Thursday, December 1, 2022

Sydney Thunder: Nations battle it out for HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup grand final at Showground

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Teams representing Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and two combined Rest of the World (ROW) teams battled it out on Sunday 6 November in hope of progressing to the BBL12 HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup Grand Final.  

Each team played three pool matches across the morning and afternoon, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the Semi Final stage. Group A included last year’s Grand Finalists Pakistan, highly rated Sri Lanka, underdogs Nepal and the newly formed ROW ‘Yellow’. Group B comprised of BBL11 Champions India, big hitters Afghanistan, a skilful Bangladesh side and ROW ‘Blue’.

In Group A, Pakistan started the tournament with a close victory against Sri Lanka which was spear headed by their strong bowling attack. Pakistan then showed why they were considered strong title contenders as they dispatched their remaining opponents to finish top of Group A and remain undefeated. Second spot belonged to Sri Lanka who after a tough opening loss, went on to notch up convincing victories against both ROW Yellow and Nepal.

Group B was a wide-open affair, after ROW Blue handed India a shock loss in their opening match. ROW Blue continued their strong form, with close victories against Afghanistan and Bangladesh seeing them finish top of Group B. The remaining Semi-Final spot went down to the wire, as India and Afghanistan squared off in a must-win match. In the end, India’s batting line up proved too strong as they smashed boundaries across the park and hit 28 runs off one Afghanistan over.

The Semi-Finals saw a replay of last year’s Grand Final, with Pakistan taking on India in Semi Final 1 and ROW Blue, in their first tournament, taking on Sri Lanka in Semi Final 2.

In Semi-Final 1, Pakistan’s top order composed a solid start to the innings; however, India finished stronger as they cleaned up the middle order and tail to restrict Pakistan to 92 runs from their 8 overs. In reply, India’s big hitting openers started well, but Pakistan’s bowling attack kept them in the contest. Unfortunately for Pakistan, their efforts fell just short, as India claimed an incredible victory from a boundary on the last ball.

In Semi-Final 2, ROW Blue and Sri-Lanka went head-to-head in the matchup of the tournament. Both teams showed their ability with bat and ball throughout the group stage, with individuals from both sides in contention for the tournament’s leading wicker taker and run scorer. Sri Lanka’s bowlers kept ROW Blue to 82 runs from their 8 overs and then finished off their opponent with the bat in convincing style. Their talent with both bat and ball was impressive, as they claimed victory with two overs to spare.

While the cricket was competitive, the true purpose of the event was not lost on the players who all represented their nations with pride.

The two Rest of the World teams saw players from all participating nationalities and Fiji come together to compete as a squad. This demonstration of togetherness exemplified the Thunder Nation and how harmony and community can be demonstrated through cricket.

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