Sydney Thunder 2 for 28 (5.3 overs) (Khawaja 13, Bird 1-5) beat Sydney Sixers 76 all out (Avendano 28, Sams 3-14) by four runs (by DLS method)
Sydney Thunder exacted revenge against crosstown rivals Sydney Sixers with a dominant bowling performance in a rain-affected match at Sydney Showground Stadium on Saturday.
After electing to bowl, Thunder's seamers relished ideal bowling conditions and took advantage of two short rain delays to rout the Sixers, who only had two batsmen reach double figures, in their lowly total of 76. Chasing an amended 75 from 16 overs, the Thunder struggled against probing bowling from Jackson Bird but a potentially thrilling chase was ruined by inclement weather.
Thunder gained revenge on second-placed Sixers after losing a Super Over nerve-jangler in the Sydney Smash at the SCG earlier in the tournament.
Thunder dominate in seaming conditions
Thunder made the most of a green-tinged pitch under overcast skies and were helped by a horrible mix-up from openers Daniel Hughes and Josh Philippe. Chris Morris pounced in his follow-through with a clever football-style tap to run out Hughes in the first over.
The Sixers slumped to 2 for 1 when Philippe was trapped lbw to Gurinder Sandhu's first delivery, as the ball menacingly hooped around in the favourable bowling conditions. The Sixers were momentarily reprieved when rain interrupted play after 11 deliveries but slid further on resumption after Moises Henriques got a pearler from Morris as the game resembled something closer to red-ball cricket.
Normal service resumed after another short rain delay when James Vince fell in typical tame fashion. The Sixers needed Tom Curran to conjure the type of heroics he produced in the last Sydney Smash but he was dismissed after another ham-fisted run out to leave the Sixers lurching at 6 for 26 after 8 overs.
Avendano counterattacks but lower-order crumble
Sixers' meek tally received a timely boost when Justin Avendano broke the shackles with a blow into the stands off Nathan McAndrew in a rare counterattack. He found a willing partner in Ben Dwarshuis, who struggled to consistently land blows against the accurate Sixers seamers but the pair added a vital 45-run partnership in the backend.
Avendano launched in the 14th over with a baseball-like bash over bowler McAndrew's head and over the sightscreen. Dwarshuis finally managed to find the middle with some lusty hits before holing out in the penultimate over, as the Sixers regained total control by then dismissing danger man Avendano.
There was little resistance from there and fittingly, the Sixers mediocre innings finished with a run out of Steve O'Keefe.
Bird menaces before rain ensures early finish
The Sixers needed early wickets and Bird provided the tonic with a short delivery to bedevil Alex Hales first ball. The conditions were tailor-made for Bird, who bowled a nagging shortish length that he has mastered during a formidable red-ball career.
Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson cautiously saw him off and attacked Curran at the other end until the former drove loosely to be caught at slip.
Ferguson and Daniel Sams tapped the ball around to ensure the Thunder were ahead of the DLS par score as rain drizzled before the required five-over mark needed for a guaranteed result.
The Thunder breathed a sigh of relief as play continued until midway through the sixth over when the rain became stronger. It failed to abate and washed away the Sixers' hopes.