Two wins for Sydney Thunder against the Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes at Drummoyne Oval on Saturday and Sunday would all but guarantee a WBBL|06 finals appearance for the team representing Western Sydney.
Head Coach Trevor Griffin has again named an unchanged 15-player squad for both matches and said they are “two finals in a sense.”
“Reaching finals is very much within our hands, we’re not reliant on other results," he said. "We can just go out there and ensure we execute our skills the best that we can."
Thunder currently sit third on the competition ladder with five wins, equal on 12 points with the Perth Scorchers and arch-rivals Sydney Sixers, who they lost to in a thriller at Sydney Showground Stadium on Wednesday night.
Chasing 148 to win, Thunder needed 30 from 12 balls to win and fell five runs short, with 17-year-old teen sensation Phoebe Litchfield's thrilling 46 from 36 balls including three successive fours in the final over.
Whilst he acknowledged the loss to the Sixers, Griffin was more impressed with the “determination and grit” his side showed to stay in the contest, after a Thunder win looked unlikely.
“The main thing I took away from the Sixers was the quality of the fight that we have within this group.
“The first probably 10 overs with the ball, we didn’t quite play our best, but the second 10 to restrict them to 6/65, and only conceding five boundaries, shows the grit and determination that we have.
“Hannah Darlington has been outstanding at the death for us.
“I think we showed that grit and determination again with the bat to get so close.
“Phoebe Litchfield once again showing the special talent that she is, but also Tahlia Wilson who hasn’t had much opportunity with the bat to go out and play that cameo role for us helped us get us as close as we did.”
Thunder have already registered wins against both the Strikers and Hurricanes this season, defeating Hobart in an absolute nail-biter by one run at Hurstville Oval.
The last time Thunder met the Strikers, at Sydney Showground Stadium, Heather Knight starred, as she has done throughout the tournament.
The England captain smashed 83 from just 39 balls, including 11 fours and three sixes, setting a new record highest score by a Thunder batter in the WBBL.
Knight also shared a 122-run partnership with captain Rachael Haynes (39) in the 58-run win setting a record for the highest WBBL partnership by a Thunder pair.
Knight has scored 369 runs so far in her first season wearing lime green at an average of 46.12.
Heading into two of the highest-pressure games that many of the young squad have experienced, Griffin said Knight and Haynes bring “calmness and steadiness that the younger players will look towards”.
“They show the way in how you prepare going about these games.
“There will be moments in the game when we’re on the ropes, and that’s the nature of T20 cricket, that’s when you look to the likes of Heather and Rach and they bring that calmness and positivity to carry on doing what we’re doing.”
Tickets aren't available for this weekend's matches at Drummoyne Oval however Thunder fans can watch their heroes live via Kayo and cricket.com.au.
Thunder Squad vs Strikers (21/11) and Hurricanes (22/11)
Rachael Haynes (c) (15)
Samantha Arnold (3)
Sam Bates (34)
Tammy Beaumont (91)
Hannah Darlington (25)
Saskia Horley (23)
Shabnim Ismail (89)
Sammy-Jo Johnson (58)
Heather Knight (5)
Anika Learoyd (4)
Phoebe Litchfield (36)
Kate Peterson (33)
Lauren Smith (2)
Rachel Trenaman (8)
Tahlia Wilson (21)
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