The experience of Callum Ferguson guided the Thunder over the line
Sydney Thunder 3 for 156 (Ferguson 61*, Davies 36, Behrendorff 1-32) beat Perth Scorchers 5 for 152 (M Marsh 52*, Bancroft 34*, Cutting 1-16) by seven wickets
An eye-catching debut from Ollie Davies and a notable comeback by Adam Milne were two of the standout performances for the Sydney Thunder as they marched to victory against a Perth Scorchers side who never really hit top gear.
The Scorchers labored to 3 for 56 at the midway mark of their innings and though Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Bancroft did a good job to take them above 150 it felt as though they were always playing catch up.
The chase had some tricky moments at the start, but the partnership of 75 in seven overs between 20-year-old Davies and captain Callum Ferguson put the Thunder on course before Ben Cutting played his part in closing out the game.
The Thunder had not gained much early impetus to their chase having lost Alex Hales for a first-ball duck – bowled by a beauty from Jason Behrendorff – and Usman Khawaja heaved into the leg side shortly after being given a life courtesy of an awful umpiring decision when he hit the cover off a drive against AJ Tye. The Scorchers, and especially Tye, could barely believe the decision with the umpiring telling the bowler he thought the bat had hit the ground. Tye was still ticking at the end of the over and had to be told to calm down. However, it was far from the first poor decision in this tournament that will reignite the debate over the lack of the DRS.
Usman Khawaja was given not out after clearly nicking the ball off Andrew Tye in the BBL today.
Without the DRS, the decision stood. pic.twitter.com/Zuma3Ij91s
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) December 22, 2020
Youth and experience
There are 16 years between Ferguson and Davies who combined for the stand that turned the game in the Thunder’s favour. Two years ago, Davies came into the spotlight when he struck six sixes in an over during an Under-19 tournament and it was that sort of intent he put on show here. Against Behrendorff, an international fast bowler, he used his feet to launch a six over midwicket and then struck a massive one-handed hook out of the ground – the enjoyment evident in his face. He showed that same positive approach against the spin of Fawad Ahmed, slog-sweeping him for his third six, before having one dip too many and being stumped. But it had been a joyous little innings.
Ferguson, given a life on 2 when Josh Inglis missed a difficult chance, had certainly not been left behind by his young team-mate, tucking into Aaron Hardie’s third over as the game swung the Thunder’s way. He went to his half-century from 39 balls then Cutting tucked into Jhye Richardson during the first over of the Power Surge to bring the required rate under a run-a-ball although good overs from Tye, which included Ferguson being dropped by Marsh, and Ahmed brought a modicum bit of pressure.
Milne was playing his first game since August 2019 after another run of injuries. He has opted for the BBL against of New Zealand domestic cricket in a bid to push his credentials for the next T20 World Cup. After being eased into the tournament, his first outing was impressive as he conceded just 17 from his four overs and did not concede a boundary, often hurrying the batsmen for pace. However, there would have been a few hearts-in-mouths early in his second over when his spikes did not take in the delivery stride and he slid through the crease, very close to doing something nasty to his ankle. He finished flat on his back, but in a relief for everyone quickly managed a smile before dusting himself down.
Power Surge pinch-hitter
There was some out-of-the-box thinking from the Scorchers as they tried inject life into their innings when they called the Surge. Ashton Turner, who again struck the ball well, had fallen to the last delivery of the first of the two overs and Richardson walked out at No. 6 with a license to swing. It was a qualified success as he heaved his first ball to the midwicket fence, faced a dot and then got a single with 30 runs in total off the Surge. Knowing his job wasn’t to waste deliveries, Richardson carved his next delivery to backward point.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo