STORY OF THE NIGHT
Bolstered by the release of Australian internationals Aaron Finch and James Pattinson, the Renegades won the toss and elected to bat on an Etihad track that has provided plenty of runs so far in BBL|03.
The man scoring most of those runs has been Finch, coming into the game with 537 runs at an average of 76.71 in 10 games at Etihad Stadium.
Taking the new ball, Gurinder Sandhu made sure Finch didn’t add to that total, producing a beauty to dismiss the Renegades skipper for a second ball duck.
Sandhu picked up a second soon after as he had Alex Doolan brilliantly caught at mid on by a fully outstretched Chris Tremain.
A mini-revival from Dan Harris (30) and Ben Rohrer (22) had the Renegades 2/44 from their 6 Powerplay overs. However it would be the Thunder attack who would soon regain the ascendancy.
Through the middle overs, there was a steady flow of wickets as Andrew Tye, Ajantha Mendis and Tremain (1/21 off 4) all took one apiece to leave the Renegades reeling at 5/82 after 14 overs.
Dirk Nannes was re-injected into the attack in the 15th and claimed the wicket of O’Brien, an effort matched by Sandhu (3/21 off 4) who had Nevill caught and bowled the following over.
Not to be outdone, the impressive Mendis (2/15 off 4) had Pattinson caught behind soon after as Ryan Carters took a great catch behind the stumps.
A run out to Andrew Tye made it four wickets in consecutive overs as the Thunder could seemingly do no wrong. Tillakaratne Dilshan pulled off another run out in the 19th to knock the Renegades over for 104.
It was a tremendous effort in the field and with the ball, leaving the Thunder batsmen just 105 to claim their first victory of the season.
Usman Khawaja was keen to get the runs as quickly as possible, striking a number of beautiful cover drives and pull shots as the Thunder flew out of the gates.
Dilshan took the reigns in the 6th over, taking Fawad Ahmed for 16 runs as the Thunder flew to 0/60 from their 6 Powerplay overs.
The Sri Lankan continued to accelerate, farming the strike and savaging all who came before him. His eventual dismissal for 46 off 29 balls in the 10th over brought captain courageous Michael Hussey to the crease at 1/89.
The remaining 16 runs were peeled off with ease, with Hussey fittingly striking the winning runs. At long last the Thunder had their first win of the season, and a commanding one at that, victorious by 9 wickets with 51 balls remaining.
HERO OF THE NIGHT
The ThunderNation. It had been a long time between drinks for the Sydney Thunder, and we must thank our loyal fan base for sticking by us over the years. We truly believe we have the best fans in the league and look forward to celebrating more wins like this with you all.
It was a great bowling and fielding display, headlined by Sandhu (3/21) and Mendis (2/15), accompanied by sterling 89-run opening partnership from Khawaja (46no off 34) and Dilshan (46) which got us over the line.
Aaron Finch’s dismissal. Coming off an ODI century just days ago, and boasting incredible stats at Etihad, Finch’s wicket was clearly the key. With just the second ball of the match, Gurinder Sandhu produced an absolute beauty to nip through the gate and clean up Finch’s leg stump. With Finch gone, the Renegades middle order collapsed and the Thunder found themselves chasing just 105.
Plenty of positives to come out of this match. The Thunder held their catches, made their run outs and hit their lengths in their best performance in the field in BBL|03. Dilshan returned from injury blazing away at the top of the order and Khawaja continued his wonderful form. Most importantly, the Thunder claimed a dominant victory ahead of the season-ending Sydney Smash 05 on January 25.
The Thunder have an 11 day break to prepare for their final match of BBL|03, a rematch against cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers, on January 25. After going down narrowly to the magenta men earlier in the tournament, the Thunder will be desperate to take out Sydney Smash 05. The match starts at 7:15pm at ANZ Stadium.
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