Big Bash: Head heroics help Strikers chase down 177 to beat Sixers

Adelaide Strikers 182-5 (19.3 overs, Head 101*, Dwarshius 3/25) beat the Sydney Sixers 176-5 (20 overs, Haddin 54*, Botha 38*, Rashid 3/34) by five wickets with three balls remaining. 

In the final cricket game of 2015, the New Year's fireworks started early at the Adelaide Oval thanks to a young Australian batsman who looks destined for the top. 

With the Adelaide Strikers chasing 177 for victory, Travis Head struck an incredible century to turn the game on its head, with the Sydney Sixers looking certain to win late in the second innings of the match. 

22-year-old Head smashed nine sixes in his 53-ball innnings to lead the home side Strikers home, dominating the final wicket partnership with Adil Rashid who scored two runs from the one ball he faced. 

Sean Abbott went the distance for the Sixers at the death, with Head taking 45 runs from Abbott's final nine deliveries to move the Strikers up to second in the Big Bash table behind the unbeaten Sydney Thunder

Sixers crumble after fast start

After being inserted by the home side, the Sixers got their innings off to an excellent start through season debutant Ed Cowan (43 off 32) and Michael Lumb (31 off 23) with the pair adding 66 in the first seven overs before Lumb fell to Hamish Kingston who was playing his first Big Bash game. 

The Strikers then continued to turn the screw, with Rashid continuing his excellent start to the competition with three wickets from his four overs as Sydney collapsed to 105-5 with six overs remaining. 

Haddin and Botha smash target past 170

With the hopes of the Sixers resting on Brad Haddin and Johan Botha, the pair didn't disappoint, adding an unbeaten 71-run partnership to take the visitors total to 176 from their 20 overs. 

Both struck 38 from his 20 deliveries which included four boundaries and one six, whilst Haddin scored an unbeaten 54 from 35 balls, which included four maximums. There was a moment of controversy in the final over, when Haddin edged Ben Laughlin behind but decided not to walk, with the umpire instead signalling a wide ball which led to some choice words between the bowler and the batsman. 

Head dominates final overs to take Strikers home

The Strikers chase started well, thanks mainly to Craig Simmons who hit a quickfire 25 before falling to Jackson Bird with the total at 46 inside five overs. Simmons was soon followed by to the dugout by his opening partner Tim Ludeman (26) and Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene (6) who became the first of Ben Dwarshius' three wickets. 

After steadying the innings with 17 from 18 balls, captain Brad Hodge was caught on the boundary off Dwarshius, with the big-hitting Alex Ross falling in similar fashion for one in the 17th over to leave the Strikers still needing 54 from 21 deliveries. 

That's when Head started to get going, with the diminutive left-hander hitting 57 of the final 59 runs to lead the Strikers to the most unlikely of victories. The 18th over which was delivered by Abbott went for 27, all from the bat of Head, and included three sixes and a pair of fours to bring the required rate down to 12 for the final two overs. 

Head then took 11 from the penultimate over of the game delievered by Doug Bollinger, which was followed by yet more carnage off Abbott, with Head striking three consecutive sixes over the leg-side boundary to lead the Strikers home with three balls to spare. 

The Adelaide crowd upwards of 45,000 witnessed a cracking end to the year, with one of the most memorable innings of the year. 

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