STORY OF THE NIGHT
The Sixers won the toss and elected to bowl against a Thunder lineup weakened by the late omission of Usman Khawaja, who suffered a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury during the week.
After taking 12 from the opening Brett Lee over, the Thunder lost Tillakaratne Dilshan in the 4th over as Sean Abbott announced himself to BBL|03 with a direct hit run out.
His dismissal sparked a barrage from Daniel Hughes (32) and Michael Hussey (21) as the men in green reached 1/55 after 8 overs. Of particular note was a cracking pull shot from Huss off Lee which flew 10 rows back.
A terrific spell from Nathan Lyon (3/14 off 4) restricted the Thunder through the middle overs as Hussey, Hughes and Tye were all dismissed in quick succession.
Patterson was dismissed the following over as Lee came back into the attack, the big left hander falling for a well made 27.
A cracking six in the final over from Ryan Carters saw the Thunder take 11 valuable runs off Hazlewood and reach a competitive score of 6/128.
Carters, who has run a fundraising campaign called 'Batting For Change' for every six hit by the Thunder throughout the Big Bash, managed to make the tournament just a little more expensive for all those who have donated.
Chasing early wickets, Kurtis Patterson got the Thunder off to the best of starts with a tremendous diving stop on the 3rd man boundary before firing a bullet throw to catch Michael Lumb short of his ground.
The Sixers reached 1/42 off their 6 Powerplay overs with Nic Maddinson and Mark Cosgrove batting cautiously.
Chris Tremain (1/14 off 3) came into the attack after 7 overs and had immediate impact, taking the wicket of Cosgrove. After an impressive stint in New Zealand to help the Northern Knights take out the domestic T20 title, Tremain again bowled well, mixing in a number of well-disguised slower balls to keep the batsmen off balance.
However, the Sixers pairing of Maddinson and Moises Henriques combined for an unbroken 77 run stand to see their side home by 8 wickets with 4 balls remaining.
It was a disappointing result for a Thunder side who had prepared well and applied themselves well in front of a huge home crowd of 25,726 at ANZ Stadium.
HERO OF THE NIGHT
The bowling attack. Defending a small total of 128, the attack kept the Thunder in the game until the final over. Tremain, Sandhu and Tye were all impressive in hitting just back of a length, proving very difficult to get away.
VILLAIN OF THE NIGHT
Nathan Lyon. The off spinner continued a fine summer, restricting the Thunder through the middle overs with a suffocating spell of 3/14 off 4 overs. He claimed the wickets of Hughes, Hussey and Tye to decimate the top order and ensure the Sixers would only be chasing 129.
The 10th over of the Thunder innings. Losing our two set batsmen in Hussey and Hughes in the same over proved to be a blow the Thunder never fully recovered from, as Lyon tore through the top order.
After another tough season, it was particularly promising to see a huge crowd of 25,726 flood ANZ Stadium with green for SydneySmash 05. Great strides were made off the field in BBL|03 and the positive vibe stayed with the team throughout the season. The structures are in place for the Thunder to come back bigger and better in BBL|04 as they look to give the tournament a real shake!
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