Australia batsman Usman Khawaja stole the show as Sydney Thunder eased past Adil Rashid‘s Adelaide Strikers to book their place in Sunday’s Big Bash League final.
Khawaja made light work of Sydney’s victory target of 160, the opener moving to 104 from just 59 deliveries with the winning run off Rashid, who had earlier given the Strikers a chance by smashing 14 from the final three balls of the innings.
Adelaide had struggled for momentum throughout their 20 overs after losing Mahela Jayawardene and Tim Ludeman early.
Alex Ross top-scored with 47 and Michael Neser chipped in with a quick-fire 27 before Rashid, batting at number eight, hit two fours and a six from the three deliveries he faced to propel the Strikers to 159 for seven.
The England all-rounder went into today’s semi-final at the Adelaide Oval as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker but when he was introduced into the attack in the eighth over, Khawaja was 65 not out off only 31 balls with Sydney 84 for one.
Rashid had Michael Hussey caught behind with his fifth delivery but he could not prevent Sydney from easing to an eight-wicket win with 14 balls to spare.
Leicestershire’s Clint McKay’s 3-44 saw him leapfrog Rashid at the top of the wicket-taking list, and the former Australia seamer will have the opportunity to add to his 17 scalps against either Perth Scorchers or Melbourne Stars in the Thunder’s maiden BBL final.
Rashid, who finished his campaign with 16 wickets and a respectable ecomony rate of 6.51, is now set to link up with England’s limited-overs side for five one-day internationals and two T20s against South Africa.