International stars Smriti Mandhana and Sam Billings have taken home Sydney Thunder’s top gongs at the annual Cricket NSW Awards held at The Star in Sydney on Thursday night.
The pair were voted by their teammates as the best players of the season, with Mandhana awarded the Alex Blackwell Medal and Billings awarded the Mike Hussey Medal.
Indian superstar Mandhana finished her first season in green as Thunder’s leading run-scorer with 377 runs at an average of 34.27.
The classy left-hander equalled the highest WBBL score ever, scoring an unbeaten 114 at a remarkable strike rate of 178.12.
Mandhana also made an impact off the field working with Thunder’s young players, including fellow left-hander Phoebe Litchfield.
“She is probably one of my favourite players I’ve played with so far,” said Litchfield. “I’ve always looked up to her so to be able to play alongside her was awesome. We had a few net sessions together and she shared a few tips.”
Billings started BBL|11 in blistering form. Batting at No. 4, the classy Englishman opened his campaign with scores of 44* and 43.
The classy Englishman went on to score two half-centuries, including a blistering 64 off just 27 balls at the Gabba.
The 30-year-old stood up in key moments, registering his highest score of 67 in an upset win over the then-undefeated Perth Scorchers.
Despite missing the second half of the season due to international commitments, Billings finished the tournament with 284 runs at an impressive average of 40.57 and strike rate of 153.51.
Fast bowler Chris Tremain was also amongst the high-profile award winners, claiming the prestigious Steve Waugh Medal, presented to the NSW player awarded the most votes across the most votes across the Marsh One-Day Cup and Marsh Sheffield Shield competitions.
Tremain also took home the Marsh Sheffield Shield Player of the Tournament for his performance for the NSW Blues.