CRICKET: A terrific all-round display from Michael Neser has guided Adelaide Strikers to a thumping 56-run New Year's Eve victory over Brisbane Heat in front of 46,594 spectators at Adelaide Oval.
Neser followed his career-best unbeaten 40 with 2-7 with the ball, including the key scalp of Heat skipper Brendon McCullum, as the Strikers comfortably defended their 7-147 to catapult to top spot on the BBL table.
The Heat were bowled out for just 91 in 16.2 overs after their top order was blown away, the visitors' stunning 4-7 collapse in the space of 14 deliveries leaving them reeling at 4-15.
The batting collapse wasn't without controversy though, with teenage leggie Rashid Khan contentiously dismissing Heat master blaster Chris Lynn, caught behind for a three-ball duck.
The laid-back Lynn looked noticeably annoyed as the umpire raised his finger, with television replays suggesting no contact was made with the ball by his bat, which scraped the ground.
Former Test opener Joe Burns (1) was undone by a searing Billy Stanlake short ball, miscuing a skied ball to Rashid, before man-of-the-match Neser skittled ex-Striker Alex Ross (1) with his first delivery of the night.
Brisbane held a glimmer of hope while McCullum was still in the middle but when the Kiwi talisman hoicked Neser down Jake Lehmann's throat at long-on for a relatively subdued 15, the Heat were 6-56 and it was game over. Ben Laughlin (3-11) bulldozed Brisbane's lower order while Rashid (2-19) was outstanding again.
Earlier, Neser's aggressive batting steered the Strikers out of trouble after wily Pakistan legspinner Yasir Shah (2-8) had applied the clamps in an impressive BBL debut.
Yasir's variations bamboozled the Strikers' batsmen, particularly Head who was bowled by a wrong 'un after a build-up of dots.
Left-arm seamer Josh Lalor took 3-40 but copped some big hitting from Neser whose late rally helped Adelaide score 57 off the last five overs, which proved decisive.
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