After watching his side set a new record for the highest score posted by a KFC Big Bash League team; completing a 46-run victory over the competition leaders, and climbing to third place on the ladder, Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond pinpointed Alex Hales’ innings of 110 against the Sydney Sixers attack as the breakthrough he’d been waiting for.
“Alex is an amazing player who played an incredible innings,” said Bond of Hales, who became the current BKT Golden Bat leader after scoring 110 off only 56 deliveries.
“I think even he admitted the frustration of not kicking on [after getting great starts during the tournament].
“For us, we needed for someone from our top order – the top four – to kick on and get a big score. Alex took it upon himself, and he did it with quality hitting on a good wicket – and he kept the tempo going.
“Once Alex gets going, he’s a very hard man to stop. The boys enjoyed watching him bat, but for me, seeing him kick on and play as well as he did was sensational.”
Hales’ effort took his season tally to 462 runs at an average of 38.50 and a strike rate of 165.59. Besides last night’s 110, he has scored two half centuries - one of which was the fastest in Thunder BBL history reaching 50 in 21 balls - and his dominance at the crease is reflected by his effort to so far hit 26 sixes and 47 boundaries.
The Englishman’s brutal knock was galvanised by skipper Callum Ferguson’s 42 from 23 deliveries; Sam Billings’ 33 from 21 and Ben Cutting’s whirlwind 33 from 14. The Thunder’s batsmen effort to score 5-232 eclipsed the mighty effort by the Hobart Hurricanes in 2017 to compile 8-223.
Hales said he simply took full advantage of the conditions at Adelaide Oval.
"When you get in at this place, it's such a good place to bat — great value for good shots, a fast outfield and smallish square boundaries.
"Tonight, was one of those nights where everything clicked."
Bond was especially pleased with his team’s performance under pressure after slipping from second to fourth place after being beaten by Hobart in Canberra.
“It was a high-pressured game,” he said. “All the teams in the competition – there are seven still in the race – means everyone is under pressure every night,” he said.
“For us to come out against the Sixers, a team that has played outstandingly well throughout the season and put in a performance like that when we really needed, it was a credit to the boys.”
Bond said the effort would give his squad extra confidence as they prepare to play back-to-back matches against Adelaide Strikers at their home ground tomorrow and Monday.
“Every club has faced that challenge of back-to-back matches, and we’re ready for it,” he said. “Obviously it’s going to be hot, but Adelaide is in the same boat. We also realise they are behind us and they need to win.
“We have to turn up and respect Adelaide play well at home, and we always have good games against them. It’s going to be a belter.”
Squad for Thunder v Strikers at Adelaide Oval, Jan 24 & 25
Callum Ferguson (12) (captain)
Sam Billings (7)
Jonathan Cook (50)
Ben Cutting (31)
Ollie Davies (9)
Brendan Doggett (35)
Matt Gilkes (22)
Chris Green (93)
Alex Hales (6)
Baxter Holt (27)
Usman Khawaja (18)
Nathan McAndrew (44)
Adam Milne (10)
Arjun Nair (24)
Alex Ross (49)
Jason Sangha (32)
Tanveer Sangha (17)
Chris Tremain (20)