Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond’s key message after Friday night’s heavy loss to Hobart was that he still firmly believed his team had the talent - and skill - that's required to qualify for the KFC Big Bash League finals.
Thunder slipped to sixth place on the competition ladder after falling 57 runs short of the 185 set by the Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena. However, Bond was adamant the way in which his team approached its long weekend showdown against the Perth Scorchers at Sydney Showground Stadium would play an important role in determining their finals aspirations.
“We might be lucky to get one more opportunity and qualify, but we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did against the Hurricanes,” he said.
“The nature of T20 means it can swing very quickly. We’ve seen that throughout the tournament, and that’s why there is now a whole lot of teams fighting it out for their spot in the finals.
“The reason why we’re fighting it out is because unlike the teams that are in the top three, we haven’t been consistent enough often enough.
“However, we’re still in it, and we’re fighting bloody hard. Once you make it into the finals you just never know what might happen.”
While Sydney Thunder faced a quick turnaround for Sunday’s 'must-win' match - they returned from Hobart today (Saturday) - Bond said it was crucial the players back themselves.
“At this stage there is no practice in between [returning home and match day],” he said.
“However, there’s enough talent - and ability – here. It’s just a matter of taking that belief into the game.
“We have all of our stuff set up; we have our information on Perth, and our plan is very simple. We just need to park our loss to Hobart aside and turn up at our home ground and play as well as we can against the Scorchers.
While Bond praised Alex Hales for his scintillating 63 from 42 deliveries against the Hurricanes attack, as well as Daniel Sams’ four-wicket haul, he lamented the team’s overall performance.
“It was tough watching from the sideline because we expect much better from ourselves,” he said. "We obviously have some players struggling to get runs under their belt, and our bowlers probably haven’t played consistently enough... we’re still looking for someone to really grab their opportunity.
“However, we have a good team - a very good team - and I have every confidence in the players. We just need to put 40 good overs together as a group and, if it all aligns, we might just get our chance."
Squad vs Scorchers on Sunday 26 January
Callum Ferguson (C) (12)
Liam Bowe (27)
Jonathan Cook (50)
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)
Chris Tremain (20)