Sydney Thunder 8 for 209 (Davies 48, Richardson 2-33) beat Melbourne Renegades 80 all out (T Sangha 4-14) by 129 runs
Rising talent Oliver Davies thumped five consecutive sixes as the Sydney Thunder announced themselves as title contenders in a 129-run rout over the struggling Melbourne Renegades in Canberra.
It was the second-largest defeat in BBL history, coming just weeks after the Renegades set the record for the largest defeat against the Sydney Sixers
Davies made 48 off 23 balls as the Thunder piled up 8 for 209 without a single player scoring a half-century. Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales provided an outstanding platform for Davies with a blistering 70-run opening partnership off just 35 balls. Daniel Sams and Nathan McAndrew also delivered devastating cameos to help the Thunder posted the highest score of the BBL this season. The Renegades were fortunate not to be chasing more with Kane Richardson taking 2 for 33 with some clever death bowling.
The Renegades did not fire a shot in the chase. McAndrew and Adam Milne did the early damage before Tanveer Sangha ripped through the middle order taking a career-best 4 for 14 in just his fourth BBL match. Chris Green also took 2 for 7 as the Renegades were bowled out for 80 with 7.4 overs remaining.
First four fireworks
The bowlers have held sway in the opening powerplay during the BBL so far due to a combination of factors. Batting teams had scored more than 35 runs in the first four overs only three times in the tournament to date with the Thunder doing it twice. Khawaja and Hales raised the bar again against Renegades plundering a new tournament best of 49 without loss. Aaron Finch gambled with two overs of spin and Khawaja and Hales pounced. The former smashed four boundaries off Peter Hatzoglou before Hales hit his Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim for 10 in two balls. Finch stuck to his guns and eventually got both via spin in consecutive overs to halt the Thunder's momentum, but the 70-run stand in 5.5 overs set the game up for the Thunder.
Oliver Davies, remember the name
Davies had already turned heads with his debut innings against the Scorchers. But he revealed he had another gear against the Renegades. The loss of Khawaja and Hales forced Davies and Callum Ferguson to start together and it meant the pair scored one boundary in four overs. But a sluggish start didn't worry Davies. Nor did the experience of Mohammad Nabi. Davies launched Nabi for four consecutive sixes. Three went over the leg side and one over cover. He wasn't finished there, hitting the next ball he faced from Will Sutherland over square leg to make it five in five balls. It took an exceptional yorker to knock Davies over but the damage was done. Davies' 48 from 23 balls ensured the Thunder would post 200-plus. They probably should have made more. Davies' innings was completed prior to the Power Surge being taken. Sams and McAndrew played excellent cameos but Ferguson struggled to find the rope in his run-a-ball 31. He fell to an outstanding running diving catch on the rope from Sutherland. The dangerous Ben Cutting was also run out for a diamond duck. Richardson completed a team hat-trick in the 19th over for the Renegades taking two wickets and completing a direct hit run-out in his follow-through to peg back the Thunder and give his batsmen a chance.
Renegades run aground again
The Renegades wrote off their disastrous night against the Sydney Sixers as a one-off but a second collapse against the Thunder should be cause for alarm. Shaun Marsh made a vintage half-century in the Renegades' first game of the season against Scorchers but his struggles since then have matched that of his team. He scored just 3 off 7 before top-edging McAndrew trying to find the rope with a pull shot. It was his third straight innings with a strike-rate less than 77 with a high score of just 13. It started a rot for the Renegades as the Thunder strangled them with some outstanding bowling. The pace of McAndrew and Milne accounted for Marsh and Sam Harper. Then the spin duo of Sangha and Green forced them deeper into the hole. Finch looked rusty after a break, slapping a long hop to cover. Sangha then added to his tally with Beau Webster and Nabi gifting simple chances. Sangha and Green took six wickets between them as the Thunder held every simple catch offered to them. The Renegades did not even reach the 14th over while the Thunder moved to first on the points table.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne