The New Year's Eve fireworks were ignited in Adelaide by local hero Travis Head, who guided his team to an incredible five-wicket victory — and himself to a brutal 101 runs which included nine sixes and four boundaries — after being set 177 by the Sydney Sixers.
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Dazzling century by Travis Head leads the Adelaide Strikers to a nailbiting five-wicket victory over the Sydney Sixers.
Head plundered his century from 53 deliveries, bringing the 46,389-strong crowd to its feet when he brought up his hundred — and the win — with his third consecutive six off the final over bowled by Sean Abbott.
It was epic. Head hammered 56 off the final 15 deliveries he faced. With three overs remaining, the Strikers looked out of the hunt with 51 needed for victory but Head kept his, well, head. He made 27 runs off Abbott's second last over; 11 off Bollinger in the 19th then blasted three consecutive sixes off the distraught Abbott.
It was a spectacular finish, but Head admitted after perhaps the BBL's greatest ever innings, he had concerns the job might have been beyond him as the pressure mounted. "I thought at one stage we were done," he told Channel 10. "I've been pretty not so great in this tournament so far and I hardly felt like I've contributed to the team ... it's nice to get some runs."
It was a match played with plenty of feeling after the Strikers were adamant they had cricket's great street-fighter, Brad Haddin, caught behind during his unconquered 54.
Haddin stood his ground and offered a few "friendly" words of advice to Ben Laughlin, as the bowler let Haddin know what he thought when the umpire called the delivery a wide after he and wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman appealed for the wicket.
"The umpire's there to make a decision and he gave it not out and Ben, he didn't take too nicely to it," Haddin said of the flashpoint in the final over. "It didn't affect us because the three overs previous we found it really hard to hit him. I think he just got a little bit caught up in the emotion of the game for that last over."
It was a fiery ending to an innings played in sweltering 33-degree heat and a dramatic postscript was news Haddin strained his groin running through for a single off the final ball of the innings.
It was a terrible blow for the Sixers and will further test their depth after losing their skipper Moises Henriques with a calf injury during the recent match against the Melbourne Stars.
Openers Ed Cowan and Michael Lumb launched their team off to a flying start with a 66-run stand, but a series of wickets that fell cheaply to a combination of rash shots and some superb spin by the Strikers' English import, Adil Rashid, who took 3-34, threatened to derail the charge.
The Sixers needed the calm head of Haddin and former Strikers captain Johan Botha, who belted an invaluable 38 not out from 20 balls, for a 71-run stand which helped provide their bowlers with a decent target.
Adelaide's opener Craig Simmons made his intentions clear when he whacked three boundaries off Jackson Bird's first over and the Strikers' run chase was assisted by dropped catches and even the unthinkable in Twenty20 - four overthrows.
While the Sixers seemed to rein the Strikers in, it merely set the scene for Head to explode.