Sunday, December 4, 2022

Sydney Thunder – Shane Bond: Now is time to keep the faith

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No changes to 13-player squad for Sydney Smash

Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond said while his team deserves the mantle “super competitive”, he’s urging his players to start winning what he calls the “key, little moments” that decide the outcomes of T20 matches.

Thunder play the Sixers at Sydney Showground Stadium on Saturday night in the return serve of the Sydney Smash, and while Bond is anticipating an “epic” re-match he is also expecting change from his team.

After losing Wednesday night’s rain-affected KFC Big Bash League game to the Melbourne Renegades in Canberra, Bond conceded it was frustrating to watch his team follow the same pattern that’s plagued some of their other matches this season.

“We’re doing some really good stuff for a long period of time, but two or three overs tend to be letting us down – and they’re big overs,” said Bond.

“Big overs in T20 cricket can be the difference. In our losses to the Brisbane Heat and Renegades, it was the ‘big’ overs that defined our bowling performances.

“Seventeen overs were excellent, but to let it slip at the backend was very frustrating. As coach, you like to focus on the 17 that we’re doing well, but we need to make some adjustments; be a little bit better at the back-end. It’s something we have to work through.”

Bond insisted there was no sense of panic in Thunder’s ranks, saying his team have displayed more than enough in each game they’ve played to instil confidence that they’ll qualify for the finals.

“You keep the faith,” he said. “We do change our players around because of the conditions, but we feel as if we’re doing it right. When you look at our matches it’s little [losing] margins; we’re not being bowled out for low scores and we’ve consistently put runs on the board.

“Our Net Run Rate is close to zero, which means all of our games are tight. We’re super-competitive, but you need to win the little key moments. There is only so much talking you can do about it: if we can change a few little things – and win – we’ll be on the right side of the ledger.

“This competition is so tight two back-to-back wins can take a team from sixth position on the table to third. We’re right in the competition.”

After losing the first of this summer’s Sydney Smash matches by only one run in a Super Over at the SCG, Bond said he was expecting Saturday’s return match against the Sixers to be another tough contest.

“Like us, the Sixers have a lot of match-winners,” he said. “They’re a good, solid team, and we always have good matches.

“The last match was epic. It’ll be another awesome game that’s going to be played in front of a full house. If we win, we’ll be one point behind them [Sixers are second on the BBL table] so it doesn’t take much to turn things around.”

Thunder Squad vs Sixers on Saturday 18 January

Callum Ferguson (C) (12)

Liam Bowe (27)

Jonathan Cook (50)

Brendan Doggett (35)

Alex Hales (6)

Usman Khawaja (18)

Jay Lenton (70)

Nathan McAndrew (44)

Chris Morris (24)

Arjun Nair (7)

Alex Ross (49)

Daniel Sams (60)

Gurinder Sandhu (28)

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