Photo Credit: Sydney Thunder
Sydney Thunder coach Trevor Bayliss described his team’s 10-wicket win over Brisbane in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at Sydney Showground Stadium as a sign of what the team is capable of.
After winning the match on the back of an amazing bowling performance by his attack, and an explosive 124-run opening partnership between Alex Hales (59 not out from 36 balls) and Player of the Match Matthew Gilkes (56 from 34), Bayliss commended the team on its high level of energy and positive body language.
“I’m happy we put a full game together,” he said. “We’ve bowled quite well in all games, our batting performance in the first two games, I thought, was below par while in our third and fourth game we batted well for 10 overs.
“However, the guys finished the job off against the Heat [in 12 overs] which was good to see.”
Bayliss pinpointed the high-octane energy displayed by each member of Thunder as a crucial component in the win.
“I think that’s something any successful team has,” said Bayliss of the energy. “You can’t win consistently if you haven’t got that.
“I wouldn’t have said it was lacking in the first few games, but I just wanted to make sure the body language and energy was up against Brisbane, and we did that in the field.
“The bowlers backed up again and [this win] shows what we can do when we put a full match together.”
As his team prepares for tomorrow night’s return match against Brisbane Heat on the Gold Coast, skipper Chris Green – whose four overs yielded an impressive 2/14 – said while he took plenty of positives from the “emphatic” victory he expected Brisbane would be ready for the showdown.
“It’s a really important win coming back after that Christmas break,” he said. “It did us good to freshen up.
“We weren’t far off the mark, obviously results weren’t going in our favour at the start of the tournament, but I was really impressed with the way we played tonight.
“[We] started well with the ball; everyone adapted well; everyone that was used with the ball contributed; the fielding buzz was back; the crowd atmosphere was fantastic, and the way [Gilkes and Hales] batted at the end in the second innings . . .taking the game on . . . having fun [was special].
“It’s an emphatic win and we know it doesn’t mean that we’re going to walk up to the Gold Coast and guarantee us with a win. They’ll have big targets on our back, but it was great to get a win at home.”
Bayliss said if there was ever a lesson to take from Thunder’s being dismissed for 15 against Adelaide in the second match of the season it’s that teams can bounce back – and that’s why he said the players would travel to Queensland braced for a tough fight.
“We’re playing them on their home ground, they’re used to their conditions and it’s a new game,” said Bayliss. “As we saw, there’s not a lot between [a team] being dismissed for 15 and winning by 10 wickets.
“We started off [against Adelaide] and a few nicks went to hand – a few good catches – and tonight the odd nick went for four.
“When we were knocked over for 15, I think everyone realised that it is just the game – one of those nights that rarely happened – and we had to put it out of our minds and get on with it. I’m sure Brisbane will do the same.”
Meanwhile, in a match which heralded the arrival of Pakistan’s Usman Qadir (1-19 off four overs at the death) both Bayliss and Green lauded Gilkes’s commanding innings in which he cracked three sixes and struck six boundaries.
“It looked like the Gilkes of last year,” enthused Bayliss. “Some of the shots he plays are top class; they’re good timing, forcing shots off the back foot- as high class as anyone going around. He’s a talented player.”
Green echoed Bayliss’s sentiments.
“I’m stoked for him,” he said of Thunder’s wicketkeeper. “He compliments Alex Hales well, and I think he’ll compliment David Warner really well when we get the opportunity to see him.
“He showcased it with that 90 last year that he’s a fantastic player. His glovework has been spot on again, and I’m really happy for him to get the rewards he deserves.”
Sydney Thunder squad v Brisbane Heat
Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Toby Gray, Chris Green (c), Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Usman Qadir, Alex Ross, Rilee Rossouw, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu.
Thunder play Brisbane Heat at 6.05pm (AEDT) at Metricon Stadium on Thursday, 28 December. The match will be broadcast live by Seven, Fox Cricket and Kayo.