Alex Ross and Sam Billings lead Sydney Thunder to handsome opening win

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Daniel Sams and Gurinder Sandhu stood out with the ball to take combined figures of 5 for 39

Sydney Thunder 3 for 141 (Ross 61*, Billings 45*) beat Brisbane Heat 8 for 140 (Duckett 46, Heazlett 42, Sams 3-22) by seven wickets

Sydney Thunder made a succesful start to their BBL campaign, easing to a seven-wicket win over Brisbane Heat. The contest looked finely poised when Thunder slumped to 3 for 32 chasing Heat’s 8 for 140 at Manuka Oval, but an unbeaten 109-run stand between Alex Ross and Sam Billings saw them take complete control.

Ross, who top scored with 61 not out off 46 balls to be named player of the match, was in command throughout striking seven fours and two sixes in a masterful display in which he scored freely around the ground.

Thunder’s chase began poorly when Alex Hales was dismissed off the second ball, chipping a Xavier Bartlett delivery to cover. Matthew Gilkes looked in control, driving the second ball he faced for four through point and flicking another off his pads two overs later for six.

Thunder then lost Sam Whiteman, who spooned a pull shot down midwicket’s throat off debutant Heat paceman Liam Guthrie for 12, to leave the side 2 for 28. Two balls later it was double delight for Guthrie, who trapped Gilkes lbw dismissing the danger man for 20 off 10 balls.

Thunder were reeling until Billings played the perfect supporting role for Ross and they claimed the win with 17 balls to spare.

Thunder quicks Daniel Sams and Gurinder Sandhu earlier combined for five wickets. Heat limped to 2 for 20 from their first four overs, with openers Max Bryant and Chris Lynn dismissed in quick succession.

Bryant departed for 5 after popping a leading edge into the hands of Ross off Nathan McAndrew’s bowling. Lynn joined him three balls later, smashing one straight to short cover off Sandhu.

Ben Duckett and Sam Heazlett steadied without playing too many huge shots and crossed the 10-over mark at 2 for 58, having built their side a platform. As the pressure built, Heazlett teed off and was lucky to be dropped in successive balls after skying Ben Cutting in the 12th over.

Heat took flight in their Power Surge, smashing 12 off the first over before Heazlett miscued a slower ball to be caught and bowled by Sams.

The first and only six of the innings came in the 18th over when Bartlett hit one into the Bob Hawke Stand, his cameo 26 off 18 balls helping Heat find some late runs.


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