Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond is confident the experience of playing three knockout finals will set his side up for success in the next KFC Big Bash League season.
After finishing fifth on the ladder, Thunder upset the Hurricanes in Hobart and won a thriller against the Strikers in Adelaide to progress to the third round of the finals series.
The side’s exciting finals campaign came to an end on Thursday night as Thunder fell to eventual runners-up the Melbourne Stars by 28-runs at the MCG.
“It’s a disappointing way to finish but I’m really proud of the guys for the season,” Bond said.
“To finish third is a massive improvement on last year and I think we’ve seen some growth amongst the individuals in the team. It adds a level of excitement for next year and sets the bar a lot higher for us which I think is a good thing.”
Bond, who has been part of three Indian Premier League championship wins as the bowling coach for the Mumbai Indians, said the experience of playing three high-pressure finals will hold the group in good stead next season.
“We set our expectation at the start of the year to win the tournament. Most of this team is coming back again so to be exposed to three finals games is going to be huge. I think we can take a lot of confidence that we can certainly compete and certainly win,” Bond said.
“When we come back together next year, those expectations are the same. We want to make the finals and we want to win. We want Thunder to be a finals team every year, that’s my goal and I look forward to having a crack at it again next year.”
Thunder’s rise from fifth to third has been assisted by the recruitment of international stars Chris Morris and Alex Hales, as well as the leadership of skipper Callum Ferguson.
“It’s always nice when your recruitment goes well. I think both our overseas players have had great tournaments,” Bond said.
“Chris is second-equal on the wicket taking list and Alex is right up there with runs.
“We’re also very well led by Callum. He’s very calm, collected and articulate, and I think that rubbed off on the whole team to keep everyone pretty calm over the course of the season.
“It’s just a really great group to work with so I’m really looking forward to seeing their progression over the next nine months before we re-group again and have another dip at it.”
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