By John Greco at the SCG, Omnisport
won the toss and sent the visitors in and their impressive bowling line-up made it look like and inspired decision. The unheralded Luke Feldman
(2-19) and Test star Mitchell Starc
(2-27) made it hard for the Thunder
batsmen to make any significant inroads in the early overs.
Skipper Brad Haddin
(59) led the way, getting to his 50 off just 43 balls, with his knock including three fours and three towering sixes. The in-form wicketkeeper, who was out just before the home side got to the winning target, was ably supported by Steve Smith
(41 not out) and Nic Maddinson
(39) who both timed the ball beautifully as they coasted to victory with eight balls to spare.
The trio smashed the ball to all parts of the SCG, much to the delight of more than 15,000 fans who turned up for the first Sydney derby of BBL|02. Paceman Chris Tremain
was the pick of the Thunder bowlers, finishing with 2-27 from his four overs while Dirk Nannes
(0-17) was unlucky not to get a wicket in his tight spell.
Where it was won
The Sixers could have gone into their shell when Warner was out in just the second over.
The pair put on a 54-run stand in just 39 balls to give the Sixers the perfect platform to chase down the winning total.
Where it was lost
Thunder skipper Chris Rogers
and opener Martin Guptill
were just starting to find their stride as they got the score to 1-61 in the ninth over after a slow start.
But the wicket of Rogers, caught behind off Feldman, sparked a collapse from which the Thunder were never going to recover.
It wasn't just that they lost another three wickets in the next six overs but they only managed 27 runs in the same period.
On a wicket that was playing incredibly well, it meant the Thunder were never going to post a total big enough to trouble the Sixers.
Who killed it
In a pace attack that includes Brett Lee, Mitch Starc and Moises Henriques, Feldman hardly rates a mention when it comes to pointing out the Sixers strengths.
But the right-arm quick was the key man when it came to the home side restricting the Thunder to just 5-143 from their 20 overs.
The Queenslander not only got a couple of vital breakthroughs but conceded just 19 runs from his four overs to make it extremely tough for the visitors to post an imposing target.
With Starc likely to be absent for a large chunk of the BBL on Test duty, Feldman will be called upon even more if the Sixers are to make a serious defence of their title.
Skipper Haddin had pulled all the right reins with his bowlers and in the field for the Sixers and it took just one ball for him to excite the crowd with the bat.
With the home fans probably still deflated from Warner's second ball dismissal for a duck, the former Test keeper came to the crease and immediately lifted their spirits.
Thunder quick Tremain bowled Haddin a short delivery outside off stump and the in-form right-hander slashed a square cut
high into the air and over the fence just in front of the ladies stand.
The audacious shot demonstrated just what exquisite touch the gloveman is in and set the tone for the Sixers' comfortable run chase.
Where to next
The Thunder face a tough challenge to get a win on the board, with the in-form Melbourne Renegades and their swash-buckling skipper Aaron Finch next up at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
While Shane Duff's side lose Kiwi opener Guptill, they will be boosted by the inclusion of West Indies superstar Chris Gayle
who arrives in town for the rest of the BBL.
Meanwhile, the Sixers return to the SCG next Sunday to take on the Perth Scorchers in a replay in last year's inaugural BBL final.
The visitors, boasting a line-up including Herschelle Gibbs, Shaun Marsh and Brad Hogg, will be desperate to gain some revenge in front of the Sixers faithful but won't find it easy given the home side's hot form.