Russell stars but Thunder lose again
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):
Not even a fine all-round effort from West Indies star Andre Russell was enough to save Sydney Thunder from crashing to a 30-run defeat to Perth Scorchers, in the Australian Big Bash here yesterday.
Chasing 176 for victory at the Sydney Showground Stadium, Thunder slumped to 17 for two in the third over before crawling to 145 for nine off their 20 overs.
The 27-year-old Russell unfurled a whirlwind 42 off 20 deliveries with five sixes but wickets continued to fall as Thunder slid to their third straight loss, leaving them fourth in the BBL standings.
With their victory, Scorchers moved to the top of the standings on eight points along with Adelaide Strikers but with a superior net run rate.
Sent in, Scorchers recovered from a position of one run for two wickets in the second over to rally to 175 for five off 20 overs.
The revival came through Cameron Bancroft who struck 72 off 53 balls in anchoring two key stands. He first put on 63 for the third wicket with Shaun Marsh, who hit 28 from 22 balls and a further 105 for the third wicket with Ashton Agar, who blasted 68 off 34 deliveries.
Pacer Russell, who knocked over Michael Klinger with the third ball of the game without a run on the board, returned to claim Bancroft in the penultimate over and end with two for 31 from four overs.
In reply, Thunder lost South African Jacques Kallis (7) and Aiden Blizzard (7) cheaply to left-arm seamer Jason Behrendorff before Russell came to their rescue with his cameo.
His first nine deliveries yielded eight runs without a single boundary, but with the required run rate jumping to 13 at the end of the 11th over, Russell launched an all-out assault.
He twice cleared the ropes with left-arm spinner Brad Hogg in the 12th over, which went for 16 runs, and then smashed leg-side sixes off English left-arm seamer David Willey in the next over, which also cost 16 runs.
It took the return Behrendorff and a stunning catch from Joel Paris at fine leg to account for Russell in the 14th over with the score on 97 for five.
Once he departed, the innings lost momentum, with four more wickets falling for the addition of just 40 runs.