Thunder survive Scorchers fightback
Usman Khawaja's return to the Big Bash League inspired Sydney Thunder to a much-needed victory over Perth Scorchers, as Cameron Bancroft and Hilton Cartwright's daring counterattack fell short.
Reigning champions Perth had been unbeaten this season until they lost to Brisbane Heat last week.
And while the Scorchers responded by seeing off Melbourne Renegades at the Furnace, they came up short on the road again on Thursday, as Khawaja (85) helped the hosts to 175-4 batting first.
Mitchell Johnson (0-25) fell flat with the ball and then Perth openers William Bosisto (9) and Michael Klinger (4) both failed.
But Bancroft (75 not out) and Cartwright (65no) ensured a dramatic finish, the latter smacking a huge six back over the head of Mitchell McClenaghan (1-53) and hitting the roof in a tense finale.
The New Zealander suffered a torrid last over, giving up that six as well as a four, and bowling a no-ball, but somehow retained his composure and narrowly avoided consigning his team to what would have been an embarrassing late capitulation.
SEAMLESS SHIFT FROM TESTS TO T20 FOR KHAWAJA
Khawaja signed off on the Ashes with 171 in Sydney and he had no trouble readjusting to the shortest format of the game a week later.
The 31-year-old brought up his half-century by dispatching Tim Bresnan over long-off for six and, for good measure, he then pulled the veteran over square leg for another maximum from the next delivery.
In addition to finding the boundary eight times, Khawaja also plundered sixes off the bowling of Matthew Kelly and Ashton Agar, who ultimately dislodged the rampant opener with a ball that angled away outside off stump, eliciting an edge taken by Klinger.
BANCROFT SHRUGS OFF ASHES STRUGGLES
While Australia may have romped to an easy 4-0 win, it was a series to forget for Bancroft, whose 82 not out in the second innings in Brisbane was his only half-century across the five Tests.
The 25-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman looked more at home at the Sydney Showground Stadium on Thursday than he had making a duck across the city at the SCG a week earlier.
Bancroft stemmed the flow of early wickets and transformed Perth's innings from damage limitation to a daring bid for victory, surviving being dropped by Khawaja to smack three sixes and five fours off 56 balls alongside Cartwright, although the pair's valiant efforts ultimately proved to be in vain.