Hussey's Thunder heroes win BBL|05 | Big Bash League BBL
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Hussey's Thunder heroes win BBL|05

24 January 2016

Another Khawaja classic inspires Sydney to a nail-biting, final-over victory at the MCG

The match in a tweet: Zeroes to heroes! Thunder wipe away four years of pain, chasing KP-inspired Stars' 9-176 thanks to Khawaja's 70 and a thrilling finish! #BBL05

The hero: This is just about a cut and paste job from the semi-final. Usman Khawaja dominated that run chase from go to whoa with one of the finest T20 hundreds you'll see, and he wasn't far off that kind of form tonight, playing another majestic hand that ultimately won his side the match. His first 40 or so was particularly exquisite, full of the sort of sweetly-timed drives that have defined his golden summer. He lost impetus ever-so-slightly at the back-end of his innings, but it did little to detract from another sensational performance – five fours, three sixes, 70 runs, 40 balls … and one Big Bash trophy.

Watch: Khawaja sparkles with super 70  

The turning point: There were so many twists and turns in this absolute thriller that it's hard to get this right. But the 12th over of the Thunder chase was as telling as any other moment. The otherwise excellent Adam Zampa bowled it, mostly to Khawaja, who was (rightly) given not out lbw from the first ball and, with the help of a no-ball from a free hit, proceeded to take 18 from the rest. It swung the ledger in the Thunder's favour, with the equation at over's end reading 63 from 48.

The support cast: Kallis made a vital 28 in partnership with Khawaja at the top of the order, while Shane Watson (2-17), Chris Green (2-37) and Andre Russell (1-30) were all solid with the ball. And the importance of Aiden Blizzard's late boundaries can't be discounted; at a critical time in the closing stages, his 16 from seven put his team on track for the win.

Watch: Zampa impresses again 

The consolation effort: From the first ball he faced, when he stepped outside off stump and nonchalantly flicked Shane Watson through fine leg for a remarkable four, Kevin Pietersen was in a belligerent mood. The Englishman was in rare form at the 'G, crashing five sixes in his 74 (38) to provide the backbone of the Stars innings. With his fourth half-century of BBL|05, he passed 300 runs for the tournament and again showed why he's been one of the batsmen of his generation. Zampa continued to impress with a quality spell of 2-32, Marcus Stoinis continued a quality series with the ball, taking 3-30, while Luke Wright (23) and David Hussey (21) played important hands in support of Pietersen.

Watch: KP's brilliant 74

The shot I: What else than this beautiful straight six from Ben Rohrer to win the match! There were four balls to go when Rohrer launched into this one, allowing Thunder fans to breathe a sigh of relief and begin the celebrations. 

Watch: Rohrer's winning six

The shot II: Um, this was from the first ball Pietersen faced... 

Watch: KP's outrageous first-ball shot

The stat: Khawaja finishes BBL|05 as the tournament's second-leading run-scorer (behind Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn's 378 runs). And he only played four games. His 345 runs came at a strike-rate of 163.50, and he never failed to reach 50, posting scores of 109no, 62, 104no and tonight's 70. 

Watch: Kallis's perfect yorker

The run-out: Ben Rohrer, take a bow. How good was this!?

Watch: Rohrer rocket runs out Zampa

The catch: Chris Green judged this one very nicely, flirting with the rope before tossing the ball up and regaining it after returning safely to the field of play.

Watch: Green's tightrope effort

The farewell: It's been a hell of a ride, Mr Cricket – thanks for the memories. In his final match in Australia, Mike Hussey finished top of the BBL pile. He contributed a handy 18 from 15 but his influence on this Thunder team was far greater than that, having worked with management for a couple of seasons to build a premiership-winning squad.

Watch: 'I can't believe it': Hussey

The hat-trick: Yes, in a match that had everything, there was one of those too. The final three balls of the Stars' innings became a team hat-trick for the Thunder. Watch below. 

Watch: Stars' innings ends with team hat-trick

The wash-up: That's all, folks! After four seasons of pain, the Thunder are officially champions of the KFC Big Bash League. And with their women taking out the WBBL earlier in the day, it's a lime green double. 

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Filed Under

Melbourne Stars BBL

Sydney Thunder BBL