Strikers book maiden final appearance
Adelaide Strikers are in their first Big Bash League final, after a tense one-run victory over Melbourne Renegades.
The Strikers, who had held off a Renegades run-chase in their previous meeting in Melbourne, did so again but only just.
Paceman Ben Laughlin needed to prevent the Renegades scoring three runs off the final delivery at Adelaide Oval.
His ball beat the swing of West Indian batsman Kieron Pollard, who could only scamper one bye as Adelaide made it through to face Hobart Hurricanes in Sunday's final.
Laughlin admitted afterwards it had been more by luck than by skilful execution that his final ball had beaten the bat.
"It was a horrible length ball that didn't come out really well," he said. "Sometimes you get lucky though, don't you?
"It's either I hit and we win, or he hits and they win. You know halfway down...that it wasn't right. I was wishing it would all come together and I got lucky."
The Strikers were helped in that captain Travis Head was given a late release from the Australia T20 squad to lead his side in the semi-final.
He scored an unbeaten 85 from 57 balls as the hosts made 178-5, and then claimed the key wicket of Renegades opener Marcus Harris, who had blasted 45 off 29 deliveries.
Harris and Tim Ludeman (28 off 20 balls) shared a brisk 71-run stand but were then both out in a five-ball span.
A 52-run partnership between Tom Cooper (36 not out) and Dwayne Bravo (26 from 16 balls) put the Renegades back in with a shout, but after Bravo's dismissal they still required 39 from the last four overs.
Pollard and Cooper needed 13 from the final six balls bowled by Laughlin.
Earlier, Head and opener Jake Weatherald (57 from 43 balls) combined for a 104-run second-wicket partnership from only 76 deliveries.
Adelaide Strikers are 1.85 to win the Big Bash League final, with Hobart Hurricanes 2.00.
Travis Head is 3.50 to be the Strikers top batsman.
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