Sydney Thunder 5 for 167 (Khawaja 49, Ross 44*, Cutting 31*, Short 3-26) beat Hobart Hurricanes 8 for 128 (Handscomb 30, Green 2-23, McAndrew 2-25, Tanveer 2-29) by 39 runs

Runs at the top from Usman Khawaja and the bottom from Alex Ross and Ben Cutting gave the Sydney Thunder a tally defended grandly by their spin trio of Tanveer Sangha, Chris Green and Arjun Nair against the Hobart Hurricanes to leap to first place on the Big Bash Leage table in the match at Perth Stadium.

The Hurricanes appeared to have gained a foothold in the contest when Khawaja's free scoring against the new ball gave way to a nifty spell of left-arm wristspin from D'Arcy Short, but Ross and Cutting hammered their way to a vital stand worth 57 from the final 31 balls of the innings to give the Thunder something to bowl at.

Hobart's chase appeared to be on course and was good enough to secure the Bash Boost point for forging ahead of the Thunder at the 10-over mark. But Tanveer's wiles, which took him to the top of the BBL wicket-takers list, were too much for Peter Handscomb and Colin Ingram, before the Hurricanes' innings petered out as 6 wickets fell for 26.

Khawaja tops the innings

A neutral afternoon fixture in Perth was arguably on the opposite side of the country to where Khawaja may rather have been, given that the SCG Test was still underway at the time he walked out to bat with Alex Hales. But a beautifully clear day and a batting-friendly pitch gave Khawaja plenty of reason to get off to a fluent start against the Hurricanes, with a series of boundaries that were as attractive as they were effective.

The Thunder were aided, too, by the late withdrawal of Riley Meredith from the Hobart XI due to a rib complaint, counterbalancing their own loss of Daniel Sams. Khawaja got started with a nifty cut and sweep at Johan Botha, before climbing into Scott Boland with three boundaries in five balls: a paddle around the corner followed by two imperious cover drives. Sydney were up to 65, with Khawaja having made 42 of these from just 23 balls, after seven overs. But Khawaja could add only seven more runs from his final 10 balls and fell lbw to Short: the Thunder's early rush had slowed to a trickle.

Ross, Cutting put sting in the tail

Having seen the ball fly to all parts early on, the Hurricanes were clearly chuffed to see the Thunder then decline to 5 for 110 with 31 balls of the innings remaining. That scoreline, however, brought Cutting to the middle to join Alex Ross, one of the more dangerous middle-order pairings a bowling attack can face at the back end of a BBL innings. Ross had made a sturdy start when Arjun Nair was run out, and he and Cutting took a couple of overs to gather themselves before sizing up Boland at the start of the 18th over.

After Boland chose to deliver from around the wicket, Ross found himself with enough room to drive powerfully beyond long-on for six before then flicking fruitfully behind square leg. Ross was to follow up with one of the biggest sixes of the tournament to date, again over long-on when Boland drifted into his hitting zone in the final over. Cutting, meanwhile, had gloved a fortunate first boundary before going far closer to the meat of the bat with a brace of boundaries off Boland in the 18th over. Cutting cleared the fence off Nathan Ellis in the 19th before scrambling two from the final ball of the innings, to make the sixth-wicket stand worth 57.

Handscomb, Malan set it up

Hobart did a decent enough job in the early part of their chase, without finding the boundary often enough to put the result out of the question. Short and Ben McDermott both hinted at domination during their opening stand, only to both be dismissed by Nathan McAndrew as he continued his consistent harvesting of wickets for Callum Ferguson. The Hurricanes captain Handscomb batted with the focused look of a leader conscious of taking his team home, and for 48 runs in 40 balls he and Dawid Malan looked capable of doing so.

Handscomb and Malan did allow near enough to five overs go by without finding the rope, but it appeared they had accelerated at just the right time when a pair of boundaries off Tanveer's bowling took them to the Boost point at the 10-over mark. As the score climbed to 91, with 75 needed from 51 balls, the Hurricanes' eight wickets in hand appeared to be the key difference given how the Thunder had slumped in their middle overs.

Tanveer closes it down

Ferguson, though, had left plenty of spin overs up his sleeve, and after Green was able to fire a full delivery under the bat of Malan, Tanveer returned to spin a beautifully pitched leg break past a groping Handscomb. Tim David was still more charitable, tugging a short ball from Nair to a delighted Ferguson at midwicket, leaving the contest more or less in the hands of Colin Ingram, who had nudged his way to a platform for something similar to what Cutting and Ross had achieved.

Tanveer had one more over remaining, and he completed another superbly mature performance by conceding four singles before following a dot ball to Ingram with a tempting googly wide of the off stump and a thin edge through to Sam Billings to tilt the contest very much towards the Thunder. When the X-Factor substitute Mac Wright was beaten for pace by Adam Milne five balls later, the game was effectively up.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig