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Thunder's finals push hit by injury

Two key batsmen ruled out of must-win game against Renegades; former Test batsman Ed Cowan called in

Sydney Thunder have suffered a massive blow ahead of their must-win game against Melbourne Renegades on Wednesday night, with star batsman Usman Khawaja ruled out due to a thumb injury.

Khawaja has scored 137 runs in three innings for the Thunder since returning to KFC BBL duties following the Magellan Ashes, but has joined Callum Ferguson on the injury list for the crucial clash in Canberra.

The Thunder have brought in former Test batsman Ed Cowan as a replacement player for Ferguson, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to a hamstring injury.

Cowan has not played a T20 match in more than two years - in fact his last game came for Sydney Sixers against the Thunder in January 2016. 

Classy Khawaja hits 44 for the Thunder

Scans earlier in the week revealed no fracture but significant bruising to Khawaja's left thumb. It is unclear if the left-hander will be fit enough to play in the BBL finals should the Thunder qualify.

The Renegades will go into the match without Cameron White, who has returned to Australia's one-day squad, while opener Marcus Harris has been omitted. Hodge will captain the side in White's absence. Recently recalled Test spinner Jon Holland and allrounder Matt Short have come into their 13-man squad.

The two sides will go into the match at Manuka Oval on eight points, level with the Brisbane Heat, with all three teams chasing a spot in the finals.

Victory for the Renegades would end the Thunder's season and ensure the Heat would need to win by a decent margin when they host the Renegades in the final game of the season on Saturday.

'The best catch you'll ever see!'

But victory for the Thunder would move them up to third spot, ahead of the Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes, and leave them waiting for other results to go their way if they are to finish in the top four.

Sydney Thunder: Shane Watson (c), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Ed Cowan, Andrew Fekete, Chris Green, Jay Lenton, Mitch McClenaghan, Kurtis Patterson, Arjun Nair, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, James Vince.

Melbourne Renegades: Brad Hodge (c), Dwayne Bravo, Tom Cooper, Mackenzie Harvey, Brad Hogg, Jon Holland, Tim Ludeman, Kieron Pollard, Kane Richardson, Matt Short, Chris Tremain, Beau Webster, Jack Wildermuth.

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