Watson pyrotechnics power Thunder to crucial win

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Shane Watson starred in Sydney Thunder’s second win of the current edition

Shane Watson (55 off 31 balls) played a wide array of shots to secure Sydney Thunder’s six-wicket victory against Hobart Hurricanes at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Sunday (January 8). James Vince also showed his class and quality with a breezy 28-ball 44 at the top of the order. With this victory, Thunder kept their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the tournament alive.
While chasing down a target of 162, Thunder were off to a rollicking start. The way Vince approached the chase came across as a statement of positive intent. He lofted Clive Rose, the left-arm spinner, over cover in the very first over of the innings. Vince continued to play a volley of strokes as he collected a couple of boundaries off Daniel Christian in the third over. Kurtis Patterson followed in Vince’s footsteps by thumping Shaun Tait for two fours in the next over.
To stem the run-flow, Tim Paine reintroduced Rose into the attack. However, Vince skipped down the track and lofted the slow left-arm orthodox bowler straight down the ground for a six. It was the experienced seamer, Stuart Broad, who provided the initial incision by dislodging Patterson. It was a fine delivery from the pacer as it nipped back off the seam from round the wicket before straightening on the angle to catch the edge.
Cameron Boyce then dismissed Vince, with D’Arcy Short pouching the catch at midwicket. Incidentally, Vince came in as a replacement for Eoin Morgan after the England captain left to India on national commitments.
At that stage of the match, Thunder were 80 for 2 off 9.3 overs. Watson, however, snuffed out Hobart’s chances by checking in a volley of shots. Watson crunched two fours and a six off Tait in the 11th over. He also took a heavy toll off Christian in the 15th over by landing a couple of meaty blows that sailed into the stands. Christian, though, had the last laugh as he sent Watson back to the pavilion in the same over.
By then, Thunder required just 19 runs to pick up their second win of the tournament. Ben Rohrer (28 not out) played with a calm head on his shoulders to steer Thunder home with 19 balls to spare.
Earlier in the match, Clint McKay and Pat Cummins rocked Hurricanes’ top-order by nipping out the duo of Paine (4) and Short (0). George Bailey (69 not out off 54 balls) and Ben McDermott tried to revive the innings with a 46-run stand for the third wicket before the latter was run-out.
Bailey then stitched timely stands of 34 and 49 with Christian and Jonathan Wells, respectively. Eventually, Bailey’s enterprise with the willow took Hurricanes to a competitive total of 161 for 8 in their allotted 20 overs. However, on a good track for batting, they were perhaps 20 runs short of a winning score.
Both Thunder and Hurricanes have eked out just two wins in six matches till now. However, as Thunder’s Net run-rate of -0.787 is comparatively worse to Hobart’s -0.194, they languish at the bottom of the points table.
Brief scores: Hobart Hurricanes 161/8 in 20 overs (George Bailey 69*, Ben McDermott 31; Carlos Brathwaite 2-31) lost to Sydney Thunder 162/4 in 16.5 overs (Shane Watson 55, James Vince 44; Cameron Boyce 2-28) by 6 wickets.

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