Watson inspires Sydney Thunder to thrilling win despite Sams brilliance

Shane Watson came up with a man of the match performance
Shane Watson came up with a man of the match performance

Sydney Thunder 150-5 (Watson 77) beat
Sydney Sixers 149-9 (Billings 32) by five wickets
First game, Big Bash League, Sydney Showground Stadium

Shane Watson led from the front with a 77 run knock as Sydney Thunder chased down 150 runs off the final delivery with five wickets in hand in the opening game of the Big Bash League against Sydney Sixers.

Chasing 7.5 an over, Sydney Thunder were dealt a major blow when Daniel Sams (4-14) snared Jos Buttler (0) in the first over but Watson (77) and Kurtis Paterson (29) played positively to take the score to 37 for one.

The 50-run stand between the duo came off 42 deliveries and Watson went severe on left-arm-spinner Steve O'Keefe (0-29) as he struck a six and a four in the ninth over.

Sydney Sixers' only wicket-taker in the first half of the innings, Sams once again helped them stage a comeback as he castled Patterson and in the next over Ben Rohrer (7) was snared by Johan Botha (1-32).

Watson reached his half-century off 34 deliveries and Thunder were left with a target of 62 runs off the final six overs. The Thunder captain took it upon himself and plundered 16 runs off the 17th over from Sean Abbott (0-39).

However, Sixers staged a strong comeback as Sams removed both Watson and Ryan Gibson (8) off successive deliveries in the 18th over and Thunder needed 15 off the final six deliveries.

Arjun Nair (12 not out) and Aiden Blizzard (11 not out) struck three boundaries in the first four deliveries to bring the target down to two runs off two deliveries which the duo achieved off the final delivery to get the Thunders off a winning start.

Earlier, Daniel Hughes (29), Nic Maddinson (31) and Sam Billings (32) played vital roles to get the Sixers off to a positive start but Thunder bowlers led by Mitchell McClenaghan (2-25), Fawad Ahmed (2-11) and Arjun Nair (2-29) shared six wickets between them equally to restrict Sixers to 149 for nine in the 20 overs.

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