David Warner has put on another batting show, this time smashing a half-century for the Sydney Thunder as they reached 6-166 against the Sixers at the SCG.
IT needed a special effort to steal the limelight from David Warner, but Nic Maddinson provided it with a sparkling knock of 61 as the Sydney Sixers beat the Thunder by six wickets in front of over 18,000 fans at the SCG.
It extends the Thunder’s losing streak to a whole season plus a game, despite making wholesale changes to the club before the start of this season’s Big Bash League.
Their record of never having beaten the Sixers in four games also stands.
Maddinson, the 22-year-old Sixers opener, hit the ball to all parts of the SCG, his first 32 runs coming only in boundaries. It was Twenty20 hitting at its brutal best and earned him the man of the match award.
By the time he was caught by Warner at backward point he had slogged six fours and four sixes.
But despite stealing the show, Maddinson was still able to admire the batting of Warner and Usman Khawaja.
“It was good to watch (Warner and Khawaja) actually,” Maddinson said.
“Both of them were playing beautifully. In saying that I don’t think we bowled where we wanted to in the first six to ten overs. They’re both good players and batting at the top of the order in T20 is probably the place to be.”
Ashes star and Sixers captain Steve Smith contributed 22 with the bat and looked sharp until he was caught and bowled by Carl Sandri. But he left his team in a good position to go and get their opening win of the tournament.
At one point it looked like the match was going down to the wire, but Moises Henriques (28) and new English recruit Ravi Bopara (27) took the game away from the Thunder with some clean hitting, eventually winning with eight balls to spare.
The miserable losing streak of Sydney Thunder has reached 14 after they failed to capitalise on a hot start against the Sixers, going down easily in the Big Bash League’s Sydney derby.
Henriques had a good all-round game and was the pick of the Sixers bowlers, ending with figures of 2-24.
The major difference between the Sydney rivals was batting depth. Where the Thunder collapsed after losing their openers, the Sixers batters all contributed toward the successful chase.
After being sent in to bat by the the Sixers, the Thunder started their innings with a bang, but ended with a whimper.
It was a point Thunder captain Mike Hussey accepted was in need of improvement.
“I thought we were pretty competitive but we’ve got a fair few areas we need to work on,” Hussey said.
“We got off to a brilliant start. I thought we could have finished a bit better. It’s a natural thing to do when you get off to such a fast start, the batters coming in sort of feel like they have to keep up that pace.
“We should have just come out and pushed the twos because there was plenty of space out there. We’ll certainly learn from that. We probably could have got an extra 20 runs, which could have been a lot better.
“We’re disappointed to lose. But there’s a lot of positives there. There’s enough signs to say that we are going to be a lot more competitive.”
It may be a different format to Test matches, but Warner’s recent form continued. Australia’s most dangerous player put on another batting exhibition, this time smashing a half-century as the Thunder reached 6-166.
But he was matched on the night by Khawaja at the other end, who kept up with Warner’s scoring rate and went on to make 66 off 51 balls.
The two openers brought up their 100-run partnership in 58 balls, laying the foundation for what should have been a big score.
Warner was eventually caught by Jordan Silk at deep midwicket off the bowling of Mark Cosgrove, but the fact that the opener was one of the Thunder’s main positives for the night, could in its own way be a negative.
Warner is unlikely to take part in much of the rest of the tournament and Hussey conceded the pocket dynamo’s shoes would be very difficult to fill.
“It’s not easy to replace someone like Davey Warner in this form of the game,” Hussey said.
“Uzzy’s got a hamstring strain as well. So that’s certainly not ideal for us, two of our best batsmen are going to be unavailable. I still think we’ve got the ability to cover it.
Hussey said the side would like at the possibility of him opening.
“We’ve got Dilshan arriving pretty soon as well,” Hussey added.
“We’ve got to smarter the way we finish things off.”
Warner’s wicket when the Thunder’s innings looked set to top 200 brought his skipper to the crease, but Hussey’s stay was brief after he top-edged one and was caught by Dan Smith for 2.
Regular wickets stemmed the flow of runs, with Moises Henriques taking the big one of Khawaja.
There were no notable contributions after that, making it tough to keep up with the regular comings and goings of green-clad batsmen.
The way they collapsed from being 0-116 to 6-166 at the end innings is what ultimately let them down and they would have been bitterly disappointed after failing to capitalize on such a strong start.
The Thunder will get a chance to redeem themselves agains the Strikers next weekend – one of the two Big Bash teams they’ve ever beaten.
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