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Strikers smash Stars, go to second in BBL

AAP logoAAP 6 days ago Steve Barrett

Wes Agar of the Adelaide Strikers © Mark Brake/Getty Images Wes Agar of the Adelaide Strikers The Adelaide Strikers have climbed to second spot on the BBL ladder after belting the Melbourne Stars by 41 runs.

The Strikers blasted 5-178 before knocking the Stars over for 137 in front of 30,392 fans at Adelaide Oval.

Openers Evan Gulbis (37) and Ben Dunk (25) started briskly as the Stars marched to 49 without loss from the first five overs but after that only Dwayne Bravo (33) made any impression.

Dunk's departure, courtesy of a fine outfield catch from Michael Neser off Ben Laughlin (3-19), kickstarted a 4-15 collapse which the Stars, despite the best efforts of Bravo, never recovered from.

Wes Agar (2-33) bowled Gulbis for his maiden BBL scalp while legspinner Liam O'Connor (2-33) captured the key wickets of in-form Nick Larkin and captain Nic Maddison (five) to slog sweeps and Neser snared 2-32.

With the asking rate climbing, Bravo launched O'Connor for a couple of sixes but wickets continued to tumble around him and the West Indian superstar eventually holed out to Neser off Rashid Khan to put the result beyond doubt.

Laughlin praised the way the Strikers batsmen surged late to give the bowlers a strong score to defend.

"180 was looking pretty unlikely halfway through," he said.

"With wickets in hand, the boys played really well through the middle.

"Jonny Wells finished it off perfectly for us which he's done two or three times this season."

Plunkett was disappointed with the way the Stars bowlers allowed Adelaide to plunder runs freely square of the wicket.

"They're used to the dimensions here and they're a good team, they won it last year," he said.

"We started really well but disappointed with the way we went in the middle (overs)."

Earlier, the Strikers overcame a sluggish start before vice-captain Colin Ingram (57), skipper Travis Head (43) and Jon Wells (32no) blasted them into a match-winning position.

The hosts crunched 138 off their last 12 overs after they were battling at 2-40 off the first eight, following the early exits of Matt Short (one) and Jake Weatherald (15).

Head dispatched Liam Plunkett for three successive sixes but the experienced Englishman had the last laugh when the Strikers captain's attempt at a fourth six landed in Jackson Bird's hands.

Plunkett (4-36) snared the dangerous Ingram and pinch-hitter Rashid before Wells produced a stunning 14-ball cameo.

Wells, who now has 166 BBL runs at 83 this season, was merciless on Bravo (0-51 off four) who went for 23 in the last over to leave the Stars reeling.

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