Nervy Sydney Thunder books BBL finals spot with win over Melbourne Stars

Usman Qadir (second from right) took 3-24 to help Sydney Thunder beat Melbourne Stars and reach the BBL finals.

Usman Qadir (second from right) took 3-24 to help Sydney Thunder beat Melbourne Stars and reach the BBL finals. Photo: AAP

Sydney Thunder has staggered to a three-wicket win against the lowly Melbourne Stars, booking its spot in the BBL finals.

Chasing just 120 to win at the MCG, Thunder slumped to 5-60 and was in danger of blowing a golden opportunity to seal a place in the top five.

Thunder was staring down the barrel after being 7-88 but Stars captain Adam Zampa dropped a sitter to give Daniel Sams a life.

Sams smashed an important, quick-fire 28 before Zampa (3-26) bowled him in the next over to keep the Stars in the match.

But the damage from Zampa’s dropped catch had been done with captain Chris Green and Nathan McAndrew steering Thunder home with seven balls remaining, securing fourth spot and a home final.

The win knocked Hobart out of fifth spot after the Hurricanes had earlier on Wednesday beaten Brisbane Heat in a thrilling encounter at Blundstone Arena.

Thunder will host Heat at Sydney Showgrounds on Friday night in a knockout final.

“Honestly, the batting we need to rectify it,” Green told the Seven Network.

“It wasn’t good enough unfortunately.

“I think to creep in and have a crack now at finals is exciting for us.

“We have taken them (Thunder fans) on our rollercoaster journey this season.

“But (the Heat) are a side we beat twice this season already.

“We know they are playing good cricket at the back end and we know we will have to play good cricket to beat them.”

During the Stars’ innings of 7-119, Pakistan spinner Usman Qadir dominated with figures of 3-24.

Qadir claimed the key scalps of Tom Rogers (35), Australia white-ball player Marcus Stoinis and big-hitting Beau Webster to put Thunder in a commanding position.

Former Australia player Hilton Cartwright top scored for the Stars with a patient 36, but fell to Thunder captain Chris Green (2-19).

Veteran bowling all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile’s miserable form with the bat continued, falling for his fourth duck in a row.

The Stars completed a horror campaign on the bottom of the ladder after winning just three of 14 matches.


BBL finals

The Eliminator – Sydney Thunder (4) v Brisbane Heat (5), Sydney Showground Stadium, Friday, 7.15pm

The Qualifier – Perth Scorchers (1) v Sydney Sixers (2), Optus Stadium, Saturday, 4.15pm AWST

The Knockout – Melbourne Renegades (3) v winner of ‘The Eliminator’, Sunday, Marvel Stadium, 7.15pm AEDT.


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