Thunder squeeze past Scorchers in rain-affected BBL thriller

By Sports Desk January 26, 2020

Chris Morris emerged as the final-over hero after Sydney Thunder preserved their Big Bash League play-off hopes with a tense win over Perth Scorchers on Sunday.

The Thunder needed to triumph to avoid elimination from top-five contention and held their nerve with the bat after being set 96 from 12 overs for victory following a rain delay at Spotless Stadium.

South African Morris clubbed a six and a four in consecutive deliveries to reward Alex Hales' blistering 47 and get the hosts home with two balls to spare, sealing a seven-wicket victory that takes them above the Scorchers and into fourth.

Miserly bowling from Chris Tremain (1-14) and Daniel Sams (1-16) earlier restricted the Scorchers to 99-4 from 15 overs, their total reduced following the hour-long pause in play.

 

BANCROFT BUILDS COMPETITIVE TOTAL

The Scorchers gave themselves plenty of work to do after winning the toss, electing to bat and then slipping to 64-4 in the 12th over of their truncated innings.

They were indebted to Cameron Bancroft for achieving a reasonable score before the rain arrived, the Australia international managing a valuable unbeaten 35 from 25 balls amid scant contributions elsewhere in the top six.

Liam Livingstone stuttered to Perth's next-best score with 20 off 27 as Tremain, Sams and Morris (1-9) kept the total down.

 

HALES HELPS THUNDER THROUGH THE STORM

Following scores of 85 and 63 in the previous two games, England international Hales continued his fine form in a standout performance.

The 31-year-old made light of a difficult wicket as he breezed to 47 from 27 balls before slicing a catch to cover off Fawad Ahmad (1-15).

The ease with which Hales found the boundary - his innings included four fours and two sixes - came in contrast to the other batsman during a low-scoring affair on a difficult wicket.

 

MORRIS SETTLES THUNDER NERVES

Hales' departure led to the loss of three wickets for 16 runs as the Thunder started to let victory slip from their grasp.

Usman Khawaja (22) was caught out of his crease, Jhye Richardson bowled Alex Ross and the Scorchers suddenly became favourites to escape with the points.

Enter all-rounder Morris. After watching Callum Ferguson take three runs off the first two balls of the decisive 12th over from Matt Kelly, the 32-year-old brought a stunning end to the contest.

He struck a huge six over long-on and then pierced a drive through the off-side to snatch a season-saving win for the Thunder just as it looked to have eluded them.

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