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A champion team will always beat a team of champions.

It’s a popular sports adage that rings true for the Adelaide Strikers’ title-winning BBL|07 campaign.

Adelaide overcame a chorus of naysayers and a host of challenges on and off the pitch on its way to a maiden Big Bash championship.

Travis Head, the youngest captain in the club’s history, assumed the reins of a new-look Strikers line-up for the expanded BBL|07 season. Some of the new faces included Afghanistan spin sensation Rashid Khan, South African big-hitter Colin Ingram and former Australian Test seamer Peter Siddle, among others.

It wasn’t a squad of stars but a star squad of ‘good people’ willing to work together as one to achieve the ultimate goal.

And they did it in dominant fashion on the BBL’s biggest stage.

Strikers skipper Travis Head displays the silverware. 

The Strikers smashed their way to a club-record score of 2/202, led by a stunning 115 from 70 balls from left-hander Jake Weatherald, as they set themselves up for championship glory in the tournament final. Adelaide Oval roared as Siddle tore through the Hobart Hurricanes with 3/17 to finish the fairytale and secure the club’s first piece of Big Bash silverware.

The emphatic 25-run grand final win culminated a campaign which captured the imagination of the town and cricket lovers across the country.

The squad clicked immediately under the guidance of returning coach Jason Gillespie, winning their opening three matches.

Big Bash is often known as a batter’s paradise but it was the Strikers’ dynamic bowling which turned heads in the early games.

Teenage leg-spinner Rashid quickly became a cult figure of the competition with his devastating array of deliveries and infectious celebrations. He earned Player of the Match honours on debut against the Thunder and continued his sizzling form throughout the summer to finish as the tournament’s equal-top wicket-taker, with 18 at 13.8.

Medium-pacer Ben Laughlin cemented his status as a genuine matchwinner. The BBL’s all-time leading wicket-taker added another 16 scalps to his career tally and bowled Adelaide into its first BBL final with a clutch over at the death of the Strikers’ semi-final thriller against Melbourne Renegades.

He also combined with Weatherald to complete, arguably, the greatest catch in the history of Big Bash cricket – again against the Renegades.

Jake Weatherald basks in the Strikers’ victory. 

Siddle claimed wickets regularly with his blend of experience and consistency, while towering tall Billy Stanlake struck fear into batsmen across the competition with his aggression, bounce and sheer pace.

Allrounder Michael Neser played vital roles with bat and ball, coolly closing out the Strikers’ second win of the season against the Sixers at the SCG and blasting a career-best unbeaten 40 against the Heat to maintain Adelaide’s undefeated New Year’s Eve record.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey continued his meteoric rise with a deserved century against the Hurricanes at home in a club-record 171-run partnership with fellow opener Weatherald. He was promptly promoted to the Australian ODI squad and made his T20I debut later in the summer.

The 26-year-old, who had just one Big Bash match to his name leading into BBL|07, set a new tournament record for most dismissals by a keeper in a Big Bash season with 14 catches alongside the most runs by a Striker (443) in a single summer.

Head couldn’t have asked for a better first season as Strikers skipper. He averaged 53.4 with the willow and finished fourth on the BBL|07 runscorers list despite missing three matches with ODI commitments.

Success extended beyond the field too.

The inaugural Big Bash match in Alice Springs against Perth spread the joy of the BBL into the heart of Australia as 4000 fans flocked to Traeger Park to witness both teams compete for the newly-coined Jason Gillespie Trophy.

The Strikers also set a new home attendance record. Nearly 250,000 fans poured through the gates at Adelaide Oval to support the club’s title-winning run – more than any other Big Bash franchise during a single season in the competition’s history.

There’s little doubt BBL|07 was a summer like no other for the Strikers.

And the countdown to next season has already begun.