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Sydney Thunder narrowly escaped the Scorchers' scare as they secured a 1-run win in their last match. The win has not only propelled them above the mid-table block but has also avoided a possible position in bottom-four. They'll be facing Melbourne Stars on Saturday, 5th January at Carrara where the Stars will be looking to rise-above the mid-table hotchpotch and displace Thunder from the second position due to the virtue of their better net run rate. A win for Thunder, however, will take them to eight points, same as Hobart Hurricanes - the current table toppers, albeit in five matches.
Stars had a quiet start to the tournament as they lost a couple of games on the trot, but have bounced back into the contention with back to back wins. They are now at the fourth spot in the ladder with a remarkable net run rate of .595.
They were terrific in their local derby game against Melbourne Renegades which was just a couple of days ago. The move to open the innings with Marcus Stoinis rewarded them with rich dividends as he went on to score a match-winning half-century.
After electing to field first, Stars' failed to make early inroads into the Renegades' batting lineup. Maxwell started off with the proceedings with a quiet first over. However, Sam Harper and Mackenzie Harvey were quick to put the bad balls away as the Renegades raced to fifty within the first five overs. However, some excellent bowling by Dwayne Bravo, Adam Zampa, and Marcus Stoinis in the middle-overs brought Stars back into the business. The pull-back in the middle overs allowed them to restrict to just 148 which was a terrific effort considering the start they had. Dwayne Bravo was the pick of their bowlers as he returned with the figures of 4-0-27-3.
Stars' opening batsmen in Ben Dunk and Marcus Stoinis utilized the field restrictions and the new ball to a good effect scoring 67 of the first eight overs. Ben Dunk was the first man to be dismissed for a personal score of 27. There were chances of another collapse with Larkin soon getting run out, but the 65-runs partnership between Maxwell and Stoinis meant curtains for the Renegades.
Marcus Stoinis, Ben Dunk, N Larkin, Glenn Maxwell, Sebastian Gotch, Dwayne Bravo, Evan Gulbis, LE Plunkett, Scott Boland, Adam Zampa, Michael Beer.
Sydney Thunders scraped through to a one-run win in their last match to get back into the top four teams in the points table. These are still early days in the Big Bash League and staying at the top of the ladder will mean lesser pressure towards the end of the tournament.
Batting first on a surface that was used for almost forty overs in the Women's Big Bash League match between the Thunder and the Sixers, Thunder managed to score 142. Although a total of 142 isn't threatening by any standards in T20 cricket, it was a total that required some effort to overhaul considering the slowness of the surface.
The early loss of Shane Watson, who experience of playing on slow wickets could have been helpful, was a big setback for the Thunder, but the partnership between Jos Buttler and Callum Ferguson nullified the advantage they conceded to the Scorchers. They were considerably slowed-down in the middle overs once the Scorchers' slower bowlers were introduced. Buttler anchored their innings and with an important cameo from Chris Green, the somehow managed to get to 142.
It wasn't an easy surface to bat in the second innings and it anything it only going to get slower. Thunder bowlers utilized the surface perfectly as they got rid of four important batsmen midway through the second innings. They, however, could not contain Ashton Turner who single-handedly brought Scorchers at the brink of a win. Scorchers needed twenty off the final over but fell short by just a run to face heartbreaking loss. The win helped Thunder climb a couple of places in the ladder, but will need to improve their performance so as to continue staying at the top.
Jos Buttler, SR Watson, Callum Ferguson, JE Root, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Christopher Green, Gurinder Sandhu, Sam Rainbird, Jonathan Cook, Fawad Ahmed.
With two teams coming from a win behind their back, it's certainly going to be an exciting contest. The move of Stoinis opening the batting worked wonders for them as he single-handedly got his team to a victory. Handscomb will not be available for the Stars as he is away for national duty and his absence is a big setback for the Stars. Thunder, on the other hand, have played well in the tournament so far, but their batting has depended heavily on Shane Watson and Jos Buttler. The abrupt change to play in different conditions will be a big challenge for the Scorchers. Considering the aforementioned factors, we think the Stars are better placed to win the upcoming encounter.
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