Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes
Hobart Hurricanes 189-3 (Short 97, McDermott 49*, Wade 27) def Sydney Thunder 180-8 (Buttler 81, Patterson 36, Watson 36, Boyce 14-2, Archer 42-2) by 9 runs at Spotless Stadium
If the Hobart Hurricanes had made a new year’s resolution, it would have been to improve on their dismal batting performance against the Sydney Thunder in the closing days of 2017. By virtue of some haphazard fixturing, they had their chance to make amends just two days later, against the same opposition. All that seemed to have changed was the fact that the match was being played in 2018, but the Hurricanes put in a vastly improved batting performance to sink the Thunder and claim their first win of the season.
It was D’Arcy Short who proved the matchwinner. He started his innings with some nice shots, and benefitted from some luck as an inside edge against Chris Green narrowly missed his off stump. The Hurricanes start was more subdued as Short slightly tempered his natural instincts, and Alex Doolan got himself bogged down before throwing his wicket away to Gurinder Sandhu. Sandhu closed his first over with a wicket maiden, and the Thunder looked to be in control. Then Short began to get going.
It was Matthew Wade who kicked off the onslaught that came just after the PowerPlay. Promoted to three despite his poor form with the bat, the deposed Australian wicketkeeper had started badly but got himself going with a big six against Arjun Nair. Short drilled Fawad Ahmed down the ground for six in the next over, and both cashed in again as Sandhu returned, pitched too short, and was smashed for two sixes. The Thunder mounted a slight recovery, with Short facing three dot balls with his score on 49 and Wade departing shortly afterwards, with Ahmed catching him out with a nice ball as he looked to slog sweep. The Hurricanes looked to have thrown away some of their early momentum.
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Big innings: D’Arcy Short hits to the on-side during his brilliant 97.
The turning point came when Shane Watson returned to the attack. His first over had been inexpensive, bogging Short down and delaying his efforts to reach 50. His first ball was a single for Ben McDermott, and then the fireworks began. Watson was hit for a towering six over mid-wicket, and smote twice through the covers. When he dropped short, Short capitalised and glided it over the top of third-man. The over went for 20, and when McDermott began to get going things began to spiral out of control. Boundaries flew on both sides of the wicket, as Short found himself in the nineties but unable to get the strike as McDermott hit four after four. Mitchell McClenaghan was disqualified from bowling after a horror start to the last over, and with Watson closing it out it looked as if both could reach their upcoming milestones. Neither could, with Short holing out for 97 and McDermott closing on 48 not out, but the damage was done.
The Thunder began their chase convincingly, as Jos Buttler and Kurtis Patterson found the fence well during the PowerPlay. Tymal Mills was expensive early as Patterson drove beautifully through the covers and Buttler played an extraordinary ramp shot for six, and both were able to get boundaries away off the economical Jofra Archer to close off the PowerPlay at 0/65. Then, through a cruel twist of fate, Patterson was forced to depart. His fluent innings was closed when Short, entering the attack, dropped Buttler onto the non-striker’s end stumps. It wasn’t really a catch, because it was hit far too hard for that, but the resultant deflection was just as damaging. Watson struggled to get going, and the Hurricanes had retaken some control.
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No clue: Ryan Gibson has his innings ended by a brilliant slower ball from Tymal Mills.
Watson began to build into his innings well after a slow start. He was denied a six by Dan Christian’s extraordinary bat back into the field of play, and proceeded to get himself in by drilling fours on either side of the wicket. He really got going against Clive Rose, with two fours and a six making for a big over, and then it was gone. Cameron Boyce was smacked very hard down the ground, but the shot rocketed straight to Doolan. When Callum Ferguson was dismissed the next ball, as Archer made amends for a shocking earlier drop by taking a nice catch, the Thunder were in trouble.
All they had in their favour was the presence of Buttler. He had benefitted from Archer’s horrendous drop as he skied one off Rose, and gone on to make his half-century just before Watson’s departure. Just as Boyce looked set for a double wicket maiden, he hit a big six off the last ball, and was the Thunder’s last hope. Ben Rohrer departed in the next over with a top edged pull shot, and while Archer was smacked for a six and a pair of fours, he also took the wicket of Nair for a golden duck. Buttler couldn’t get the strike as Ryan Gibson floundered against Mills before getting bowled by a wonderful dipping slower ball, and despite slapping the first ball of the next over for four through point, he just couldn’t do it alone. He was run out scrambling to get himself back on strike in the last over, his 81 in vain despite a pair of boundaries from Sandhu which raised hopes of a remarkable victory. The Hurricanes, just days after a crushing defeat against the same team, were just too good.
1. D’Arcy Short (Hobart Hurricanes)
Short was the undisputed star of the show, blazing away with timing and plenty of power to fall just three short of what would have been a thoroughly deserved century. He hit some great sixes over the leg side, and took the Thunder bowlers to task with clever footwork and clinical picking of gaps. He has got 2018 off to a perfect start, and will be looking to keep it going.
2. Jos Buttler (Sydney Thunder)
Buttler nearly did enough to guide the Thunder home despite a rapid loss of wickets at the other end. He looks to have found his touch in a big way, and combined his power forward of the wicket and his inventiveness to devastating effect. Unfortunately for the Thunder, he will only play one more game due to international duty, with it all over just as he starts to get going.
3. Ben McDermott (Hobart Hurricanes)
McDermott started slowly but exploded in the last few overs to get himself to an important 48 not out and give the Hurricanes the impetus they needed to post an imposing target. He looked very strong hitting down the ground, and finally seems to have found some much-needed form at this early stage of the season.
4. Cameron Boyce (Hobart Hurricanes)
Boyce was the pick of the Hurricanes bowlers, taking a pair of massive wickets and halting the Thunder’s momentum at a crucial stage in the match. His removal of Watson and Ferguson gave the Hurricanes the late burst they needed to complete their defence, and his work in keeping the runs down after a massive PowerPlay should not be discounted.
5. Kurtis Patterson (Sydney Thunder)
Scored a very nice 36 to get the Thunder off to a rapid start, driving well through the covers and supporting Buttler’s hard-hitting assault with some excellent touch. He was very unlucky to get run out, and looks ready to step up when Buttler leaves a hole in the Thunder’s batting.