Sydney Thunder has secured a 71 run victory over the Adelaide Strikers at Spotless Stadium, reversing the result of the New Year’s Eve clash between both sides at the Adelaide Oval that the Strikers won by 20 runs.
In partnership with new recruit Anton Devcich, Thunder captain Shane Watson made the most of his decision to bat first in the early overs. The opening pair added 37 from just 21 balls before Devcich (21) fell to leg-spinner Rashid Khan LBW.
Khan was soon on a hat-trick when he dismissed Callum Ferguson first ball, but new batsman Jason Sangha safely kept out the pivotal delivery.
Thunder finished the power play at 2/55 and Watson was on the charge. He hit a massive six over long-on to bring up his half century off just 27 balls. Watson added another 18 before he was dismissed for 68, having cleared the boundary rope five times during his 40 balls at the crease.
A late cameo from Jay Lenton (27* from 16) and Chris Green (11* from 6) powered Thunder to a competitive total of 168.
Thunder made the perfect start with the ball. Devcich (1-9) claimed his maiden wicket in green when he removed the dangerous Jake Weatherald (4) on the last ball of the first over. Speedster Chris Jordan (1-23) also claimed his first wicket for the Thunder in the power play and the Strikers were 3/28 after six overs.
South African Colin Ingram kept the hopes of a Strikers victory alive, despite the Thunder bowlers clamping the run rate. However, when he departed for 48 from 30 balls in the 14th over that hope was seemingly lost.
The Strikers lost 6/16 to be bowled out for 97. Arjun Nair was best of the bowlers with 3-12 from three overs.
Thunder made four changes to the side that lost by 15 runs to the Brisbane Heat under Duckworth Lewis Stern on Tuesday. International replacements Anton Devcich (New Zealand) and Chris Jordan (England) came into the XI for Jos Buttler and Joe Root who departed for national duties in the West Indies earlier this week. Jay Lenton also made his first appearance in green for the season with keeper Buttler out. All-rounder Arjun Nair was the fourth change to the team with Jono Cook and Sam Rainbird left out.
The Strikers made one change to their side that defeated the Melbourne Stars by 41 runs on Friday. Fast bowler Billy Stanlake replaced fellow paceman Wes Agar.
Sydney Thunder: Shane Watson (c), Fawad Ahmed, Anton Devcich, Callum Ferguson, Chris Green, Chris Jordan, Jay Lenton (wk), Arjun Nair, Daniel Sams, Gurdiner Sandhu, Jason Sangha.
Adelaide Strikers: Travis Head (c), Colin Ingram, Rashid Khan, Ben Laughlin, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen (wk), Liam O'Connor, Matt Short, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells.
THE TURNING POINT
The dismissal of big-hitting Colin Ingram (48), just when he looked to be hitting his straps, was a final blow to the Strikers' run chase which was struggling to keep pace. He was caught in the deep by Daniel Sams from the off-spin of Nair.
THE FINAL OVER
Thunder needed just four balls in the 18th over to take the final two wickets and complete the job. Daniel Sams (1-8) dismissed Rashid Khan (8), while Billy Stanlake (1) was run out.
PERFORMER OF THE MATCH
Thunder captain Shane Watson returned to form with a super knock of 68 from 40 balls, at the top of the order, including four boundaries and five sixes. His innings earned him Player of the Match honours.
Thunder head north take on the Brisbane Heat at The Gabba on Thursday 17 January. The 7:15pm fixture will be broadcast live on Fox Cricket and 7.
SYDNEY THUNDER TICKETS22 JAN | v Melbourne Renegades | BBL | Spotless Stadium
9 FEB | v Hobart Hurricanes | BBL | Manuka Oval