Thunder rumbling to an inaugural Big Bash double?

30 December 2015

The Thunder WBBL are on the up // Getty

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The men's team have shed their easybeats tag and the women's team have proved a force to be reckoned with

About the Writer:

Lisa Sthalekar is an Australian cricket legend who was the first player to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets in ODIs in her glittering Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars career. This summer, she is staging a comeback for the Sydney Sixers in the Women's Big Bash League.

Lessons have been learnt from the men's Sydney Thunder, which is having a positive affect on the women's team.

Tuning into the KFC Big Bash League for the past four seasons, there has been one sure thing, that the Sydney Thunder would lose more matches than they would win.

However this year is completely different, something has changed. Not only are the men leading the way, the women's team is going from strength to strength, in the Rebel Women's Big Bash League.  

The WBBL commenced a few weeks early, which meant that the traditional cross-town rivalry between the Sydney Sixers first occurred in the women's game.

For years the Sixers had kept the Thunder at bay and held bragging rights between the teams. Results in the men's game didn't faze Alex Blackwell's team.

At Howell Oval in Penrith, in front of a crowd of about 1000, they put to bed the rivalry and started their own, destroying the Sixers back in early December. 

Since then Thunder have quietly gone about their business and consequently been climbing the ladder. Currently sitting third on the WBBL ladder, I have placed them second, given the discrepancies in the amount of matches that all teams have played, plus only losing two matches.

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The Sydney Thunder General Manager, Nick Cummins, couldn't be happier with the performance of both his sides, but was just as quick to add, "we have made a really good start, be we are not there yet".

Having gone through a difficult stage with the men's teams, Cummins stated that there has certainly been some lessons from the men's performance that they have tried to eradicate straight off the bat when putting the women's team together.

"We certainly didn't want to same as we saw in the first BBL, with a super team (predominately all the state squad) going to one of the Sydney teams."

Cricket NSW has certainly tried to ensure an even distribution, with Thunder boasting eight and Sixers five NSW Breakers players. Though players did have a choice in which teams they would prefer to play with.

A key ingredient to the success of Thunder has been the fact that their senior players have consistently performed. Not only have the likes of Rachel Haynes, Alex Blackwell and their overseas player Stafanie Taylor scored the bulk of their runs, Rene Farrell has lead the bowling attack.

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It is due to the senior players leading both on and off the field that has allowed the junior players to step up in their first opportunity against the 'big girls'.

Lauren Cheatle, one of the youngest players in the WBBL and has bowled exceptionally well to sit fifth on the most wickets column with 12 dismissals.

Even players such as Claire Koski who has been around the Cricket NSW setup for more than a decade and been in and out of the Breakers team, seems to be reveling in the opportunity to once again play at a first-class level.

WATCH: Sixers get early bragging rights over Thunder in WBBL

Given Thunder's performance last weekend, especially chasing down the total of 152 with absolute ease, they will no longer go under the radar and are becoming one of the teams to look out for.

The performances of both the Thunder teams should be noted by all, but also the work that the franchise is doing off the field. They have great ambassadors that understand one of their major roles is to inspire the next generation.

"We have a great culture off the field. The players have been extremely good to work with and it is an enjoyable workplace," said Cummins.

With more events penciled in for both the Thunder teams to attend, the bond between the lime green will only strengthen, making the teams from Western Sydney a force to be reckoned with. 

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