Sydney Thunder – An Inconsistent Team with One BBL Title



For the first four seasons since the tournament’s inception, Sydney Thunder failed to make it to the knockouts stage. The first three seasons, they finished bottom of the pile. However, they recovered to win BBL 5 before failing to qualify for the knockouts for another three seasons. The Thunder have finished third and fourth respectively the last two seasons and will be looking to go past the Eliminator stage this season. 

Sydney Thunder: Big Bash League Results With Captains

2020-2021Callum Ferguson3rd place
2019-2020Callum Ferguson5th place
2018-2019Shane Watson6th place
2017-2018Shane Watson6th place
2016-2017Ben Rohrer/Shane Watson8th place
2015-2016Chris Hartley/Michael HusseyChampions
2014-2015Michael Hussey7th place
2013-2014Chris Gayle/Michael Hussey8th place
2012-2013Chris Rogers/Chris Gayle8th place
2011-2012David Warner/Daniel Smith8th place

For the first four seasons, the Sydney Thunder were the perennial underachievers in the Big Bash League. They experimented with five captains in four years – David Warner, Daniel Smith, Chris Rogers, Chris Gayle and Michael Hussey – but their fortunes remained the same. Under the joint captaincy of Chris Hartley and Hussey in BBL 5, the Thunder finally emerged champions. However, both Hartley and Hussey did not continue as captains for the next season, and the team once again went back to being underdogs. Under Shane Watson’s captaincy from 2016 to 2019, the Thunder failed to make it to the knockouts. In 2019-2020, they finished fifth under new captain Callum Ferguson, who remained at the team’s helm in 2020-2021, when they finished third. 

Among all the Thunder captains so far, Ferguson has the best win percentage (53.22). Watson’s win percentage of 43.33 comes next. 

Although the team has ended four seasons as the wooden spooners, they have made remarkable improvements the last two seasons under Ferguson, from whom Chris Green will take over the captaincy in the 11th edition.

Sydney Thunder Squad for BBL 2021-22

Batsman: Oliver Davies, Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Alex Ross, Jason Sangha, 

Wicket-keeper: Sam Billings, Matthew Gilkes, Baxter Holt

All-Rounder: Chris Green (captain), Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams

Bowler: Jonathan Cook, Saqib Mahmood, Nathan McAndrew, Arjun Nair, Gurinder Sandhu, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain, Brendan Doggett 

Sydney Thunder’s squad for BBL 11 is not much different from BBL 10. Ferguson, who has retired, will be succeeded by Chris green as captain, while Adam Milne has been replaced by Saqib Mahmood, an exciting fast bowler from England. 

In the absence of Usman Khawaja, who is busy with international commitments, a lot will be expected from Alex Hales, who was the top scorer of BBL last year. Alex Ross, Sam Billings, Chris Green, Ben Cutting, Saqib Mahmood, Daniel Sams and Tanveer Sangha are also expected to play important roles.

Sydney Thunder: BBL 2021-22 Fixtures

Dec 6, 2021
Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane HeatManuka Oval13:15
Dec 10, 2021
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney ThunderMelbourne Cricket
Dec 12, 2021
Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne StarsSydney Showground13:15
Dec 19, 2021
Brisbane Heat vs Sydney ThunderThe Gabba14:10
Dec 26, 2021
Sydney Thunder vs Sydney SixersSydney Showground12:35
Dec 28, 2021
Sydney Thunder vs Perth ScorchersManuka Oval13:15
Dec 31, 2021
Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney ThunderAdelaide Oval13:15
Jan 2, 2022
Sydney Thunder vs Adelaide StrikersSydney Showground13:15
Jan 5, 2022
Perth Scorchers vs Sydney ThunderOptus Stadium15:45
Jan 8, 2022
Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney ThunderMarvel Stadium12:35
Jan 10, 2022
Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney ThunderUTAS Stadium13:15
Jan 13, 2022
Sydney Thunder vs Hobart HurricanesSydney Showground10:30
Jan 15, 2022
Sydney Sixers vs Sydney ThunderSydney Cricket Ground14:10
Jan 19, 2022
Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne RenegadesSydney Showground11:10

The Numbers that Matter

Batting Stats

Usman Khawaja, who has been with the Thunder since the inaugural edition of BBL, is their highest run-scorer. The southpaw has 1718 runs at an average and strike rate of 33.68 and 128.97. The highest individual score for the Thunder has been scored by Callum Ferguson (113*), while the record for the best strike rate is held by Alex Hales (152.03).  Additionally, the embarrassing record for the most ducks (6) is under Daniel Sam’s name. 

Bowling Stats

Daniel Sams was roped in by Thunder ahead of BBL 2018-19, but in only three seasons, the pacer has emerged as the side’s highest wicket-taker (59). The record for the best bowling figures in an innings is held by Fawad Ahmed (4-14). Ahead of BBL 9, the Pakistan leg-spinner parted ways with the Thunder and joined Perth Scorchers. 

Team Stats

After winning the title in BBL 5, Thunder’s second-best run came last season, when they finished third. 232-5 in BBL 10 is the highest total posted by the side, while 94 all out is their lowest total, which came in BBL 4. Thunder’s largest victory (by runs) came in 2020 when they beat Melbourne Renegades by 129 runs. 

Sydney Thunder: Rivalries

OpponentMatches PlayedWonLostWin Percentage (%)
Adelaide Strikers147750
Brisbane Heat1331023.07
Sydney Sixers1971236.84

Adelaide Strikers

Going by the head to head of Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers, it is clear that both teams have given tough competition to each other over the years. But they became rivals when the Thunder beat the Strikers in the 2015-16 season final. Both the sides have registered some comprehensive wins over each other, while a few games have gone down to the wire.

Brisbane Heat 

Brisbane have been the Thunder’s greatest enemies, leading them 10-3 in the overall head to head total. In the knockouts last season, the Heat spoiled Thunder’s chances of making it to their second BBL final. 

Sydney Sixers

Like all derbies, Sydney Sixers vs Sydney Thunder, also known as the Sydney Smash, has been one of BBL’s greatest rivalries. Although their head to head total is not too lopsided, it can be recalled that the Sixers won seven matches on a trot against the Thunder from 2011 to 2015. 

Road Ahead for Sydney Thunder 

A good campaign in BBL10 saw the Thunder finish third after losing the knockout game to the Heat. Their squad for this season is largely similar to last season, but Usman Khawaja is unavailable because he is currently with Australia’s Test team for the Ashes. Oliver Davies will also be unavailable for the first few games due to an injury. But the Thunder still possess a strong squad that can put up a good fight.