Thunder welcomed the Scorchers to Spotless for the first meeting between the two sides this season. There was two changes to the Thunder side with Khawaja and Lenton coming in for Buttler and Gibson. International replacement James Vince unfortunately missed out through illness.
Captain Shane Watson got the Thunder off to the perfect start, winning the toss and electing to bat. It looked to be the correct position with Khawaja continuing his recent test form, smashing it to all parts. The opening partnership had raced to 45 from 4.5 overs before Patterson was caught behind by Bancroft off the bowling of debutant Kelly for 14. This didn’t seem to affect Khawaja who continued in aggressive fashion. Watto had joined him at the crease, looking to continue his early season form. The pair had added 39 runs when Watto skied one to long-off off the bowling of Bresnan and was dismissed for 21.
Khawaja was the next to fall for a superb 85 from just 51 deliveries. Sadly after this point the Thunder struggled in a similar fashion to the past few games, with only a handful of boundaries coming in the last 5 overs. Ferguson & Rohrer both contributed valuable 20’s at better than a run a ball to help the Thunder total reach a very competitive 4/175.
Thunder got off to a fantastic start with the ball, both restricting runs and taking regular wickets. Both openers were dismissed for single figures. When Sandhu snared the dangerous Turner LBW for just 4 with the score on 3/32 the Thunder were in dreamland. However after a tough ashes series, Bancroft was clearly enjoying the chance to free his arms.
Scorchers captain Voges came and went without and issues, but it was the partnership between Bancroft and Cartwright that really opened up the game. They put on a staggering 137 for the 5th wicket to take the team in orange to the brink of victory. It came down to the Scorchers needing 31 from the final 2 overs. Sandhu bowled exceptionally all night, and particularly in the 19th over under extreme pressure, conceding just 7 runs! It was McClenaghan to bowl the last over, with 24 the target for the Scorchers. A mixture of luck and skill resulted in the Scorchers needing 5 to win from the final ball but Mitch held his nerve and was able to go for only a single, resulting in a 3 run victory for the Thunder.
It was a crucial win that keeps the season alive for the Thunder who make the short trip to the SCG on Saturday looking to build on tonight’s win.