Sydney Thunder skipper Callum Ferguson said it should come as no surprise for fans to realise the rivalry between his team, and the club’s arch-rivals – Sydney Sixers – is only intensifying.
Speaking on the eve of the KFC Big Bash League’s first Sydney Smash of BBL|10, Ferguson said whenever the two teams play against each other the ‘competitiveness’ was unmistakable.
“It’s a pretty big [rivalry],” he said of the match that’ll be played at Canberra’s Manuka Oval tomorrow night. “It’s always been a huge challenge for both sides, and it has meant a lot to both teams.
“The competitiveness out on the park is noticeable; the lift in intensity is noticeable. Every time we go out there against the Sixers it’s usually two sides that are in pretty good form going head-to-head looking at a final’s run towards the back end of the tournament.
“This will be a big one. They are flying pretty high at the moment, and going beautifully, so It will be a huge challenge for us – but one we’re up for.”
Ferguson said what pleased him as Thunder’s skipper was the way his team had so far performed in the tournament – including those occasions when his players have appeared to be up against the ropes.
“The guys are travelling really well,” he said. “We’ve had some fantastic wins; we’ve had some tight losses. Even when we haven’t been at our best, we’ve been able to take the game down to the wire which has been really pleasing.
“I think those games hold you in good stead when you start looking towards the business end of the tournament and finals. We’re looking forward to a big clash tomorrow. We know the Sixers are a quality line-up, so we’ll have to be at our best.”
Sydney Thunder is expected to have their pace attack beefed up for the ‘Sydney Smash’ by the return of Australian T20 international, Daniel Sams. Sams missed the last two games due to his suffering a concussion after a ball hit his helmet in the loss to Brisbane.
“He’s tracking really well,” said Ferguson. “He felt like he was really good and ready to play within a day or two of copping the head knock, but protocols don’t allow that.
“Obviously his health is the most important thing; not just now but in the long-term future. Now that he’s passed all the tests, been through all the protocols, he’s ready to go and excited to be playing in the derby.”
While Ferguson said he and his teammates were happy to be playing in Thunder Nation territory – Canberra – he again expressed his, and the squad’s disappointment, at having their final games of BBL|10 transferred from Sydney to Manuka Oval and Adelaide Oval.
“It’s really disappointing for our guys,” he said. “We love playing at Sydney Showground Stadium in front of the sea of green. We get great support, so we’re really disappointed, but at the same time we’re really pleased cricket is able to be played.”
Fans across the Thunder Nation can watch live on 7, Fox Cricket and Kayo, with radio coverage from SEN.
Important information for spectators wanting to attend the Sydney Smash:
Spectators wanting to attend the Sydney Smash are advised ticket sales will end at 6pm on Tuesday 12 January to allow the venue to verify all ticket purchasers to ensure the safety of everyone attending the event.
Sydney Thunder Squad vs Sydney Sixers at Manuka Oval:
Callum Ferguson (12) (C)
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)
Daniel Sams (60)
Jason Sangha (32)
Tanveer Sangha (17)
Chris Tremain (20)