Captain Peter Siddle has described Matt Short's all-round contributions as "perfect" for the rampaging Adelaide Strikers, who are two wins away from a shock berth in the BBL decider.
Short, who opens the batting and bowling, crafted the finest innings of his career to mastermind the Strikers' 22-run triumph over the Hobart Hurricanes in Friday night's eliminator, crunching 89 off 48 deliveries, including six sixes.
He also captured the key scalp of Ben McDermott, the competition's leading run-scorer, in the first over of the Hurricanes' chase.
Virtually glued to the bench a year ago, Short (448 runs at 34.46) now trails only McDermott and Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell for most runs this campaign, while his economy rate (6.99) is second to Rashid Khan among the Strikers' bowlers.
Short's performances with bat and ball during the powerplay overs have been a feature of the Strikers' meteoric late-season rise.
"When we lost 'Kez' (Alex Carey) and 'Heady' (Travis Head) early on to national duties, we needed someone to really stand up with the bat," Siddle said,
"Shorty got that opportunity and his numbers speak for themselves.
"He's taken his chance and been perfect for us.
"Throw in a few overs with the ball, he's doing a great job."
The victory extended the Strikers winning streak to five, catapulting them from bottom place 11 days ago to a knockout final tilt against third-placed Sydney Thunder at the MCG this Sunday.
"It's amazing," Siddle said.
"You go back a week-and-a-half ago, we were dead last and our season was pretty much done.
"We've been asking for individuals throughout the season to stand up and we didn't have that in the first half.
"Ever since the turnaround there's been blokes standing up left, right and centre.
"It's been an amazing turnaround."
Meanwhile, Hurricanes skipper Matthew Wade reflected on a shambolic fielding performance and another underwhelming powerplay from his ousted side.
Tom Rogers dropped an absolute sitter when Short was on 15 and Carey was reprieved twice en route to his 67.
"We've been pretty sluggish in the field the whole tournament," Wade said.
"Our starts haven't been great either, to be honest, in the powerplay throughout the last three, four weeks.
"Teams have got off to flyers the first six, seven overs and we've been chasing our tails a bit."
Australian Associated Press
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