The Sydney Sixers secured a first victory of their Big Bash campaign at the seventh attempt, coming home eight-wicket victors with the final ball of the match.
In the second Sydney Smash of the day the Thunder were put into bat first, with James Vince recovering from illness to play his first game in place of Kurtis Patterson. The Sixers meanwhile welcomed overseas recruits Joe Denly and Carlos Brathwaite, who played for Thunder in BBL|06, as well as Australians Nathan Lyon and Moises Henriques.
England international Vince immediately made his mark on the match, with a couple of towering sixes in the powerplay. However, he lost opening partner Usman Khawaja, whose 85 had set up victory over the Perth Scorchers on Thursday, who fell LBW to Brathwaite for 8.
The Sixers continued to wrestle back the early momentum the Thunder had built, with captain Shane Watson chopping on off Sean Abbott, James Vince caught by Nic Maddinson off Nathan Lyon for 34 and Callum Ferguson holing out in the deep off Henriques.
Two of the Thunder’s youngest stars, Chris Green and Arjun Nair, set about rebuilding the innings, sharing in a 42-ball 59-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Henriques returned to remove Nair for 17 and Green was run out just one short of a maiden fifty, his 49 coming off just 27 balls, including three maximums and two fours.
Jay Lenton, playing his second game of BBL|07 after taking over the gloves from Jos Buttler who has joined the England squad for the upcoming One-Day International serious, then struck a crucial unbeaten 18 off just 7 deliveries allowing the Thunder to post 156-6.
The Sixers charged out of the blocks in reply, with BBL debutant Denly leading the assault, battering the boundaries during the powerplay, taking 40 of the 56 runs to be scored inside the first six overs. However, he was only able to add three more to his total, from seven deliveries, before Fawad Ahmed sneaked one past the inside edge to get the Thunder’s first wicket.
The run rate continued to climb as Ahmed finished his four overs with figures of 1-22, conceding just one boundary from his allocation. Green and Nair backed up the efforts of their fellow spinner with tight overs but Daniel Hughes reached his fifty from 43 deliveries with his first maximum and Nic Maddinson followed with a six of his own as the equation read 30 required from the final four overs.
Nair returned to dismiss Maddinson (28) courtesy of a good catch from Ben Rohrer at short third man but despite the best efforts of Green and Mitchell McClenghan, the Sixers managed the nine off six, and two off the final ball, they needed to secure their first victory of BBL07. Hughes finished unbeaten on 66 and Henriques, in his first game back, on 18 not out.