BBL: Smith smashes first BBL ton ac Sixers route Strikers in Big Bash 2023, Match 45

BBL12, Sixers win their fourth consecutive match and are engaged in a fight with Scorchers for the top place, Sydney Sixers 203 for 5 (Smith 101, Patterson 43, Agar 2-48) defeated Adelaide Strikers 144 all out (Carey 54, Dwarshuis 3-28) by 59 runs. Steve Smith hit his maiden BBL century to lead the in-form Sydney Sixers to a 59-run win against the Adelaide Strikers at Coffs Harbour.

Smith excelled at the top of the order when the Sixers were brought in, enjoying the small boundaries in a searing knock of 101 off 56 balls. He controlled a 149-run second-wicket stand with Kurtis Patterson, the biggest stand of the BBL season, as Sixers completed a massive total that proved much beyond Strikers. Sixers won their fourth consecutive match and stay tied for first place in the BBL with archrival Perth Scorchers, while Strikers are stuck in mid-table.

BBL12, Smith profits from his good fortune

BBL Smith smashes first BBL ton ac Sixers route Strikers in Big Bash 2023, Match 45

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Smith showed flashes of his best at the top of the order in his much-anticipated BBL comeback against the Scorchers before falling for 36. Smith lived dangerously early in his bat against the Strikers, and he was fortunate to have survived on two. Trying to defend a length delivery from fast Harry Conway, the ball slid back and struck the stumps but failed to remove the bails, much to the bowler’s chagrin. Conway’s mood was ruined even more when Smith hit a six on the following delivery. Smith’s night was obviously on when he edged a ball from fast Henry Thornton that bounced in front of wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

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Smith then cashed in with frantic big-hitting that defied his type and blew past his previous best BBL score of 66. He also used ramps and reverse sweeps to help Smith attain his tonne with his seventh six. However, he was run out in the next over after losing his balance rushing back to his crease after captain Moises Henriques refused a second run. Smith earned the Sixers’ first centurion, breaking a long-standing curse for the three-time BBL winners. His lone prior T20 century came in the IPL in 2016 when Smith demonstrated his increased freedom after his much-discussed mechanical development. It was also a message to national selectors after Smith’s exclusion from the recent T20 World Cup.

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Thornton’s difficult run continues

Thornton has lately been in and out of the lineup after a scorching start to the season that included an amazing 5 for 3 against Sydney Thunder. Thornton was recalled with experienced fast Peter Siddle out with a back injury, as Thornton sought to improve his performance. He got off to a good start in the third over, evoking flashbacks of his early-season exploits. However, it was all downhill from there, with Thornton allowing 13 runs in the 18th over to end with 0 for 28 in three overs. It was perhaps instructive that Thornton did not bowl his entire four overs, with trust in him seeming to wane as he battled for a permanent spot in the squad.

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Murphy had a career-high haul

Todd Murphy, a developing offspinner who was a bolter in Australia’s Test team for their forthcoming tour to India, has sparked a lot of attention. He bowled first and was up against Travis Head and BBL top scorer Matt Short, who blasted a six on the fourth ball. Murphy, known for his aggressiveness and maturity for his age, came back in the seventh over with the crucial wicket of Short. He also took the wickets of Adam Hose and Ben Manenti, helped by a fantastic diving catch from Henriques, for a BBL career-high 3 for 35 from four overs.

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In vain, Carey notches a pristine half-century

With wickets dropping at an alarming rate, the Strikers’ slim prospects relied on Carey, who made just two against the Brisbane Heat in his BBL season debut. Carey seemed to be in good form and was especially deadly on short-pitched bowling. With the needed run-rate for Strikers increasing, he put the foot down during the power surge with a planned leg-side attack on fast Sean Abbott. Carey hit a magnificent half-century off 32 balls before being bowled by seamer Ben Dwarshuis, essentially ending Strikers’ prospects.

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