A win for the Thunder will see them face the Heat in the eliminators, a low-scoring thriller

Sydney Thunder Defeated 120 for 7 (Sams 28, Zampa 3-26). Melbourne Stars 119 for 7 for 3 (Cartwright 36, Qadir 3-24)

Sydney Thunder survived A blistering chase to secure a berth in the BBL final after a thrilling three-wicket win over the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.

Finals positioning came down to the final match of this tumultuous regular season and the Thunder needed a win to leapfrog the Hobart Hurricanes, who pushed into the top five. A remarkable two-run win Over the Brisbane Heat earlier in the day.

Just as horribly as that game in Launceston, it went down to the wire when a nervy Thunder nearly derailed their 120-run chase.

But the Thunder, who have been up and down all season, have done enough to show a competitive edge to claim fourth place and host an elimination final on Friday against the fifth-placed Heat.

It ended another underachieving season for the Stars, who finished bottom of the ladder with just three wins.

Lightning stumbles across the line

Chasing a low goal, there were first wobbles with the Thunder David WarnerThe low-scoring run continued after being undone by extra bounce from the quick Luke Wood.

Warner managed just three deliveries and scored just 63 runs in five innings since his long-awaited return to the BBL. He has one more chance to better those returns in the elimination final.

Thunder are encouraged by the return of batters Jason Sangha, who was out for five weeks with a broken collarbone. But Sangha couldn’t get going and was stumped by the spinner’s sharp delivery Adam Zampa.

The Thunder continued to lose wickets and looked to be headed for the same fate as the previous day’s hits. But Daniel Sams’ 28 off 18 balls and the batting of captain Chris Green and Nathan McAndrew took the Thunder over the line and into the final.

Zampa gives it his all

Zampa has had a rough season after taking over the Stars captaincy from the injured Glenn Maxwell. But he remains their talisman and has done his best to thwart the Thunder’s finals hopes. He enjoyed a rolling MCG surface and turned the match around by keeping Alex Ross and Sams out of the contest. It wasn’t a flawless effort with Zampa dropping a sitter to retrieve Green at 1 in what proved a costly missed opportunity. The Stars did what they could to fight back in the end, and perhaps in that regard they made it a fitting send-off for coach David Hussey.

Qadir burns, Sandhu is injured

Thunder backed up Green’s bowling decision after a disciplined performance from the attack. They bowled a good partnership from the get go to shackle the last-placed Stars, who seemed to be going through the motions of what was a dead rubber for them.

Legspinner Usman QadirSon of Pakistan’s legendary spinner Abdul Qadir, stole the show with three wickets. He rattled the Stars’ struggling batsmen with flighted deliveries and combined well with Green, who was generally stingy to finish with 2 for 19 from four overs. Qadir has proved a reliable part of the Thunder attack after being picked up for injured spinner Tanveer Sangh.

The team’s classification will be satisfied with the performance of the attack after being carried off the field with a suspected calf injury after bowling two overs. He looks a major doubt for Friday’s final.

Stoinis’ struggles have continued through a tough season

Marcus Stoinis‘ The season could be ruined right from the start after he dropped the first ball in the opening game against the Thunder shortly after contracting Covid-19. He scored just 14 runs in his next three innings and eventually rediscovered his batting best with a couple of powerful half-centuries. But a hamstring injury derailed his momentum and the Stars’ season was essentially shot when he returned.

Stoinis was hoping to at least finish on a high and find some form before heading to the ILT20 in the UAE. He targeted Qadir in the sixth over and hit a six down the ground but could not repeat the dose in the hole out after the over. It summed up a disappointing season for Stoinis, where seemingly nothing went right and he finished with just 190 runs at 23.75 from nine matches.

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