CRICKET: The Sydney Thunder crashed out of the Big Bash League race last night in spectacular fashion with a 77-run defeat against the Adelaide Strikers.
Former Thunder batsman Ben Dunk tonked 65 runs off 40 balls while spinner Ish Sodhi's remarkable 6-11 made the men in green look like park cricketers.
The Thunder lost 8-22 to be all out for 101, well shy of the 179 set for victory by the visitors.
It was hard to believe this was the same team who had only five days earlier belted the Sixers by eight wickets across town at a packed Sydney Cricket Ground.
Victory could have given them a sniff of trying to sneak into the finals and defend the title nobody expected them to win last summer.
The 20,642 supporters were expecting their side to make a summer statement.
Skipper Shane Watson took the two vital wickets of Dunk (65 off 40) and 42-year-old Brad Hodge (39 off 30), and blasted 39 runs off 26 balls.
But he had few mates in the middle.
"That's very disappointing, especially after the two previous games and the type of cricket we've been able to play,'' Watson said.
"It didn't work out. Our fielding wasn't as good as it has been, bowling we didn't execute as well, and we weren't able to capitalise with our batting. Myself or one of the top-order batters didn't go on with it when we needed to when you're chasing a decent-sized total.''
Spinner Chris Green went down with an ankle injury and could not bowl his final over, wicketkeeper Jay Lenton suffered a suspected fractured finger, while popular West Indian Carlos Brathwaite was frustrated with himself, especially after he dropped Dunk when he was on just eight runs.
Brathwaite and his bright green bat also made just one run.
The Sixers remain in the BBL hunt and travel to the MCG on Saturday to take on Kevin Pietersen and the Stars.
Should the Melbourne Renegades and Hobart get rolled beforehand, the Sixers will go into that match already assured of a finals berth.
Watson likes the look of the Sixers, but there was no way he was going to support the Thunder's glamorous cross-city rivals.
"I think the Sixers are one of the teams to beat, but that doesn't mean I'm going for them,'' Watson said.
"They've certainly got the firepower with the bat and ball, so I think they certainly play some nice cricket.''