Matthew Gilkes, spinners end Sydney Thunder’s losing streak

Sydney Thunder 144 for 2 (Gilkes 74*, Ross 40*, Rocchiccioli 2-25) beat Melbourne Renegades 142 for 9 (Sutherland 42*, Qadir 2-20, Green 2-24) by eight wickets

Sydney Thunder are inside the BBL’s top five after cruising to an important win against Melbourne Renegades at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. Set 143 for victory, Thunder opener Matthew Gilkes fired his team to victory with a brilliant 74 not out in the 19th over.

The win moved Thunder to fourth on the table with just two regular-season games left, while third-placed Renegades will still likely need another win to punch their tickets to finals.

Star opener David Warner looked in fine touch and smacked a huge six in his 26, but holed out to hand debutant spinner Corey Rocchiccioli his first BBL wicket.

Rocchiccioli made it two wickets in two balls when Ollie Davies chipped one to midwicket for a golden duck, but a Fawad Ahmed drop cost him a third wicket three balls later and massively let Thunder off the hook.

But it was a rare blip for Thunder, knuckling down behind Gilkes who hit eight fours and a six in his 55-ball innings. No. 4 Alex Ross supported Gilkes perfectly, feeding him the strike while making an unbeaten 40.

It was Gilkes’ second half-century of the tournament, having hit 56 not out in December against Brisbane Heat.

Renegades posted 142 for 9 after Will Sutherland‘s 42 off 23 balls saved them from a small total. Martin Guptill carved 30 off 27 and captain Aaron Finch chipped in with 22, but neither failed to turn their starts into a big score as Renegades struggled.

Spinner Usman Qadir starred with two vital wickets, including the big scalp of Finch just as he looked set to get his side into the game.

Sutherland’s late fireworks that helped Renegades take 26 off their final over were much-needed, after a nine-over stretch that included just two boundaries.

There’ll be some alarm bells ringing for Renegades, having lost two of their last three games heading into finals with the win requiring a last-minute capitulation by Melbourne Stars.

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