Sydney Thunder 120 for 7 (Sam 28, Zampa 3-26) beat Melbourne Stars 119/7 (Cartwright 36, Qadir 3-24) by 3 wickets
Similar to that game in Launceston, this one went down to the wire after a nervous Thunder failed to chase down nearly 120.
But the Thunder, who have been up and down all season, did enough in a see-saw contest to claim the fourth spot and will host an elimination final on Friday against the fifth-placed Heat.
This ended another underachieving season for the Stars, who finished bottom of the ladder with only three wins.
Thunder Tap on the Line
Warner has bowled just three deliveries and scored just 63 runs in five innings since his long-awaited return to the BBL. He is likely to have another chance to better those returns in the elimination final.
The Thunder continued to lose wickets and earlier in the day the Heat looked to meet the same fate. But Daniel Sams’ 18-ball 28 and some restrained batting from skipper Chris Green and Nathan McAndrew took the Thunder over the line and into the final.
zampa gives it his all
Zampa has had a torrid season since taking over the reins of Stars captaincy from the injured Glenn Maxwell. But he remained their talisman and tried his best to thwart the Thunder’s finals hopes. He enjoyed the spinning MCG surface and turned the match around by dismissing Alex Ross and Sams to leave the contest in limbo. It was not a flawless effort with Zampa dropping a sitter to stop Green at 1, who missed a costly chance. The Stars did what they could to fight till the end and perhaps in that regard they bid it a fitting farewell to coach David Hussey.
Kadir shines, Sandhu injured
The Thunder justified Green’s decision to bowl after a disciplined display from the attack. They bowled the last-placed Stars well in a partnership from the start, which was a dead rubber for them.
The team’s hierarchy will be pleased with the performance of the attack after pacer Gurinder Sandhu was ruled out of the field with a suspected calf injury after bowling two overs. He appears in prime doubt for Friday’s final.
Stoinis struggles through tough season
Stoinis would at least be hoping to end things on a high and find some form before heading into the ILT20 in UAE. He targeted Qadir in the sixth over and hit a six down the ground but could not repeat the doze later in the over. It summed up a disappointing season for Stoinis, where nothing seemed to go right and he ended with only 190 runs at 23.75 in nine matches.