Hobart Hurricanes 3 for 196 (Wade 85, Short 58) beat Sydney Thunder 6 for 193 (Buttler 89) by seven wickets
Bat finally dominated ball for one of the rare times in this tournament, and the best opening partnership of the season from Matthew Wade and D'Arcy Short helped the Hobart Hurricanes outgun Sydney Thunder in Hobart.
Asked to chase 194, following a masterful innings from England star Jos Buttler, Wade and Short clubbed a chanceless 120-run opening stand in just 12.1 overs to set up the superb chase. Wade made 85 from 49 balls, his highest T20 score, while Short clubbed 58 from 39 balls. The partnership only ended because of a horror mix-up.
The chase stalled for a moment off the back of the mix up but Wade and Ben McDermott reignited things before Sam Rainbird claimed both men in the 18th over to leave the Hurricanes needing 26 from 12 balls before a sublime cameo from George Bailey got the home side across the line.
Earlier, Buttler made the most of an early reprieve to put Hobart to the sword. He played with supreme control, and produced a full array of strokes to make 89 from 54 balls and underpin Thunder's excellent total of 6 for 193. But his dismissal at the start of the last over likely saved the Hurricanes from chasing more than 200.
Sydney Sixers paid a heavy price for dropping Buttler in the Sydney derby. The Hurricanes paid a heftier price. Johan Botha is an outstanding fielder, but he dropped a sitter at mid-off that Buttler offered from the first ball of the last over of the Powerplay. Buttler then went on a rampage striking two fours and a six from the next three deliveries to lead the Thunder to the highest Powerplay score of the BBL so far (1 for 65). Thereafter he controlled the innings magnificently. He didn't score a boundary between the start of the 10th over and the end of the 15th, but having lost Joe Root and Jason Sangha he knew he had to be there for the last five overs. He struck five fours and two monstrous sixes in the next four overs. The quality of the ball-striking was at a different level to his team-mates. He looked set for a century before gifting a return catch to Jofra Archer in the last over, falling for a brilliant 89.
Hurricane fielding horrors
Botha's fielding error spread like an epidemic through the team. Clive Rose missed two balls at short third man that went for four, one went through his legs and the other spun past him as he failed to pay attention to how it would react off the bat. James Faulkner missed a simple caught and bowled chance offered from Sangha when he completely misjudged the pace of the ball as it lobbed back to him in his follow-through. Faulkner then spilt another simple chance that was far more expensive. Chris Green top-edged a sweep shot off Short to square leg, Faulkner cruised around from short fine leg and grassed the relatively simple catch. Green was on 7 at the time with 19 balls left in the innings. He struck a six and a four to finish with 26 not out from 14 balls and help the Thunder to a healthy total.
Wade and Short put on the best opening stand of the tournament with clinical precision. The Thunder predictably opened with spin from both ends and the required run-rate went from 9.7 to 10.1 after the pair took just five runs from the first two overs. But they didn't panic, instead using the opening overs to sum up the surface. They exploded taking 51 from the next four overs. The control of the hitting was the most impressive aspect, both used stable bases and didn't try and overhit the ball. They targeted the short boundary but picked the right balls to do so. They respected the Thunder's dangerman Fawad Ahmed's first two overs before nailing his third. Two balls were lost and Wade broke a bat. Wade reached 50 off 28 balls before Short made his half-century in 35 balls. The 120-run stand was broken by a horror mix-up, where an easy two turned into Short being caught well short after a lack of calling resulted in costly hesitation.
The game looked in the bag with three overs to go but Rainbird halted the momentum. Wade sliced a catch to third man and then McDermott was knocked over with a low full toss. Bailey only had two sighters before being asked to score 26 from the last two overs. He took 22 off the penultimate over from Daniel Sams' with three powerful blows and some outstanding running. Sams helped the Hurricanes by bowling a no-ball above waist height that Bailey crushed onto the hill. Rainbird also bowled an above waist height no-ball at the start of the last over and Simon Milenko ended things off with the resultant free hit.