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Cadbury Match Moments: Hurricanes Stumble Heading Into Home Semi-Final

09 February 2019

Cadbury will be bringing Match Moments to life this season, celebrating the moments during and after each game - including match reports, milestones and player interviews...

Australia cricket stars Pat Cummins and Usman Khawaja returned from Test duties against Sri Lanka with a bang, to help steer the Sydney Thunder over the Hobart Hurricanes by four wickets at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Saturday night, but it wasn't enough to boost their club into the BBL Finals Top Four.

Cummins, playing his first game for the Thunder in two years, dismissed in-form power openers D'Arcy Short bowled for seven off seven balls, and Canes skipper Matthew Wade out caught for a healthy 45 off just 29 balls - including three fours and two sixes, as the Hurricanes posted an under-strength 4-165 from a rain-reduced 19 overs.

The Thunder needed to win the rain-affected clash in just 11.3 overs to clamber into the Top Four over the late firing Brisbane Heat's Net Run Rate and remain in the race for a Finals berth.

Khawaja's quick-fire 36 off 21 - including six fours and one maximum, and a wayward opening Riley Meredith over that cost 16 runs gave Sydney hope of completing a miracle against the table-topping title favourites from Tasmania.

Cummins scored the winnings runs with four balls to spare, but the hosts were only 5-95 after 11.3 overs with the Hurricanes already wrapping up their Home Semi-Final at Hobart's Blundstone Arena at 7:30pm this Thursday night with ten wins and four losses for the regular season.

A 68-run stand between Callum Ferguson (bowled Archer for 47 off 34) and Chris Green (34 not out from 28 balls) ultimately counted for little as the game fizzled out and the Thunder cruised to victory with 6-166 in 18.2 overs to finish in sixth place.

The Hurricanes' three-pronged spin attack of new Afghan international import Qais Ahmad (2-22 from 4.0 overs), D'Arcy Short (2-27 from 4.0 overs) and Clive Rose (0-21 from 2.0 overs) again performed admirably while the unpredictable young pace duo of Riley Meredith (1-52 from 4.0 overs) and David Moody (0-17 from 1.0 overs) will be the most concerning heading into the BBL Finals.

Jofra Archer dropped a sky ball off his own bowling, but countered well to finish with 1-22 from his 3.2 overs, when given the near impossible task of stopping one run for victory by the Thunder in his final over.

The battle for the last spot in the finals is now down to the fourth-placed Brisbane Heat and fifth-placed Melbourne Stars.

If the Stars defeat the Sydney Sixers on Sunday afternoon, when the MCG hosts the final match of the regular season, they will leapfrog Brisbane on the ladder.

The prospect of Brisbane progressing will burn deeply for the Thunder, who unsuccessfully lobbied Cricket Australia in pursuit of the full points after the Gabba lights went out during their clash with the Heat.

Cummins and Khawaja, fresh from starring in Australia's dominant Test win over Sri Lanka - also at Manuka Oval, once again stepped up in the nation's capital.

Player Of The Match Cummins finished with 2-28 (4.0 overs) and could easily have captured the scalps of the BBL's two leading run-scorers in his first over.

The express paceman hit the top of off stump to dismiss Short and would have ended Wade's knock in the same over if Fawad Ahmed held a catch in the deep.

Wade was eventually caught behind by Gilkes, but a 94-run stand between George Bailey with 53 off 35 balls - including four boundaries and two sixes, and Ben McDermott who made 44 not out from 36 balls - including three fours and one monster six out of the ground, proved a hammer blow to Sydney's finals hopes.

The other top order batsman dismissed for the Hurricanes was Caleb Jewell for seven off eight balls, while top-scorer Bailey was run out off the very last delivery of the innings.

Earlier, Wade was dropped on five and 14 by Fawad before a brief rain delay reduced both innings by one over.

The Sydney Thunder won the pre-game bat flip and opted to bowl at Manuka Oval in this crunch clash with Big Bash League favourites Hobart.

Sydney Thunder XI: Shane Watson (capt), Anton Devcich, Callum Ferguson, Usman Khawaja, Daniel Sams, Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Pat Cummins, Chris Jordan, Gurinder Sandhu, Fawad Ahmed.

Hobart Hurricanes XI: Matthew Wade (capt), D'Arcy Short, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, George Bailey, Simon Milenko, Jofra Archer, Clive Rose, David Moody, Riley Meredith, Qais Ahmed.