BBL - Sixers v Thunder
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Alex Hales of the Thunder hits four during the Big Bash League match between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder at Adelaide Oval, on January 22, 2021, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
BBL - Sixers v Thunder

The big brother, little brother comparisons well and truly reflect the gap between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder.

After seven of the first eight seasons, where the Thunder failed to qualify for finals apart from BBL|05, the last three seasons have given the Thunder and its fans some level of optimism.

Those optimistic thoughts will gain legs with Australian batsman David Warner signing with the franchise. Warner represented the Thunder in one game in BBL|01 and in BBL|03. He joins an already strong Thunder unit featuring swashbuckling English batsman Alex Hales, spinner Chris Green, and all-rounders Ben Cutting and Daniel Sams.

The veteran bog-hitter also adds to a promising list compiled of youngsters Jason Sangha, Oliver Davies, Matthew Gilkes and Baxter Holt.

Despite the significant departures of former skipper Usman Khawaja and English middle-order batsman Sam Billings to the Brisbane Heat, the Thunder have the depth to seriously challenge in BBL|12.

Key Players

Alex Hales

One of the Thunder's key lynchpins is back, and he's one the side is banking on to deliver again. Hales is gearing up for a fourth season in the lycra green after putting together a solid BBL|11 campaign, scoring 383 runs at an average of 31.92.

His blistering ability to quickly dominate bowlers was on display during England's recent T20 World Cup victory. Hales finished the tournament with 212 runs, hitting perfect form at the right moment. Knocks of 52 against New Zealand, 47 against Sri Lanka, and a blazing 86 not out in the semi-final against India show why he is going to be instrumental in the Thunder's pursuit of success.

Since arriving at the Thunder in 2019, the 33-year-old has been Mr Consistent, scoring 576 runs in BBL|09 and 543 runs at a strike rate of 161.61. Pairing him alongside David Warner once he is done with International duties for Australia at the top of the order is a combination Thunder fans are definitely going to get their money's worth with.

Another season of trying to contain Hales is going to be a head-scratcher for the opposition.

David Warner

In a major acquisition, Warner's return to the Thunder is a pot of gold for the Scorchers. Not since the early days of the tournament has the 36-year-old played in the BBL. Although Thunder fans will have to wait until mid-January to see the power-hitter strut his stuff, it is one all are going to be eagerly awaiting for.

Everyone knows about his record across all three formats for Australia, but it's in the T20 game where he made his mark.

Warner's career highlights consist of a sensational 89 of 43 balls at the MCG against South Africa on January 11, 2009, 72 against India in the 2010 T20 World Cup and 77 runs against South Africa in 2016, although batting in the middle order.

Those knocks are some of many the pocket rocket has conjured. Batting power in the Thunder lineup isn't going to be an issue, with pairing Warner alongside Hales at the top of the order sure to see a plethora of fireworks.

Player to watch

Chris Green

Although a breakout-type player is normally associated early in their Big Bash career, Chris Green looms as one who is going to be important to the Thunder in BBL|12.

During the entirety of his tenure with the Thunder, Green has been key in tying down one end, in the process frustrating batsmen to play a loose shot. With a bowling lineup consisting of Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha and Ben Cutting, Green's role is more paramount than ever before.

Green's overall record is 52 wickets from 73 matches at an economy rate of 7.40. Only once has had an economy rate of over 8.00, which speaks volumes to his control and ability to bowl a variety of different deliveries, whilst not allowing batsmen to dominate.

Key Matches

Friday, December 16 v Adelaide Strikers at Sydney Showground Stadium

Saturday, December 31 v Hobart Hurricanes at Lavington Sports Ground

Sunday, January 8 v Sydney Sixers at Sydney Showground Stadium

Friday, January 13 v Perth Scorchers at Sydney Showground Stadium

Saturday, January 21 v Sydney Sixers at Sydney Cricket Ground