Khawaja 70 hands Thunder maiden title

Usman Khawaja nearly quit Sydney Thunder a couple of years ago, but now has led them to a maiden Big Bash title © Getty Images

The fifth BBL final was a tale of two innings, and two collapses. Kevin Pietersen, who is in marvellous form, scored 74, before Usman Khawaja, who is in simply superhuman touch, made 70 which, as wickets tumbled, proved enough to hand Sydney Thunder their first title.

For the first four seasons, Thunder never finished outside the bottom two. Even this has been a topsy-turvy season, as they lost four consecutive games after winning their first three and only crept into the finals when their fate was beyond their control. Since, however, they have been clinical.

Khawaja had considered quitting the western Sydney (the area he grew up in) franchise but, after a chat two years ago with Michael Hussey – who the club pursued desperately to mastermind a rebuild, opted to stay. This, on the day Thunder won the inaugural Women’s BBL too, represented a vindication of both decisions.

In his final game on Australian soil, Hussey was given a guard of honour by Stars led by their captain, his brother, David Hussey, as he walked to the crease. He left, 18 runs later, to a standing ovation; fortunately for him, his team-mates finished the job.

Full report to follow

Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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