BBL 2017/18 25th Match: Khawaja’s 85 sees Thunder escape with narrow victory

Usman Khawaja 85 Sydney Thunder Perth Scorchers BBL cricket

Usman Khawaja thumped eight boundaries and four sixes during his knock of 85

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Despite going from the Ashes to Twenty20 mode, Sydney Thunder opener Usman Khawaja didn’t let the change in formats bother him as he smashed a sensational 85 to lead his side to a nail-biting three-run win over the Perth Scorchers.

The Thunder’s victory keeps them in sixth place on the standings, while the Scorchers failed to rise to the summit.

Electing to bat first, the Thunder got off to a brisk start as Khawaja and Kurtis Patterson amassed a 45-run partnership before Patterson was caught behind off the bowling of Matthew Kelly for 14.

Thunder captain Shane Watson managed to make 21 before he was caught by Kelly at long-off off the bowling of Tim Bresnan.

Khawaja and Callum Ferguson steadied things with a 54-run partnership, during which Khawaja raced past his fifty.

However, as he was nearing his hundred, Khawaja sliced a delivery from Ashton Agar in the air and was caught by Michael Klinger at backward point for 85, which came off 51 balls and included eight boundaries and four sixes.

Ferguson went on to make 25, while Ben Rohrer added 22 as the Thunder finished on 175/4 off their 20 overs.

Bresnan was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Kelly and Agar chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 176 to win, the Scorchers were found themselves in serious trouble early on as William Bosisto, Klinger, Ashton Turner and Agar were dismissed in quick succession.

However, Cameron Bancroft and Hilton Cartwright launched a stunning counter-attack that saw the Scorchers put the Thunder on the back foot.

The pair ended up forging an unbeaten 137-run stand that led to the Scorchers requiring 24 runs off the final over.

Mitchell McClenaghan conceded 12 runs off the first three balls before bowling a no-ball and giving away two further runs on the next delivery.

Four more runs followed on the next two balls, which left the Scorchers needing five runs to win off the last ball.

However, McClenaghan got the job done for the Thunder as Cartwright could only get a single after hitting the ball to deep midwicket.

Bancroft finished on 75 off 56 balls, which included five boundaries and three sixes, while Cartwright struck four boundaries and three sixes during his 41-ball 65.

McClenaghan, Gurinder Sandhu, Chris Green and Fawad Ahmed claimed one wicket each.

Khawaja was named Man of the Match.

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