Aiden Blizzard has put on an ominous display ahead of the KFC Big Bash League season as the Sydney Thunder lost to the Canterbury Kings by nine runs in a warm-up match in Christchurch.
Set 211 for victory at Hagley Oval in the Trans-Tasman exhibition match on Friday, the Thunder were off to a rollicking start through opener Blizzard.
The aggressive left-hander smacked 80 in a 43-ball knock that included eight fours and three sixes.
He departed at 2-128 and the asking rate began to climb with the fall of further wickets.
Shane Watson looked composed and in good touch with 25 including a six and two fours, but when skipper Mike Hussey (13) and Ahillen Beadle (4) fell it was left to Ryan Gibson and Chris Green, chasing 54 from three overs.
With 27 needed from the final over, Green stepped up and hit two fours and a six before the Kings found their yorker length, leaving the Thunder nine runs short.
The Thunder, the first Big Bash League side to play in New Zealand, finished on 6-201.
Earlier, Canterbury posted 3-210 after winning the toss and had a good platform from Black Caps opener Tom Latham, who hit 78 from 51 balls.
Latham had solid support from Peter Fulton (43), before not out batsmen Henry Nicholls and skipper Ronnie Hira closed out the innings with some big hitting.
Nicholls struck 42 from 18 balls, while Hira's 29 runs came off just nine balls and included three sixes.
The Thunder will play a second warm-up match in New Zealand ahead of the start of the BBL|05 on December 17.