In a battle to go on top of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21 table, Sydney Thunder defeated Hobart Hurricanes by 39 runs at the Perth Stadium. With this win, Thunder go to 22 points from eight matches, while Hurricanes remain in third place having secured 18 points from nine games.
Blistering start and collapse
Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja got things up and running with a quick-fire 59-run stand for the first wicket. At the end of the powerplay, they were 48 for no loss and were eying a huge total. Khawaja especially was looking in fine touch, while Hales was unable to time the ball as well as he would have liked. In the end, it was his wicket in the seventh over that started a bit of collapse. He holed out in the deep of D’Arcy Short and another wrist spinner Sandeep Lamichhane sent Thunder skipper Callum Ferguson back in the hut for a single. Short’s night wasn’t done yet as Sam Billings was caught and bowled off his bowling and in his next over he got the big wicket of Khawaja for a 33-ball 49.
From 59 for no loss in the seventh over, Thunder had lost for wickets for just 17 in the next four overs and were in a spot of bother.
Alex Ross (44*) and Arjun Nair (15) then played sensibly and put on 34 off 26 for the fifth wicket but things tilted in favour of Thunder only when Ben Cutting (31*) walked into the crease. Nair was run-out after an acrobatic by Nathan Ellis. Overs 17 and 18 – the power surge overs – yielded 28 runs, which once again gave Thunder some momentum. 22 runs came off the final 10 overs and Thunder had reached a competitive 167. Ross and Cutting played extremely well putting on an unbeaten 57 from 31 balls.
Hurricanes start well before Thunder take charge
In pursuit of 168, the Hurricanes started off well having scored 35 for no loss in the powerplay. It looked like Short’s impressive performance with the ball could help him improve his form with a bat. He had scored just 50 runs from his previous six innings. His six and a four from the final two balls of the powerplay seemed like a signal that he meant business.
But he lasted just two more deliveries after that as Short pulled a quick delivery from Nathan McAndrew straight to mid-on. Four deliveries after that, it was Ben McDermott’s turn to depart after he was trapped in front by the fast bowler for 22. All the good work McDermott and Short had done were undone in a span of six deliveries.
Once the 48-run partnership between Dawid Malan (20) and Peter Handscomb (30) for the third wicket came to an end, Hurricanes never posed a threat and the spinners stole the show with Arjun Nair, Chris Green and Tanveer Sangha doing most of the damage. But it was McAndrew’s twin strikes in the fifth over that initially began Hurricanes’ slump in the match.
Sangha is now the highest wicket-taker this season with 15 wickets at 13.73 in eight matches. With 60 needed from the last five overs, Hurricanes just managed 20 more runs and surrendered to a meek defeat.
Sydney Thunder 167 for 5 in 20 Overs (Usman Khawaja 49, Alex Ross 44*; D’Arcy Short 3 for 26) beat Hobart Hurricanes 128 for 8 in 20 Overs (Peter Handscomb 30, Ben McDermott 22; Chris Green 2 for 23) by 39 runs
Player of the match: Nathan McAndrew