder's grasp.

Maxwell bludgeoned Cameron Valente into the top tier and dispatched Ashton Agar for a pair of maximums in the 16th over to bring victory into the Stars' sights.

However, his flamboyance proved his undoing and Siddle held his nerve in a tense finale to ensure the Strikers made it back-to-back victories.

Jake Weatherald's electric 83 and a swift half-century from Alex Carey set the Adelaide Strikers on their way before Rashid Khan played a crucial role in an entertaining 15-run victory over the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

The Strikers made an impressive 198-4 from 18 overs after a rain delay led to a slightly shortened match, with Weatherald putting on 86 for the second wicket with Matt Short (34).

Carey whacked 55 off just 24 balls as the Strikers posted an imposing total at Adelaide Oval in the annual Indigenous celebration match on Monday.

The Scorchers made a flying start in reply, with Josh Inglis (50) and Liam Livingstone (69) putting on 124 for the first wicket.

But the brilliant Rashid (3-40) stopped the Scorchers in their tracks, dismissing both openers and quickly removing Ashton Turner (4) as the runs dried up for the visitors, who were 183-7 after their 18 overs.

The Strikers are consequently up and running for the campaign, while the Scorchers have lost two of their three matches.


WEATHER GRIM, WEATHERALD BRILLIANT

A rain shower early in the Strikers' innings caused a slight delay but it did little to dampen the spirits of Weatherald.

The opener cracked three sixes and 10 fours from 47 deliveries before being brilliantly run out by Jhye Richardson.

He may have fallen short of what would have been a deserved century but Carey dished out more punishment, adding a brisk 55 - including eight fours and a couple of sixes.

 

LIVINGSTONE, INGLIS MAKE STRIKERS SWEAT

Livingstone earned a maiden BBL fifty off just his 21st delivery with a mammoth strike over deep square leg in the eighth over and followed that up with another wallop for six.

He contributed seven sixes and five fours in a bulldozing knock, while Inglis was also flying with a half-century of his own.

The duo helped the Scorchers reach 124 for no loss, but then spinner Rashid had his say.

 

RASHID ROCKS SCORCHERS REPLY

It was not Rashid's best delivery by any means but Livingstone paid the price for an ill-advised front-front slog that resulted only in holing out to Phil Salt in the deep.

From the very next ball, the brilliant Rashid saw the back of Inglis to completely alter the momentum of the game.

Turner fared little better, edging behind off Rashid in the 11th over. From there, only three players added double-digit scores with Wes Agar (2-36) playing his part.

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