Sydney Thunder 1 for 140 (Hales 80*, Sangha 35*, Short 1-9) beat Hobart Hurricanes 6 for 139 (McDermott 38, McAndrew 2-31, Sandhu 2-32) by nine wickets

Alex Hales continued his resurgence to lead red-hot Sydney Thunder to their sixth straight BBL win after crushing Hobart Hurricanes by nine wickets at an almost empty MCG.

The opener smashed an unbeaten 80 off 56 balls in his second straight half-century as Thunder knocked off Hurricanes' modest 6 for 139 with 16 balls to spare.

Second-placed Thunder (30 points) closed the gap on league leaders Perth Scorchers (33 points) in a game played at a neutral venue as part of the tournament shifting to a Melbourne hub to combat the Covid-19 outbreak engulfing the BBL.

Hales continues resurgence

Thunder made a bright start to their chase with aggressive Matthew Gilkes putting Hurricanes' strong pace bowling attack to the sword before falling for 19. After a slow start to the season, Hales returned to form last night against Melbourne Renegades with his first half-century of the season, and he was intent here on not doing anything rash.

He resisted pressing for the bonus point as Thunder went through a boundary drought much like Hurricanes' did in their innings. But Hales and stand-in skipper Jason Sangha didn't panic as they chipped the ball around before making their move in the 13th over,

Sangha smashed spinner Tim David down the ground for the first six of the innings and Hales then notched his half-century off 44 balls - the slowest 50 in his BBL career. But it was a mature knock from the Englishman who then put the foot down in trademark fashion as Thunder cruised to victory.

The return to form of Hales, who holds the highest ever BBL individual score, is a major boost for Thunder who notched the longest winning streak in their history.

Hurricanes' quicks struggle

Hurricanes needed early wickets and speedster Riley Meredith almost obliged first delivery with a menacing swinging yorker trapping Gilkes but it was given not out.

Their quicks had limited impact in the powerplay but Hurricanes clawed back into the game through spinners D'Arcy Short and Sandeep Lamichhane who dried the runs.

Short lured Gilkes out of his crease for a stumping but Hurricanes couldn't put enough pressure on Hales and Sangha. Hurricanes returned to their ace quicks Meredith and Tom Rogers in the hope for a late twist but to no avail as Hales relished the extra pace.

Quite clearly, Hurricanes will need to return to the drawing board before Thursday's rematch.

Disciplined Thunder tie down Hurricanes

Thunder's impressive bowling attack have swept opponents during this hot streak but faced the biggest challenge in the BBL - halting Ben McDermott. Like most teams this season, they were under siege early but never lost their composure and hit back.

Nathan McAndrew got the danger man out in the 10th over before McDermott really got going and Thunder's accurate bowlers then gained a stranglehold in the middle overs. They couldn't quite sustain it with Hurricanes providing a late rally but Thunder were satisfied with their efforts overall.

Their quicks bowled a nagging length mixed with canny slower balls to frustrate Hurricanes. Pakistani quick Mohammad Hasnain set the tone with electric bowling during the powerplay although it was surprising he didn't bowl his full quota to finish with 0 for 15 off 3 overs.

Legspinner Tanveer Sangha helped tie down Hurricanes in the middle overs and claimed the wicket of stand-in skipper Peter Handscomb.

Hurricanes over reliant on McDermott

With Hurricanes skipper Matthew Wade out indefinitely due to personal reasons, the burden has increased on McDermott who again unleashed belligerent strokes early.

He pulled out the ramp shot to counter probing seamer McAndrew and then smashed Sangha for a huge six down the ground as he eyed another massive score.

But McDermott became tied out and on 38 miscued a slower delivery from McAndrew to deep long-on leaving Hurricanes' shaky middle-order exposed. Handscomb has been unable to find fluency all season and even a promotion to No.3 failed to the trick with a slow 21 runs off 25 balls.

Hurricanes went seven overs without a boundary as the pressure fell again on big-hitter David, who broke the drought to start the power surge in the 17th over but holed out a few balls later. They've resisted moving David up the order but they might need to soon to spark a batting order too reliant on McDermott.

Hurricanes at least finished strong with struggling Short, who was moved down to No.5, stroking three straight boundaries in the penultimate over but their total was not nearly enough.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth