Brendan Doggett of the Thunder is mobbed by team mates after taking a catch against the Scorchers last month. Picture: AAP
Brendan Doggett of the Thunder is mobbed by team mates after taking a catch against the Scorchers last month. Picture: AAP

Thunder not choking about beating the Stars

After finishing dead last four times, there's not many teams in the Big Bash that the Sydney Thunder can say they've got it all over.

The big exception is the Melbourne Stars.

The tournament's best performed team in regular competition games - they're the worst in the playoffs.

The easybeats, aka the chokers!

It's the cruellest tag in professional sport but one they'll never shed until they ever win the BBL but to do that, they need to beat the Thunder at the MCG then the Sixers at the SCG.

The Thunder - the only franchise in the BBL never to have lost a playoff match - won't be lured into calling the Stars chokers for fear it backfires on them but they're not avoiding the elephant in the room either.

 

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"It certainly doesn't help if you've got a record where you're losing finals," Thunder coach Shane Bond The Daily Telegraph.

"I think there's an underlying pressure because people keep reminding them.

"As much as you talk about ignoring it and it's just another game I think psychologically it has an impact because it's something you want to get off your back."

While the Stars are being lampooned for their hopeless playoff record - which included the biggest choke of all in last year's final defeat to the Renegades - the rumble from the Thunder is growing louder.

Chasing their second BBL title after beating the Stars- who else? - in the 2016 final, they've shown nerves of steel to beat the Perth Scorchers in a nailbiter just to make the semis, then the Hobart Hurricanes and the Adelaide Strikers away from home to be within one win of joining the Sixers in Saturday's grand final.

 

The Stars lost to arch-rivals the Renegades in last season’s Big Bash final. Picture: AAP
The Stars lost to arch-rivals the Renegades in last season’s Big Bash final. Picture: AAP

"We always thought from day one that we had a team that could win the tournament if we could get on a roll," Bond said.

"It's taken us 14 games to start to know what we wanted to do, sometimes it takes a little bit of hurt to work out and for players to just shift a little bit.

"You're always going to have ups and down in T20 cricket but we've just nailed it at the right time and that's been the most exciting part about it.

"There's nothing flashy or brilliant in what we do. We just realise that it's a knockout so every team is under the same pressure."

There's no-one under more pressure at the moment that the Thunder wicketkeeper Jay Lenton, whose wife Gemma is heavily pregnant and due to give birth to the couple's first child any moment.

Lenton has flown to Melbourne with the rest of the team but is prepared to return home immediately if his wife goes into labour, with Matthew Gilkes joining the squad on standby.

"We'll give him (Lenton) every chance to play, but his priorities are with his family and with what's happening there," Bond said.

"While he's keen to play, there's just some things that are out of your hands and even more important."

 

RECORD IN BIG BASH FINALS

 

SYDNEY THUNDER - Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0. Titles 1.

2016 - Won semi-final v Adelaide Strikers

2016 - Won final v Melbourne Stars

2020 - Won semi-final v Hobart Hurricanes

2020 - Won semi-final v Adelaide Strikers

 

MELBOURNE STARS - Played 10, Won 2, Lost 8, Titles 0

2012 - Lost semi-final v Perth Scorchers

2013 - Lost semi-final v Perth Scorchers

2014 - Lost semi-final v Hobart Hurricanes

2015 - Lost semi-final v Perth Scorchers

2016 - Won semi-final v Perth Scorchers

2016 - Lost final v Sydney Thunder

2017 - Lost semi-final v Perth Scorchers

2019 - Won semi-final v Hobart Hurricanes

2019 - Lost final v Melbourne Renegades

2020 - Lost semi-final v Sydney Sixers


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