Sydney Thunder silences MCG to defeat the Stars and clinch maiden BBL Title
Sydney Thunders sealed their maiden triumph in the Big Bash League by defeating Melbourne Stars by three wickets in the final in front of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. Chasing the target of 177 set by the Stars, the Sydney batsmen held their nerve late on chasing down the target with three balls to spare after Usman Khawaja’s 40-ball 70 had given them a good start.
Billed as the ‘Battle of the Brothers’ with Michael Hussey leading Thunder against Stars led by his younger brother David Hussey, the final of the fifth edition of the Big Bash League didn’t fail to disappoint with the match being a closely fought contest. With both teams aiming for their maiden triumph in Australia’s premier T20 tournament, the crowd at the MCG witnessed a superb contest but unfortunately for the home crowd, the result went against them.
Kevin Pietersen followed up his heroics in the semifinal where he had smashed an explosive 62 runs off 36 balls, with a knock of 74 from just 39 balls to propel Melbourne Stars to a healthy total of 176 in their 20 overs. Skipper David Hussey chipped in with a useful 21 towards the end of the innings but the Stars batsmen were guilty of not converting their starts into meaningful scores, especially opener Luke Wright who departed for 23 off 24 balls having done all the hard coming in as an opener.
Shane Watson was the standout bowler for Sydney picking up 2 wickets at less than six runs an over in his three overs while off-break bowler Chris Green also picked up two wickets.
In reply, the Thunder got off to a good start with Khawaja playing aggressively while Kallis held the other end together with a cautious start. The pair added 86 for the opening wicket before Adam Zampa got the breakthrough. Watson fell soon after to put them in a spot of bother but Khawaja continued merrily smashing five boundaries and three sixes in his stay at the crease.
Marcus Stoinis picked up three wickets for the Stars but it proved too less for the home side as useful contributions from the Sydney batsmen, especially Aiden Blizzard’s 7-ball 16, saw them home to cap off a memorable day in their history.
Toss: Sydney Thunders won the toss and elected to bowl first
Melbourne Stars: 176/9 in 20 overs – Kevin Pietersen 74 (39), David Hussey 21(14); Shane Watson 17/2
Sydney Thunder: 181/7 in 19.3 overs – Usman Khawaja 70(40), Jacques Kallis 28(27); Marcus Stoinis 30/3
Result: Sydney Thunder won by three wickets