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BBL Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Stars Rashid Khan Afghanistan

When does a win feel like a loss?

When the world’s best T20 exponent is heading to the international airport the next day.

That’s the bittersweet reality for the Adelaide Strikers, who bid farewell to genuine superstar Rashid Khan to Afghanistan duties after beating the Melbourne Stars on Monday night.

He’s a leg-spinner, first and foremost, but so much more.

His helicopter batting has kids pouring through the gates, along with his fearless fielding and general zest for life.

And while Rashid now leaves Adelaide to tackle Ireland in an ODI series, he wasn’t about to slink out the door.

He took 2-29 from his four overs – a typical Rashid return – including the removal of Stars captain Glenn Maxwell for a golden duck.

And then there he was at the pointy end, partnering Ryan Gibson with the bat to best the Stars’ 7-149 with five wickets and six balls to spare.

It lifted Adelaide to third on the BBL ladder but deflated their spirits.

“So sad, we’re shattered,” said Strikers quick Wes Agar, man of the match for his 2-19 from four overs.

“I told him today: ‘mate, I’m going to miss you.’

“He brings joy and happiness to the group and so much success on the field.”

So how do the Strikers fill his enormous bowling boots?

“It’s going to be interesting, we love playing with Rash,” Adelaide captain Alex Carey said.

“It’s a big hole to fill but Liam O’Connor is pretty keen to get out there.

“We’ll see him off tonight.

“Everyone loves playing with him and watching him here.”

Meanwhile, the Stars are in a 3-5 hole, stuck in seventh place.

The two Sydney teams are top of the ladder, the Melbourne sides propping up the bottom.

“They were brilliant,” Maxwell said of the Strikers.

“They scrapped hard all night.

“We just missed a few times at the end there and they were able to get hold of us.

“But we see how bunched up it is in the middle.

“You get a win with a bonus point, and with the top five (qualifying for the finals) it gives you an opportunity.”

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