|Big Bash League Knockout, Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Adelaide Strikers 184-6 (20 overs): Cockbain 65 (38 balls)|
|Sydney Thunder 178-6 (20 overs): J Sangha 61 (43), Ross 56 (39)|
|Adelaide Strikers won by six runs|
Ian Cockbain continued his fine run by smashing 65 off 38 balls as Adelaide Strikers beat Sydney Thunder by six runs in the Big Bash League knockout.
Gloucestershire batter Cockbain, who was playing league cricket in Melbourne earlier this month, hit six fours and three sixes in the Strikers’ 184-6.
The Thunder could only reach 178-6 in reply at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The Strikers face Sydney Sixers in the Challenger on Wednesday for a place in Friday’s final against Perth Scorchers.
Cockbain’s wife is Australian and the Liverpool-born player spends his winters playing league cricket in the country.
The 34-year-old was in Adelaide on holiday when he was asked by Strikers pace bowler and recent Gloucestershire team-mate Daniel Worrall if he wanted to join the injury-depleted franchise.
After signing on 13 January, Cockbain made 35 not out on debut against the Scorchers, before a vital unbeaten 71 in victory over the Sixers secured them a play-off spot.
They beat Hobart Hurricanes by 22 runs in the eliminator to set up this tie against a Thunder side featuring England international Alex Hales.
Australia wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey (23 off 14) and Matt Short (39 off 28) got the Strikers off to a solid start before Cockbain’s onslaught ensured they posted a challenging total.
Thunder opener Hales made only nine, but Jason Sangha (61 off 43) and Alex Ross (56 off 39) kept them in the chase.
The Thunder needed 14 off the final over to win but Harry Conway dismissed Ross and Ben Cutting in consecutive balls, conceding only seven runs.