Sydney Thunder fast bowler Daniel Sams - who wears the BKT Golden Arm Cap as the KFC Big Bash League’s highest wicket taker - said he and his teammates had good reason to not be lulled into a false sense of security by the Melbourne Renegades slow start to the season.
The two teams play against each other at Canberra’s picturesque Manuka Oval on Wednesday, and despite the defending premiers poor record in BBL|09 - they’ve lost each of their nine games - Sams said it was crucial he and the Thunder squad remained vigilant.
“Melbourne Renegades are a quality team that has, potentially, underperformed,” he said.
“They’ve had to change their line-up a little bit because Aaron Finch and Kane Richardson are in India [with the Australian squad for the One Day Internationals], so it will be a little bit different with [Shaun] Marsh opening.
“But we’ll be ready, we’ll have all of our plans in place.”
Sams said Thunder would arrive in Canberra determined to build on it’s last-start victory over the Hobart Hurricanes, a result which wasn’t sealed until the final over.
“We’ve been playing good cricket throughout the entire tournament,” he said of the fifth-placed Thunder’s campaign. “Some things, however, haven’t gone our way and there’s been times when we haven’t stepped up and taken opportunities – we could easily have some more wins.
“We just need to keep sticking to our game; keep playing some good cricket and I’m sure we’ll grab those moments when they present themselves.”
The 27-year-old said one of Thunder’s collective traits that’d allow them to seize ‘those moments’ in future matches was the calmness the players have consistently displayed when placed under pressure.
“That calmness is something we’ve all spoken about,” he said. “It stems from our captain Callum Ferguson - he’s a calm, level-headed guy - and that spreads to the rest of the team.
“You quickly learn that when you find yourself in a pressure situation that you’ll perform better if you remain calm.”
Sams, who has bamboozled opposition batsmen with his slower delivery throughout this summer, said while he was proud to be the current custodian of the Golden Arm Cap (after so far taking a season tally of 17 wickets) it hadn’t changed how he approaches his role in the squad.
“It’s nice to be the leading wicket-taker in a professional sports tournament,” he said. “But, in the end it comes down to doing nothing differently.
“If I get no wickets - or 17 - nothing changes. I just plan to go into the next game and try to keep the runs down. If wickets come from that, then that’s great.”
Sydney Thunder BBL Squad vs Renegades on Wednesday, January 13
Callum Ferguson (C) (12)
Liam Bowe (27)
Jonathan Cook (50)
Brendan Doggett (35)
Alex Hales (6)
Usman Khawaja (18)
Jay Lenton (70)
Nathan McAndrew (44)
Chris Morris (24)
Arjun Nair (7)
Alex Ross (49)
Daniel Sams (60)
Gurinder Sandhu (28)