STORY OF THE NIGHT
Steve Smith and the Sixers won the toss and elected to field in the fourth edition of the Sydney Smash in front of 18,180 at the SCG. Smith was left to rue the decision to field soon after as David Warner and Usman Khawaja flew out of the gates to leave the Thunder 0/72 after the 6 Powerplay overs.
The two leading run scorers from the Ryobi Cup continued to bully the Sixers attack, being particularly savage on Josh Hazlewood who went for 43 from his 4 overs.
Soon after he reached 50, Warner was caught on the mid wicket fence off the bowling of none other than Mark Cosgrove - an inspired bowling choice from skipper Smith. At 1/116 from 11 overs, the Thunder Nation was right on top.
However, the Sixers - in particular Moises Henriques and Ravi Bopara - pulled it back with some subtle variations in pace. Michael Hussey and Eoin Morgan fell cheaply and Khawaja soon followed for a well-made 66, leaving the Thunder 4/145 in the 17th over.
Carl Sandri enjoyed a great start to his BBL career, lifting Brett Lee back over his head for six off the first ball he faced. He and Chris Woakes finished not out as the Thunder ended their 20 overs at a respectable 6/166.
In reply, the Sixers went over the top early and often during the Powerplay to be 1/51 after 6 overs. Birthday boy Nic Maddinson kept the runs flowing with a number of huge sixes, before he was eventually caught by Warner off the bowling of Blake Dean for 61. At 3/91 in the 11th over, the game was poised very evenly.
Two partnerships then took the game away from the Thunder, as Smith (22), Henriques (28no) and Bopara (27no) eventually saw the Sixers home by 6 wickets with 10 balls remaining.
HERO OF THE NIGHT
Impossible to split Usman Khawaja and David Warner. The openers put on 116 in only 11 overs and matched each other stroke for stroke in a highly entertaining opening to the match.
VILLAIN OF THE NIGHT
Nic Maddinson, with support from Moises Henriques and Ravi Bopara. The dashing opener lit up the SCG with a number of controlled but powerful strokes that often cleared the ropes by some distance. Henriques and Bopara both bowled tight spells through the middle overs to peg back a Thunder innings that looked destined to breach 200. They then shared an important 5th wicket partnership to see the Magenta men home.
The first ball of the Sixers 17th over. Requiring 27 from 24 with Dirk Nannes steaming in, Henriques top edged a pull shot which cleared the fielder on the square leg rope by a matter of centimetres.
The Thunder recorded their highest ever BBL score with 166. With Usman Khawaja in great form, Sandhu and Woakes bowling well, the Thunder are in good shape to perform well for the remainder of the Big Bash.
The Thunder will enjoy their first home game of BBL|03 on December 27 as they take on the Adelaide Strikers at ANZ Stadium. The match starts at 7:40pm.
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