Thunder book BBL finals spot with MCG win


The Sydney Thunder have staggered to a three wicket victory against the lowly Melbourne Stars to book their spot in the BBL final.

Chasing just 120 to win at the MCG, the Thunder dropped to 5-60, threatening to squander a golden opportunity to secure a place in the top-five.

The Thunder stared down after going 7-88, but Stars captain Adam Zampa dropped a nanny to give Daniel Sams a life.

Sams crushed an important, fast 28 before Zampa (3-26) threw it in the next over to keep the Stars in the game.

But the damage from Zampa’s lost catch was done as captain Chris Green and Nathan McAndrew sent the Thunder home with seven balls remaining, securing fourth spot and a home final.

The win dropped Hobart out of fifth place after the Hurricanes beat Brisbane in a thrilling encounter at Blundstone Arena earlier on Wednesday.

The Thunder will host the Heat at Sydney Showgrounds in a knockout final on Friday night.

“Frankly, the batter we need to straighten it out,” Green told the Seven Network.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t good enough.

“I think it’s exciting for us to sneak in and blast in finals now.

We’ve taken them (Thunder fans) on our roller coaster journey this season.

“But (the Heat) is a team that we’ve already beaten twice this season.

“We know they play good cricket at the back and we know we will have to play good cricket to beat them.”

During the Stars’ innings of 7-119, Pakistani spinner Usman Qadir dominated by numbers of 3-24.

Qadir claimed key scalps from Tom Rogers (35), Australian white-ball player Marcus Stoinis and big hitter Beau Webster to put the Thunder in a commanding position.

Former Australia player Hilton Cartwright scored the highest for the Stars with a patient 36, but fell to Thunder captain Chris Green (2-19).

Veteran bowling all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile’s miserable form with the bat continued, falling for his fourth duck in a row.

The Stars completed a horror campaign at the bottom of the ladder after winning just three games out of 14.

BL final

‘The Eliminator’ – Sydney Thunder (4) v Brisbane Heat (5), Sydney Showground Stadium, Friday, 7:15pm

‘The Qualifier’ – Perth Scorchers (1) v Sydney Sixers (2), Optus Stadium, Saturday, 4:15pm AWST

‘The Knockout’ – Melbourne Renegades (3) v winner of ‘The Eliminator’, Sunday, Marvel Stadium, 7:15pm AEDT.

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