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Thunder ends 19-game BBL losing run

By Chris Pike
14 January 2014 10:14PM EST

THE inclusion of Aaron Finch and James Pattinson wasn’t enough for the Melbourne Renegades to stop the Sydney Thunder ending their 19-game Big Bash League losing streak on Tuesday night.

The Renegades were heavy favourites coming into the BBL contest at Etihad Stadium particularly with the inclusions of Australia's one-day opening batsman Finch and paceman Pattinson, and the home side also needed to win to keep in touch for a finals berth in this year's competition.

However, the Thunder had other ideas and started brightly with Gurinder Sandhu bowling Finch the second ball of the match before going on to bowl out the Renegades for 104 in just 18.3 overs.

Usman Khawaja (46 not out) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (46) got the Thunder off a flyer to set up a comfortable nine-wicket victory with 51 balls to spare.

It is the Thunder's first Big Bash victory since they won their first two games ever to start the competition in 2011, and since then they have amassed 19 straight losses and 753 days have gone by in between victories.

Fresh off his century for Australia on Sunday in the first one-day international against England at the MCG, Finch was full of confidence coming to the crease against the winless Thunder.

However, Sandhu delivered a superb delivery second ball of the innings to clean bowl him and the Renegades never really recovered.

Alex Doolan came in first drop for the home team and managed just before also falling to Sandhu before Ben Rohrer and Dan Harris tried to resurrect things with a 50-run third wicket partnership.

That came to an end when Rohrer was given out LBW for 22 from 18 balls with two fours and a six off the bowling of Andrew Tye.

Michael Hill then survived just six balls for seven runs before being well stumped by Ryan Carters off the deceptive spin bowling of Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis.

The Renegades were then 4-70 in the 11th over and then an over later 5-76 when Harris fell for 30 from 31 balls when a slower ball from Chris Tremain got some extra bounce and just lobbed up off Harris' bat to give captain Michael Hussey an easy catch.

Peter Nevill was the Renegades' next top-scorer with 14, but Aaron O'Brien added just five, Pattinson three, Nathan Rimmington eight and Fawad Ahmed one as the home side was disappointingly all out for just 104.

Sandhu was the star with the ball for the Thunder taking 3-21 from four overs with Mendis finishing with 2-15 from four, Tremain 1-21 from four, Tye 1-20 from three and Dirk Nannes 1-27 from 3.3.

Thunder openers Khawaja and Dilshan wasted to waste no time trying to chase down the small total taking 12 runs off the first over from Pattinson, 13 off the fifth from Rimmington and then 16 off the sixth from Fawad Ahmed to ensure that there would be no chance of the visitors coughing up another BBL victory.

Dilshan was in a particularly damaging mood with the Sri Lankan hitting Pattinson for a superb six over mid-wicket to start the 10th over, but three balls later he was out when he found Hill waiting to take the catch at mid-off.

That ended Dilshan's innings of 46 from 29 balls with seven fours and a six but Khawaja continued on and joined by Hussey ensured the Thunder comfortably got the winning runs after just 11.3 overs.

It was fitting that Hussey, the Thunder's best batsmen all tournament, was there to hit the winning runs.

Khawaja finished not out on 46 from 34 balls with seven fours while Hussey made nine from six deliveries with a four.

Pattinson finished with 1-30 from 3.3 overs for the Renegades while Rimmington had 0-19 from two, Muttiah Muralitharan 0-8 from two, Ahmed 0-28 from two and O'Brien 0-17 from two.

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