CRICKET BBL THUNDER HURRICANES
CRICKET BBL THUNDER HURRICANES

Lights out: Cruel end to Thunder’s BBL campaign

Sydney Thunder's rollercoaster season is over after they were agonisingly denied a spot in the Big Bash playoffs on run-rates.

Proving yet again why they are the unluckiest team in the BBL, the Thunder finished the season on a high by beating the competition-leading Hobart Hurricanes by four wickets in a last-over thriller at Manuka Oval.

But they just didn't do it quickly enough, overhauling Hobart's total of 4-165 with four balls to spare when they needed to get there in less than 11.3 overs.

The result leaves them fifth on the table, pipped by the Brisbane Heat for fourth place by the cruellest twist of fate.

The teams only finished level on points because their match at the Gabba last month was abandoned when the lights went out just as the Thunder were closing in on victory.

Although they had enough chances to render that result irrelevant, the Thunder always feared they would pay the ultimate penalty for the blackout fiasco.

The Thunder were robbed of a point when the power coincidentally failed just as they were on the verge of victory and the repercussions are still being felt.

Had the lights stayed on for just five more minutes, the Thunder would have been awarded the win and would be sitting fourth on the table and hoping the Sydney Sixers beat the Melbourne Stars on Sunday.

As things stand, the Heat will play the Hurricanes in the first semi-final at Hobart on Thursday as long as the Stars don't win at the MCG.

The Thunder players and management were fuming when Brisbane turned down their offer to only bowl spin in the reduced lights so there was no danger of any batsmen being hurt, so don't expect them to be cheering the Heat if they do end up snatching the last playoff spot.

 

Shane Watson (R) discussed the farcical blackout at the Gabba with match officials last month. Picture: AAP
Shane Watson (R) discussed the farcical blackout at the Gabba with match officials last month. Picture: AAP

 

Despite missing out on the semis, the Thunder did produce one of their best all round performances of an up and down season where they blew a handful of chances to win.

Pat Cummins, playing his first BBL game of the campaign after completing his international duties, got the key wickets of D'Arcy and Matthew Wade while Test batsman Usman Khawaja made 36 off 21 balls after being struck in the head early in his innings.

George Bailey top scored for the Hurricanes with 53 but Callum Ferguson, the Thunder's leading runscorer this season, laid the foundations for Sydney's successful run chase with an aggressive 47.

The Thunder didn't do themselves any favours by producing a sloppy performance in the field when they really needed to be sharp to restrict Hobart to a total they had a chance of getting quickly.

Fawad Ahmed was the main culprit, dropping Wade on 5 and 14 and misfielding a straightforward pick up on the rope to give up a boundary.

In a match where ever run counted, Khawaja gave up an overthrow and Gurinder Sandhu bowled three wides in the penultimate over.

 

Matthew Wade played a lone hand for the Hurricanes. Picture: AAP
Matthew Wade played a lone hand for the Hurricanes. Picture: AAP

 

The Hurricanes have been the most dominant team all season, winning 11 of their 14 matches and matches, so fully deserve their spot at the top of the table but shouldn't be counting their chickens yet.

They've scored more runs than any other team and have the two top scorers in the competition in Short and Wade and are unbeaten in Hobart this season, where they will host the semi-final and final, if they get there.

But if previous BBL seasons are any indication, finishing first counts for nothing in the playoffs and is more of a hindrance than a help.

In the previous sevens seasons, the team that finished the regular season in first place has gone on to win the title just once and been knocked out in the semis on five occasions.

 

 

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News Corp Australia


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