Recent Match Report – Thunder vs Scorchers 30th Match 2023/24


Perth Scorchers 140 for 3 (Crawley 58, Inglis 26*, McAndrew 2-27) beat Sydney Thunder 137 for 8 (Hales 72, Kohler-Cadmore 27, Connolly 3-25, Agar 2-6) by seven wickets

Ricky Ponting has criticised the Sydney Showground pitch after Sydney Thunder’s low-scoring loss to Perth Scorchers on Monday, calling it “substandard” and wondering if Thunder should abandon the stadium for Canberra.

Scorchers returned to the BBL’s top two with the seven-wicket win, chasing down Thunder’s 137 for 8 with five balls to spare. The result left Thunder needing results to fall in their favour to reach the finals, sitting in seventh place on the ladder with three games to play.

Data from the Seven network showed an average spin of 3.9 degrees in Scorchers’ bowling innings, well in excess of the 2.2-degree average across the BBL.

“The Thunder for years have talked about how much they love playing in Canberra, maybe that’s a solution. They have some good young players in this squad, but they might not have them forever if the wicket continues to be this way”

Ricky Ponting

“We shouldn’t be seeing balls react like that in the BBL,” Ponting said on commentary, adding, “As far as I am concerned, this is substandard as far as BBL wickets are concerned.”

Scorchers wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman also remarked that it “looked like Chennai”, with Agar’s figures the second-most economical in BBL history.

The pitch has become a problem for Cricket Australia, given that the league is viewed as a gateway to the sport for youngsters. In one of the most populated and culturally-diverse regions of Australia, the run rate of 7.76 at the venue throughout the competition’s history is lower than at any other major BBL stadium.

Only one score of over 160 has been made in the past two seasons, with spin and off-pace deliveries generally dominating. So slow did things move in the Thunder innings that they scored only 19 runs in a six-over period late in the innings in front of a crowd of 8672.

Ponting went on to question if Thunder should move to Canberra permanently given the state of the Showground pitch, with the club already playing two games a season at Manuka Oval.

“The Sydney Thunder have been a struggling team for the last few years,” Ponting said. “And how are you going to attract young players from around the team or overseas, if they’re going to be batting on a wicket like that?

“The Thunder for years have talked about how much they love playing in Canberra, maybe that’s a solution. They have some good young players in this squad, but they might not have them forever if the wicket continues to be this way.”

Agar, however, defended the groundstaff after play. “I don’t envy the groundsman, with conditions that were dished up. It poured down rain all day,” he said. “Obviously the Big Bash is an entertaining game, and you want to see high scores and balls flying over the fence. But there’s a lot to be learned from games like that. Things to be learned for guys who go overseas.”

Alex Hales played a lone hand with the bat for Thunder, whacking three sixes over the leg side in his 72 from 55 balls. But he was also close to being the villain for Thunder, with three men run out at the other end while he batted.

In reply, Zak Crawley hit 58 from 56 balls to help steer Scorchers home in the last over.

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