A dramatic batting collapse has cost the Sydney Thunder a chance to lock in a BBL finals spot in a six-run loss to Adelaide Strikers.
Thunder quick Adam Milne bowled a record 20 dot balls and claimed 1-6 from four overs at Adelaide Oval on Sunday to play a lead role in restricting the Strikers to 6-159.
In reply, the Thunder were cruising at 1-71 after nine overs, with Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson seemingly in control of the chase just two days after their team whacked a BBL record 5-232 against Sydney Sixers at the same ground.
But the Thunder lost four wickets in the next three overs as Khawaja (36) and Ferguson (22) failed to cash in on their positive starts.
Strikers bowlers Peter Siddle (2-22, four overs) and Michael Neser (2-17, three overs) impressed and Jake Weatherald took a one-handed screamer at backward point to remove Thunder X-factor Alex Ross (18).
Late hitting from Ben Cutting (24 not out) and injured tailender Daniel McAndrew (17 not out) gave the Thunder a sniff but they ultimately fell short, posting 7-153 from their 20 overs.
McAndrew had earlier copped a nasty blow to his non-bowling hand while attempting a lightning return catch off Salt and left the field briefly for treatment.
Milne conceded just two runs from two overs during the Strikers' opening power play and combined with Brendan Doggett (2-21) to restrict the Strikers to 1-7 in their two-over power surge.
Strikers batsmen Alex Carey (29), Jake Weatherald, Phil Salt and Travis Head (31 each) all made starts without going on to big scores, but it didn't matter in the end.
"The surge probably cost us a little bit of our (batting) momentum and the bash boost changed it for them," Siddle said.
"They were chasing it, we got a couple of wickets and built a little bit of pressure and got back in front.
"It was a bit of a rollercoaster throughout that match but it was nice to get over the line."
The Strikers' win and additional bonus point saw them leapfrog their opponents into third spot on a congested table.
The same teams meet again at the same venue on Monday to wrap up their regular-season commitments.
The enticing fixture sees both teams still seeking a win to lock in a finals spot, while the loser will have to rely on other matches going their way.
"We're in a pretty good position," Siddle said.
"It's all in our hands again (on Monday) to get the job done and once finals comes anything can happen."
Australian Associated Press