Christmas came a day late for Thunder youngster Ollie Davies, his insane hitting performance against the Renegades equalling master blaster Chris Lynn.
The cat is already out of the bag, but Sydney Thunder spinner Tanveer Sangha has a message for the other BBL teams following teammate Oliver Davies’ stunning knock against the Renegades.
The experienced heads of Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson all reached 30 at Manuka Oval, but they were outshone by a young man with a huge future ahead of him.
Having made his debut earlier in the week, Davies backed up his impressive knock against the Scorchers with a stunning 48 off 23 deliveries which included five sixes in as many balls.
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He took a particular liking to the off-spin of Mohammad Nabi as he smashed four sixes to end the 12th over, and backed it up with another maximum off Will Sutherland who got his revenge a delivery later.
“I played a lot of junior cricket with him since under-17s and in the NSW Pathways. The one thing I’ve learnt is not to bowl spin to him,” Sangha said.
Davies is the big-hitting option the Thunder have been searching for in the middle overs, and his sudden emergence has caught the rest of the competition on the backfoot as they look for ways to stop him.
“Going into a game, I like to know what the opposition top seven or eight batsmen are going to do,” Renegades quick Kane Richardson said.
“It’s hard to get a read on him because it’s only his second game and he’s smacked them both times. He’s come from under-19s and club cricket, and it’s hard to compare those, but he’s obviously done well throughout.
“I’m not sure Nabi knew much about him, and that’s the beauty of youth. No doubt the more he plays, other teams will see him, work him out and come up with different strategies, but at the moment, he’s running hot.”
Born in Curl Curl on Sydney’s northern beaches, Davies’ boyish good looks are topped by a scruffy mullet, which he said was inspired by his dad.
“I haven’t cut it for a while, sort of just letting it do its thing at the moment,” he said.
“I shaved my head in February and haven’t touched it since.”
It’s not just Davies who has the rest of the BBL on notice, with fellow youngster Sangha quickly emerging as a threat with the ball. The tweaker is not afraid to toss the ball up and has been rewarded with seven wickets from four games, including 4-14 against Melbourne.
He says the club’s culture has helped him seamlessly slot into the side and has given him the confidence to bowl to his strengths, rather than spear it in negatively to keep the runs down.
“I reckon Sydney Thunder has a great culture and a great environment to be around. There are a lot of experienced blokes here to ask questions and get feedback off, so it’s really helped me with all the experienced players here,” he said.
“It definitely helps when they’re backing you and have full confidence in you and let you play your game and play it naturally.”
UP FOR REVIEW
Umpiring controversies have dominated the BBL so far, and the calls for the DRS will only grow louder after a clear dropped catch was sent upstairs for a review that was over within seconds.
Renegades skipper Aaron Finch was unsure whether he had juggled a catch to dismiss Daniel Sams, prompting the umpires to refer it. It took one replay to show the ball had bounced. If we can review catches so efficiently, why can’t clear-cut howlers like the Tom Cooper LBW decision be overturned?
BOXING DAY HALES
As shoppers took advantage of the Boxing Day sales, the Sydney Thunder cashed in on their English import as Alex Hales bounced back from a horror start to the competition.
After falling for golden ducks in his previous two games, Hales roared back into form with a blistering 35 off 21 deliveries as he and Usman Khawaja added 70 for the first wicket.
Only Marcus Stoinis scored more runs than Hales in last season’s competition, and the Englishman looks to have found his groove this year as he passed 1000 career runs in the BBL.
HAT TRICK WITH AN ASTERISK
It won’t go down in the record books, but the Renegades claimed a team hat-trick to give their fans something to cheer about. Kane Richardson got it started in the penultimate over when he removed Chris Green, before Will Sutherland took one of the catches of the summer to send Ferguson on his way.
While Richardson wasn’t able to claim the seventh hat-trick in BBL history, the wickets didn’t stop as the quick gathered the ball and hit the stumps to remove Baxter Holt for a golden duck.