Thunder toast historic double

BBL and WBBL champions savour a momentous night as a dream is realised at the MCG

Adam Burnett

24 January 2016, 11:29 PM

Highlights: Sydney Thunder win first BBL title

It seems the number three is a lucky one for the Sydney Thunder.

On a January day in Melbourne that began under clouds but emerged into brilliant sunshine, the Thunder's two teams claimed an unforgettable double.

Watch: Inside the BBL title celebrations

Quick Single: Hussey's heroes win BBL|05

And now for the spooky part: each team won their respective thrillers by three wickets, with three balls remaining.

Watch: Thunder fans roar as trophy is lifted

In a little under seven weeks, two squads representing the Sydney Thunder have made the seemingly impossible possible.

The men's team, the KFC Big Bash League's whipping boys for the first three seasons of the competition and only slightly better than that in BBL|04, turned a four-match mid-season losing streak around to claim the BBL|05 title in thrilling fashion at the MCG.

Quick Single: Thunder claim the first WBBL title

And hours earlier, the women's team, minor premiers of the inaugural Rebel WBBL competition and suitably dominant throughout, did exactly the same.

The fact this was Mike Hussey's final match in Australia – as captain against his brother and Stars captain David, on their mum's birthday, no less – only added to the fairytale.

Watch: 'I can't believe it': Hussey

"It feels fantastic - what a performance," Hussey said afterward. "I can't really believe it - we've actually done it, we've won the Big Bash.

"It's taken a while, no question. But we've had a plan, and we've stuck on course. 

"Our plan is to build for sustainable success. We don't want this to be a one-off, we'd love to have this feeling for - I don't know, all the time I guess."

The profound success of the Big Bash League this summer – record attendances, record TV ratings, and a genuine welcoming of the tournament by the general public as part of the fabric of Australia's summer – was enhanced by the arrival of the inaugural WBBL.

Typically, Australia's best shone. Meg Lanning was player of the tournament, Ellyse Perry led a spirited Sixers revival, and the likes of Rene Farrell and Alyssa Healy starred, while others emerged to stake their claim as members of the next generation of Southern Stars.

But the nature of the competition also attracted the best overseas talent – Charlotte Edwards, Sarah Taylor and co from England, and Stafanie Taylor and Hayley Mathews from the West Indies – as doors were opened for the women's game that had previously stayed firmly shut.

Watch: In the changerooms with the WBBL champs

And captain Alex Blackwell was again an inspiration, adding to her remarkable winning record - both domestically and internationally - with NSW, Australia and now the Thunder.


Blackwell and Hussey - Thunder champions // Getty

But back to Hussey’s heroes.

Mr Cricket will doubtless have toasted his team's success with a real sense of satisfaction; his three-year project since somewhat controversially heading across the Nullarbor from the Perth Scorchers has been an exercise in patience, planning and finally, implementation.

The arrival of Jacques Kallis for BBL|04 was a turning point.

But the addition of fellow allrounders Shane Watson and Andre Russell turned the men in green into a genuine tournament force.

Both were brilliant at times, particularly Russell who, with his combined efforts with bat, ball and in the field, must now be considered among the top handful of the world's T20 allrounders.

Watch: Russell's action-packed first ball

And Hussey won’t be lost to the Thunder, with the veteran having signed on to oversee and develop the playing roster he crafted and moulded into the success we see today.

Next stop of course, is BBL|06, and WBBL|02.

Two teams, two trophies, two titles to defend.