Photo Credit: Sydney Thunder
Sydney Thunder captain Chris Green said his team had good reason to ignite some BBL fireworks when they play Hobart Hurricanes in the KFC Big Bash League’s New Year’s Eve match in Albury, on the NSW-Victoria border.
Thunder touched down in Albury having enjoyed back-to-back victories over the Brisbane Heat, and Green said his team was ‘excited’ to be taking the adrenaline-charged action of a BBL match to a city which boasts a strong sporting heritage.
“It’s a great community,” said Green of Albury. “I know they’re very excited about us coming down. We did the Regional Bash there quite a while ago – that was a couple of practice games [against Melbourne Stars] – and I know they love their cricket.
“I can’t wait to experience it.
“I love Albury. I went down there a lot as a kid playing tennis tournaments, and I’ve done some Country Blitz’s down there as part of [Cricket NSW] tours of Regional NSW.”
Green, who took over Thunder’s leadership reins after Jason Sangha broke his collar bone earlier in the season, expected for the Hobart Hurricanes to present a tough challenge.
“They’re playing really good cricket, the Hurricanes,” he said. “They’re always one of the form teams in this competition; always dangerous with the bat and ball. We know we’re going to have to be on our ‘A’ game.
“We’d like to turn Albury into a home venue and get that hometown bias in our favour with the crowd.”
While Green was especially pleased with the efforts of fast bowler Nathan McAndrew [4-32] and wicketkeeper Matthew Gilkes on the Gold Coast, he lavished praise on Australia T20 all-rounder Daniel Sams who was named Player of the Match after blasting an unbeaten 36 from 15 balls and capturing two wickets in the 11-run triumph over the Heat.
“Anytime he is overdue for runs it makes him more and more dangerous for the opposition,” said Green of Sams who hammered four sixes.
“He came in and played a quality knock to get us to a formidable total and put the Heat under pressure.
“I think Sams’ knock took the game away from the opposition. It was crucial to getting us over the line and setting that total.
“He’s the ultimate team man. He’s always the guy who puts the team first and goes out there and plays the role that is required for the team – whether it’s taking the game on, taking risks in our favour.
“It’s the same with the ball. I threw him into the hard overs. He bowls [in] the surge a lot, and he takes it on the chin. He does get hit at times, but that’s the nature of T20 cricket, but so many times he comes up clutch for us.
“He’s going from strength-to-strength every year. I’m stoked to have him in our team [because besides his talent and skill] he’s one of my best mates.”
Meanwhile, fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu remained on the Gold Coast to have scans taken of his injured left calf muscle. Nineteen-year-old Joel Davies joins the squad.
Sydney Thunder squad v Hobart Hurricanes
Ben Cutting, Joel Davies, 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.
Thunder play Hobart Hurricanes at 3.30pm (AEDT) at Lavington Sports Ground on Friday, 31 December. The match will be broadcast live by Fox Cricket and Kayo.
Sydney Thunder BBL|12 Squad
Head Coach: Trevor Bayliss
Contracted Players: Ben Cutting, Joel Davies, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Blake Nikitaras, Alex Ross, Rilee Rossouw, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner, Sam Whiteman