Weatherald rises to the occasion again

Strikers opener downplays knack for timely big scores but has stunning record in finals cricket

Martin Smith

5 February 2018, 03:01 PM AEST

Big Bash hero Jake Weatherald denies he's a man for the big occasion despite a match-winning century on Sunday that guided his Adelaide Strikers to their first BBL title.

Weatherald saved his first T20 century for one of the biggest games in Australian cricket, thrilling more than 40,000 fans at the Adelaide Oval as the Strikers won by 25 runs.

Weatherald lights up BBL final with spectacular ton

It's the left-hander's sixth score of 50 or more (including two centuries) in eight innings in finals or semi-finals at domestic level, but the 23-year-old dismissed any suggestion that the big games bring the best out of him.

"I don't think so, I think it's just luck in the end," he said.

"I wouldn't say that I bat any better or any worse in these games. It just happens to fall in these games that I make runs.

Strikers fans, players celebrate first ever BBL title

"It's a good thing to do, but I wouldn't say there's anything to it."

Weatherald's impressive run in the biggest games started in just his fourth first-class match when he posted an impressive double of 66 and 96 in the 2016 Sheffield Shield final against Victoria.

Batting first on a surface that offered some swing and seam, the opener stunned the Bushrangers when he crunched 13 boundaries inside the first 20 overs of the match in a 61-ball effort before finding the rope another 12 times in a far more sedate performance in the second innings.

Weatherald wows with rapid 66

He scored another half-century in the second innings of last season's Shield final, again against Victoria, and took down the Bushrangers once more in the elimination final of this summer's JLT One-Day Cup, hammering 15 fours and a six in a score of 116.

While he missed out in the final of the one-day cup, his returns of 57 (from 43 balls) and 115 (from 70 deliveries) in the knockout stage of BBL|07 were crucial to the Strikers lifting the trophy.

And his blazing century on Sunday was made even more remarkable by the fact he conceded he "didn’t feel that great" when he walked out to bat.

"I was super nervous before the game and I didn't get much sleep the night before," he said.

Weatherald crashes crucial elimination final ton

"It's really good to perform when I really needed it and the team needed it, so I'm pretty happy.

"Performing in front of 40,000 people is an amazing feeling."

In a good omen for Weatherald, he joined an elite group of players – Moises Henriques, Nathan Hauritz, Brad Hogg, Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja and Jhye Richardson – to have won the Player of the Match award in a BBL decider.

Weatherald soaks up his first major win at domestic level // Getty
Weatherald soaks up his first major win at domestic level // Getty

The other members of that group have all represented Australia and with an already proven record on the big stage, the signs are that a step up to international level would not be beyond the 23-year-old.


2016 Sheffield Shield Final: 66 & 96 2017 Sheffield Shield Final: 2 & 60 2017 JLT One-Day Cup Elimination Final: 116 2017 JLT One-Day Cup Final: 4 2018 KFC BBL Semi-Final: 57 2018 KFC BBL Final: 115