After four straight seasons making the Big Bash finals, Sydney Thunder registered just one win in BBL|13 to finish bottom of the table
BBL|13 review: Middle order woes see Thunder struggle
Sydney Thunder “lost their way” in the middle order throughout KFC BBL|13 according to captain Chris Green, in what was a key factor in a bottom-place finish this summer.
The Thunder recorded the fewest wins by a club in a BBL season since 2013-14, when they themselves finished as wooden spooners with a solitary victory.
For one of the competition’s most consistent sides in recent years, having made the last four finals series prior to BBL|13, Green said the sharp drop in on-field results was “disappointing”.
While top order batters Alex Hales (eighth highest run-scorer in BBL|13) and Cameron Bancroft (16th) held their own, from there it was slim pickings, with no other player registering a half-century for the entire season.
“It felt like we lost our way in the middle of our batting innings,” Green told cricket.com.au, speaking after his first season as full-time captain.
“We’d often get a good to decent start, or sometimes a very good start, but between that eight to 14 over mark was when we lost a lot of wickets and weren’t able to put the opposition under pressure. I think we’ve got to give oppositions credit, but the fact that it happened to us more often than not, I think that’s a phase of the game that we need to be better at.”
The Thunder’s bowling, however, mostly stood up throughout the campaign.
The 8.38 runs per over they conceded as a team was better than each of the four clubs that finished directly above them.
Pakistan quick Zaman Khan made a splash to commence the season, with eight wickets in his four-game stay, while Daniel Sams finished as the club’s leading wicket-taker.
However it was leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha (nine wickets) who was perhaps the club’s most impressive performer, playing every match and finishing with an outstanding economy rate of just 6.53.
No player in the league that took over five wickets had as strong an economy rate.
BBL|13 result: Eighth (1 win, 7 losses, 2 no-results)
Most runs: Alex Hales (258)
Best strike rate (min 50 runs): Chris Green (161.97)
Most wickets: Daniel Sams (12)
Best economy (min 10 overs): Tanveer Sangha (6.53)
Contracted for BBL|14: Cameron Bancroft (contracted until the end of BBL15), Ollie Davies (BBL15), Matthew Gilkes (BBL|14), Chris Green (BBL|16), Liam Hatcher (BBL14), Nathan McAndrew (BBL15), William Salzmann (BBL14), Daniel Sams (BBL15), Jason Sangha (BBL14), Tanveer Sangha (BBL15)
Out of contract: Liam Doddrell, Sam Konstas, Blake Nikitaras, Alex Ross, Gurinder Sandhu, David Warner
The Big Bash’s highest ever non-Australian run-scorer Alex Hales yet again stood up for the Thunder. By his high standards the Englishman did not have his best season, however still finished as the club’s leading run-scorer. Countryman Tom Kohler-Cadmore never quite got going in his four-match stay, scoring just 37 runs.
Zaman Khan was one of the early stories of BBL|13, with his slingy action akin to Sri Lanka legend Lasith Malinga causing issues for batters. The Pakistan quick finished with eight wickets from his four matches.
Season recap with captain Chris Green
Lack of consistency
“It was a disappointing season. Going into the tournament there was a lot of excitement from everyone naturally, about our list, our team and our consistency in qualifying for finals in previous years. But this year unfortunately it just didn’t shape up, we weren’t able to consistently play our best cricket throughout. I spoke throughout about being 10, 15, 20 runs shorts with the bat in pretty much eight out of our ten games. That was one of the main consistent factors that let us down.”
Middle order woes
“To me it felt like we lost our way in the middle of our batting innings. We’d often get a good to decent start, or sometimes a very good start, but between that eight to 14 over mark was when we lost a lot of wickets and weren’t able to put the opposition under pressure. I think we’ve got to give oppositions credit, but the fact that it happened to us more often than not, I think that’s a phase of the game that we need to be better at in terms of rotating strike, building partnerships and building a platform for the team … we had lots of scores of 15-25 from our top five batters – that’s where I believe we were falling short.”
First season as full-time captain
“I really enjoyed leading our team, we’ve got a great group of guys on and off the field. It’s a challenge any time the results you think everyone deserves aren’t happening, that’s when it’s kind of tough. But I was really pleased and proud with the way we stuck at it and continued to try and fight and find ways to improve and get better. I definitely can’t fault our effort throughout the season.”
Sangha growing from strength to strength
“He was fantastic for us. He was a huge loss for us last year when he was out the whole season injured. I think he’s got that extra bit of confidence in his game since getting the opportunity to play for Australia. He’s hungry and just wants the ball in his hands, and bowl to the best batters and get them out, and it just seems he finds a way to do that time and time again. He’s fantastic to have on the team and has the right attitude that you want from a game-changing leg-spinner. I’m just excited to continue to see him grow, because his work ethic is very good – a big reason of why he’s so accurate is because he trains the house down.”
“Our bowling was very good throughout that middle and back-end phase, and our fielding remained good throughout. We never really checked out as a group, and found ways to scrap and compete in the field and with ball in hand … in my eyes this is a small blip on the radar, and a huge learning curve for a lot of our group. My hope is that we use this season to our advantage and learn from it, come into next season not so much looking to make amends, but showcasing our full potential, because that was something I don’t think we did.”
“It’s early days; we’ve only just started discussions about reviewing. But I think our main strategy that’s served us well in recent years is that we’ve kept a core group of players that we believe is our best makeup for the side moving forward. From a recruitment and strategy point of view I don’t see that changing. We will back that core group and keep that identity of the Sydney Thunder. Once we’ve locked that in, (we want to) try and build around it. It was fantastic having David Warner for a couple of games this year. He spoke about how much he loved the club and would love to continue player, so we’re very hopeful that we could be seeing a lot more of him next season.”