Resurgent Sydney Thunder kept their title defence hopes alive with a storming eight wicket romp over the Sixers as Fawad Ahmed took 4-14.
The Thunder’s grip on the Big Bash trophy, which after four straight defeats had looked very weak, is tightening. They now face a must win finale against the Adelaide Strikers at Spotless Stadium next Wednesday. The Sixers must also win their final game, which will be the final game of the BBL season before finals start, on January 21 at the MCG.
Fawad Ahmed led the way with 4-14 as the Sixers succumbed to a meek 99 for nine in their 20 overs. The Thunder’s leggie sparked a horror collapse dismissing Nic Maddinson, Moises Henriques, Colin Munro and Sean Abbott to make life extremely comfortable for his teammates. Carlos Brathwaite also chipped in with 3-21 to maintain the pressure.
Thunder skipper Shane Watson saw off the Sixers’ dangerman Daniel Hughes for just 20 and put the ‘home’ team on the back foot at 2-36. It was the wicket that really started the Thunder’s charge, and the pumped up all-rounder waved him off in style.
Chasing 100 to win, the Thunder charged across the line with 10 overs to spare as they boosted their run-rate, something that in a tight competition could be the difference between survival and an early exit.
If they had chased the total down in 8.3 overs or less, they would have taken their net run rate into positive territory. Kurtis Patterson made 38 not out from 26 balls to lead the way home, while Ben Rohrer slapped a quickfire unbeaten 26. James Vince continued his good Bash with 28 in 18 balls.
“We started really well,” said Carlos Brathwaite. “We did our job pretty well and restricted them to 100-odd. We did what we had to do and now our result is left in the hands of others.
“We are having fun, enjoyed these two games. Just happy to be able to play my part. We feel confident, we need to take care of preparations and control what we can control, plan well and execute well. Whatever happens, happens.”
A win in their final game against the Strikers could well be enough to do that and ensure the BBL05 champions make the last four. Their task however was made more difficult by the Melbourne Stars who beat the Perth Scorchers in the second game of the day. Even a win for Sydney Thunder in their last match might not be enough now.
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James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
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