Jos Buttler fired with the bat against Hobart. Pic: Getty Images
Jos Buttler fired with the bat against Hobart. Pic: Getty Images

Thunder ready for Strikers ‘acid test’

SYDNEY Thunder coach Shane Bond has warned his bowlers they need to stick to their plans if they want to challenge for the Big Bash title after suffering their first loss of the year.

The Thunder's batting line-up has been the best in the competition so far, posting three of the six highest totals this campaign, but their bowling remains a work in progress.

They bowled well enough to win their first two matches but saw their unbeaten start come to a sobering halt when they strayed from their game plan and gave up a season-high 3-196 in Friday's loss to the Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena.

"We've got a very basic bowling plan but when the pressure really came on the side we didn't commit to what we've talked about," Bond said.

"We know if we stick to our zones and go about our business then we'll be very hard to beat if we keep racking up high scores."

After missing the playoffs in seven of the previous eight BBL seasons, the Thunder have already raised expectations this could be one of their best years after making a bright start.

And with the Thunder in Adelaide to face the Strikers in a New Year's Eve heavyweight clash, Bond believes they have the perfect chance to show whether they are the real deal or not.

The Thunder hopes to rebound after a close loss to the Hurricanes. Pic: Getty Images
The Thunder hopes to rebound after a close loss to the Hurricanes. Pic: Getty Images

"This is going to be the acid test for us so it's going to be an fantastic opportunity for tour guys" Bond said.

"The Strikers have got probably the best bowling in the competition but we've got a strong batting line-up so hopefully that matches us pretty well.

"We think we've got a very competitive side but to play the defending champs in their backyard on New Year's Eve is going to be a real measure for where we're at."

English import Jos Buttler has been leading the way at the top of the order, scoring a tournament-best 172 runs at 57.33, while Jason Sangha, Chris Green, Daniel Sams and Shane Watson are all averaging over 20.

The only top order batsman not to fire yet is English Test skipper Joe Root but Bond isn't worried at all.

"I'm really pleased with the way we're going and the good thing is not all our guns are blazing at the moment," Bond said.

"Watto's got more to come and Joe's going to score some runs soon so when we do who knows what we're going to score.

"Bowling wise, the spinners are going well and we think that's the real strength of our team so we want to use them at the front end at the back as well."



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