HOFF’S HARBOUR: Hazlewood stars in injury return
HE WAS the star inclusion who was undoubtedly the crowd favourite and didn't fail to deliver for the local fans.
If anyone knows what it means to country people to have elite level sport in their area, it's Tamworth boy Josh Hazlewood.
A certified star at international level, the man nicknamed 'Hoff' made his comeback from a hamstring injury for the Sydney Sixers in their clash with the Adelaide Strikers on Sunday in Coffs.
The 28-year-old was hard to hit as always, finishing with the great figures of 1/18 off his four overs.
His wicket was also the valued scalp of Australian World Cup star Alex Carey.
"It was a good game for the boys," Hazlewood said after the match.
"The wicket was great and I thought we bowled well in patches.
"Still a bit to work on but it was a very good run chase.
"The boys batted beautifully... I think chasing that amount of runs is a step up for us and it was great to get it done tonight."
The Strikers chose to bat first and got off to a great start through import Phil Salt, who blasted 25 off just 13 balls.
Carey contributed 29 while Jon Wells was the linchpin of the innings with 40 not out to see the Strikers finish on 6/176.
Justin Avendano and Josh Philippe wasted no time in response for the Sixers, putting on a 72-run stand for the first wicket.
Philippe (83 not out) proved to be the immovable object for the Sydney side, guiding his men to a win with just three balls to spare.
Hazlewood was full of praise for the 22-year-old after the game.
"I haven't spent a lot of time with him but he's a class act and he's learning every game," he said.
"The way he batted today, it wasn't all go, he ran hard and played the big shots as we know he can.
"He's a phenomenal talent and I think he'll keep getting better and better.
"He certainly has the talent to go to the next level and I hope he does."
Hazlewood was also impressed with the region's hospitality on a night Coffs Harbour firmly put its name up in lights as a regional city ready to host major sporting events.
"It was a great turn out from Coffs. Coming from a regional area myself it's always great to get back to these places and see the kids. They don't get to see us play very often so it's awesome."
The Sixers' victory keeps them in second place on the Big Bash League ladder while the Strikers remain in third.
In an odd scheduling twist, the two sides will meet again Wednesday night at Adelaide Oval.
You can catch all the action live on Kayo.