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HomeNewsCricket 2022: Strikers’ Matt Short has Thunder on high alert

Cricket 2022: Strikers’ Matt Short has Thunder on high alert

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It’s pretty easy to see where the Thunder’s strength lies with a couple of international superstars lurking in the top three, but there’s a homegrown talent headlining the Strikers who’s ready to upstage his big-name rivals on Friday night.

In a competition dominated by some of the world’s greatest players, Matt Short quietly went about his business in BBL|11 to finish the season with the second-most sixes (26) and the third-most runs (493).

Not even Nostradamus would’ve predicted his rapid rise given Short had only scored 458 runs in his previous six BBL campaigns, with the all-rounder moved up and down the order with no clear directive.

But he’s now one of the most feared openers in the game after he made the permanent switch to the top last year, and he showed in Adelaide’s first-up win over the Sixers that he has maintained the rage with 84 off 53 balls in a player of the match performance.

“I don’t think he’s flown under the radar,” Strikers skipper Peter Siddle told the NCA NewsWire.

“I think it was a question of people wondering if he could reach the heights that he did at the back-end of last summer. Wednesday was the perfect start for him and you can tell that he’s confident and believes in himself that last year wasn’t a fluke.

“Last year was all about finding a position for him because he’s been thrown around for a few years and hasn’t been able to lock down a spot.

“We found that spot for him last year and he got all the confidence from being at the top of the order. He’s fearless and we saw that against the Sixers.”

Short’s brutal knock almost never happened after he was given out LBW in the second over when he was on one, but a late nudge in the right direction from new teammate Chris Lynn proved telling with replays showing the ball would’ve narrowly missed leg stump.

Games can be decided by calls like that, and while it was by no means a shocking decision, it did swing the result Adelaide’s way.

“The one with Matt wasn’t the reason we were pushing for it to come in, but it was certainly the benefit of having the DRS,” Siddle said.

“It was brought in to get rid of the howler because they change games more than the close ones that went in our favour against the Sixers.”

A year after he finished as the competition’s leading wicket-taker, Siddle had the frugal figures of 0-20 as Henry Thornton and Rashid Khan bowled the Strikers to victory.

Bowling has long been the Strikers’ biggest strength, and it’s why their skipper is confident they can handle the Thunder’s world-class batters to back up last season’s win in the finals.

“They’ve got some big ins with guys like Alex Hales and Rilee Rossouw,” he said.

“They didn’t get many runs the other night, but they’re very dangerous players.

“We’ll have to watch out for them, but we have a balanced attack with guys who complement each other, and that makes my job a lot easier.”

Friday’s clash will be the first at Spotless Stadium in Sydney’s west as the Thunder looks for back-to-back wins to start the season.

It’ll be a special night for new captain Jason Sangha who is looking forward to representing a community that worships the team.

“I can remember watching BBL|01 when David Warner and Chris Gayle were opening the batting for the Thunder,” he said.

“I was glued back then and I knew it was a club that I wanted to follow. Fast forward 12 seasons and I’m now captaining, so it’s pretty surreal.

“We’ve got such a big Southeast Asian community in western Sydney, so for me to be a role model for all the kids out there, hopefully it inspires the next generation to want to do the same.

“There’s a deeper meaning than me just being a captain on the field, and I want to make sure that the other guys and I can inspire people like Warner and Gayle did for me.”

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