The match in a tweet: A star is born! Teen whiz Jason Sangha outshines all as Sydney Thunder prosper in wet Canberra
The score: Sydney Thunder 5-181 (Sangha 63*, Zampa 2-23) beat the Melbourne Stars 6-74 (Larkin 28*, Sams 3-5) by 15 runs (DLS method)
The hero: When Adam Gilchrist starts calling a player "the next Ricky Ponting" it's worth taking note. And what an innings this was from 19-year-old Jason Sangha. He's been on the radar for astute watchers for some time now, dominating through the ranks, and was named Australia captain for this year's U19 World Cup. He's since made his JLT Sheffield Shield debut, and showed he's got unbridled potential in all three formats with a chanceless and classy unbeaten 63 from 36 balls. He came in at 4-99 in the 13th over and his knock included four sixes as a further four boundaries to help fire the Thunder to their total. He became the youngest man to hit a BBL fifty, beating Nic Maddinson's record by 281 days. And if that wasn't enough, he then showed great composure and a safe pair of hands at long-on as he tiptoed along the rope to catch out Marcus Stoinis.
The supporting cast: Daniel Sams is a player on the rise. Last summer he took 4-14 on debut with the Sydney Sixers against the Thunder, but all that was forgotten as he moved in the off-season to the Western Sydney club. And he's quickly moved to repay the faith, smacking 34 including two big sixes with the bat, and then picked up two key wickets in his first over. Stars opener Travis Dean was struck plumb in front with his first ball, and then the prize scalp of Glenn Maxwell, who was cramped for room and flicked off his pads straight into the waiting hands of Sam Rainbird on the deep midwicket boundary. His figures improved to 3-3 in his second over when a pinpoint yorker knocked back the middle stump of Evan Gulbis to lock up the match for the Thunder. It meant 26-year-old Sams, who finished with 3-5, overtook Sangha as the Dream 11 MVP for the evening, making a nice coup for those who had him in their Fantasy XI.
The consolation act: It seems every night there's another international star unearthed in BBL|08, and this proved no different with Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane causing all sorts of havoc. Good leg-spinners are difficult to pick at the best of times, let alone when you've never faced him before. It's unknown how much footage the Sydney Thunder had to study before this clash, but make no mistake, every club will be pouring over tonight's wickets. His first over was spectacular – three runs, two wickets. And not just any wickets, but the prized scalps of the Thunder's power-packed opening combo Shane Watson and Jos Buttler. He took a bit of tap later, and the challenge will be to bewitch the BBL for an extended period, but this was a might impressive debut.
The unsung hero: Shout out to the Manuka Oval ground staff. They reacted quickly when a downpour hit Canberra three balls into Melbourne's run chase. They worked tirelessly to get the game back on as quickly as possible, allowing the Stars to get eight overs at their target. Melbourne fans may wish they hadn't bothered but for the 8,788 who turned up, it was highly appreciated.
The next stop: It's a quick turnaround for the both these teams, and they'll return to action for the BBL's Christmas Eve double-header. The Stars will be up first in Hobart where they face the Hurricanes on their turf with an afternoon start (3.45pm AEDT). For the Thunder there's no bigger game on their calendar than the Sydney Smash against the Sixers on their home turf. The two sides meet at Spotless Stadium on December 24 in what promises to be another cracker.
Sydney Thunder: Shane Watson, Jos Buttler, Callum Ferguson, Joe Root, Jason Sangha, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Nathan McAndrew, Gurinder Sandhu, Sam Rainbird, Fawad Ahmed #BBL08— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 21, 2018
Melbourne Stars: Ben Dunk, Travis Dean, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Dwayne Bravo, Evan Gulbis, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane, Jackson Coleman, Michael Beer #BBL08— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 21, 2018