Athapaththu, Sangha win Sydney Thunder Awards

Sri Lankan superstar Chamari Athapaththu and rising leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha have taken out the major Sydney Thunder Awards at the 22nd Annual CNSW Awards night at the SCG.

Athapaththu surprised no one by winning the Alex Blackwell Medal for Thunder’s WBBL player of the season, while Sangha earned the Mike Hussey Medal as Thunder’s BBL player of the year.

Athapaththu, who was undrafted but picked up by Thunder as a fourth overseas player before the season, beat out Samantha Bates, Marizanne Kapp and Phoebe Litchfield, adding the Alex Blackwell Medal to the Weber WBBL|09 Player of the Tournament Award she claimed at the end of the season.

The opening batter and off spinner finished the regular season second on the WBBL runs table with 511 at 42.58, striking at 129.69 – an incredible return for a player overlooked in the inaugural overseas player draft following similar snubs at the WPL and The Hundred. Athapaththu also picked up nine wickets including 3-20 against the Sixers and maintained an economy rate of 6.79.

Sangha, who made his T20I and ODI debuts for Australia in South Africa last year, before he had even turned 22, then travelled to India and was a travelling reserve throughout Australia’s triumphant ICC World Cup campaign.

During the BBL, the Western Sydney native was Thunder’s most economical bowler, taking nine wickets along the way, many times on pitches not conducive to spin. He was awarded the Mike Hussey Medal ahead of fellow international representatives, Alex Hales, Chris Green and Daniel Sams

Also giving Thunder a winning feeling on the night was WBBL wicketkeeper/batter Tahlia Wilson who was crowned NSW’s WNCL player of the tournament award for the second season in a row, before claiming the state’s highest domestic honour, the Belinda Clark Medal as the women’s domestic player of the year.

Sydney Thunder General Manager, Trent Copeland applauded the night’s award winners.

“Chamari’s success for the Thunder was nothing short of amazing. She was undoubtedly the steal of the WBBL season in terms of overseas value. Aside from her numbers on-field, she was incredible off-field with our fans, sponsors, and crucially within our team environment. We were so fortunate to have Chamari a part of the Thunder family and long may it continue!

“Tanveer is an incredible story, but his success is no shock to anyone that knows or has seen him work behind the scenes. No one bowls more overs or loves their craft more than Tanveer does.

“Despite a disappointing season for the Thunder more broadly, the international recognition and success for Tanveer is so well deserved. We see Tanveer as a core, long-term player at Sydney Thunder.”

22nd Cricket NSW Annual Awards – Sydney Thunder Winners and Finalists

Alex Blackwell Medal for Sydney Thunder WBBL Player of the Tournament

Winner: Chamari Athapaththu

Finalists: Chamari Athapaththu, Samantha Bates, Marizanne Kapp, Phoebe Litchfield

Mike Hussey Medal for Sydney Thunder BBL Player of the Tournament

Winner: Tanveer Sangha

Finalists: Alex Hales, Chris Green, Tanveer Sangha, Daniel Sams

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