Sydney Thunder 5 for 166 (Buttler 67, Watson 41, Rose 2-20) beat Hobart Hurricanes 109 (Doolan 34, Archer 25*, Fawad Ahmed 2-14) by 57 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Arjun Nair took 2 for 17 from four overs © Getty Images
Buttler smashed four sixes and five fours in his innings of 67 from 41 balls to set up a solid total at University of Tasmania Stadium, a ground not previously used in men’s BBL cricket.
Then the spinners bamboozled the Hurricanes top order to secure the Thunder’s second win of the tournament. The Hurricanes have remained winless but the schedule has done them no favours. They looked rusty after nine days between games and the Hurricanes and the Stars will be the only two teams to have played only two matches prior to the New Year.
The Buttler did it
Buttler has an excellent T20 record. In 206 career matches, he averages 28.11 and strikes at 143.45 playing in a variety of roles for a number of different teams across both international and domestic cricket. But his last 12 T20s in the Bangladesh Premier League and the BBL have been extremely lean. He has averaged 9.5, striking at 110.69 with a highest score of 26.
He delivered in spades in Launceston. A boundary in the first over settled him, then Kurtis Patterson’s hat-trick of boundaries in the second over allowed Buttler more time to adjust to a surface he had not previously seen before. After Patterson fell, Buttler and Shane Watson only scored at seven an over until the end of the 11th over. Then Buttler exploded, targeting debutant Thomas Rogers. He struck four sixes in an over. The second travelled 108 metres. The third came from a no-ball that was called for an above head-high bouncer. The ensuing free hit was hammered 110 metres onto the roof of the stand at midwicket. The run-rate had vaulted above nine an over by the end of the 13th before Buttler gave away his stumps to Clive Rose in the 14th and was bowled.
Watson kept rolling, striking two boundaries in the 15th over but the innings fell flat following a bizarre run-out. Watson and Callum Ferguson aren’t the nimblest between the wickets as both have a history of injury issues. Watson assumed a second run was on after Ferguson worked a ball into the leg- side but Ferguson didn’t run. Watson was left stranded, later admitting he didn’t hear the call of “no”. Rose, Jofra Archer and Tymal Mills bowled superbly to concede just 27 in the last four overs. They gave up just one boundary and it was when Archer parried a simple catch at long-on over the rope for six after Mills had forced a miscue from Ryan Gibson.
Hurricanes’ solid start
D’Arcy Short and Alex Doolan have produced three consecutive 50-run opening partnerships, including the two warm-up games and round one of the BBL. They looked on again when Short struck two fours and a six to three different parts of the ground in the second over of the innings from Gurinder Sandhu.
The rate was slowed by wickets. Mitchell McClenaghan bowled Short through the gate and Ben McDermott also played a shot he would regret. He produced a wild slog off Sandhu with the score at 1 for 35 after 4.1. The top-edge was well caught by Buttler running back towards third man. George Bailey joined Doolan and the pair kept the required rate under nine through seven overs.
Hurricanes in a spin
The Hurricanes lost 5 for 34 in the next eight overs of spin. Fawad and Nair took a wicket each in the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th overs respectively to kill off the game. Ahmed, Nair and Chris Green delivered 22 dot balls in 48 deliveries and conceded just one boundary in total. Jofra Archer hit Green over long-on for six second ball having strangely walked out at No. 9.
The Hurricanes decided to promote Cameron Boyce to No. 6, and bat Rose in front of Archer at No.8. Boyce averages 8.41 in T20 cricket at a strike rate of 104.12 with a highest score of 24 not out. Rose’s numbers are better (16.75 and 131.37) but they are not as good as Archer’s, who averages 18.87 and strikes at 143.80. Even the basic eye-test, frowned upon in sabermetrics, would reveal he is a far better batsman than Boyce and Rose. He proved it with an impressive, but ultimately fruitless, 25 not out from 16 balls as the Thunder cleaned up the tail.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.