Brisbane Heat Test hopefuls Michael Neser and Mitchell Swepson missed a golden chance to impress selectors with the pair belted to all parts by the Thunder in the Heat’s hefty loss in Sydney.
Just 11 days again, the Thunder were the laughing stock of the cricket world when they were knocked over for just 15 at Spotless Stadium.
But showing you’re only as good as your last match, the Thunder have become just the fifth team in BBL history to claim a 10-wicket win as Alex Hales and Matthew Gilkes chased down the Brisbane Heat’s 6/121 with a massive 50 balls left.
Nobody could believe what they were seeing when the Thunder were bowled out for a record low of 15 by the Strikers in a performance that sparked a three-game losing streak, but their openers made batting look easy on a wicket that troubled the Heat.
Alex Hales (59) and Matt Gilkes (56) made short work of the target in a huge boost to the net run rate which was in all sorts of strife after the loss to Adelaide.
It was a stunning return to form for Gilkes who had only scored six runs in his first four innings but took 25 off one Swepson over, including three massive sixes.
With Test stars Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green in serious doubt for the Sydney Test, the likes and Neser and Swepson will hope for a better showing when the teams play again in just two days.
Neser has already played a part in the Test summer and is a logical choice to come back into the squad if they want another fast bowler, but copped a blow to the knee as he backed up a throw that left him hobbling in pain.
He also struggled to fire against the Thunder, going wicketless and getting out first ball.
Swepson is the other Heat player in contention for the third Test against South Africa with Australia seriously contemplating playing two spinners at the SCG.
The leg-spinner nearly had a wicket with his second delivery but the over ended with him shaking off an injury after the fingers on his bowling hand bent back trying to stop a drive down the ground.
Things only went downhill for the prolific wicket-taker with Matt Gilkes belting to him all parts of the ground in the 11th over as Swepson finished with the expensive figures of 0/40 off three overs.
The pair have one more chance to impress selectors with the Heat seeking redemption against the Thunder on Thursday night.
There were terrifying scenes midway through the Heat’s innings when skipper Jimmy Peirson was felled by a vicious Nathan McAndrew bouncer that collected him flush in the jaw.
The Heat veteran collapsed to the ground immediately with players and umpires urgently signaling to medical staff to come to his aid.
Peirson stayed on his haunches for a couple of minutes as the necessary concussion tests were conducted, but thankfully he was able to continue batting after the nasty 132km/h delivery rose sharply and hit him in the head.
NO FEAR FOR QADIR
The Thunder look to have solved their spin woes with Usman Qadir making an immediate impact in his first game for the club.
The Pakistani spinner got his first chance in lime green after the club severed ties with Fazalhaq Farooqi last week, and he looks set to keep his spot after taking 1/19 from his four overs.
Spin has been an issue for the Thunder with Tanveer Sangha ruled out for the entire BBL, but Qadir and Chris Green have the makings of a more than handy duo after they combined for the first wicket of the night.
Qadir did well to hold onto that chance but he couldn’t quite hold onto a couple of potential screamers later in the innings.
Originally published as Sydney Thunder bounce back from being BBL laughing stock in 10-wicket beatdown