CRICKET BBL THUNDER HURRICANES
Alex Hales' red-hot start and Alex Ross' ice-cool finish have combined to quell Hobart, helping the Sydney Thunder to haul in a target of 163 and snap a three-match BBL losing streak.
Hales (55) and Ross (32 not out) did the heavy lifting as the hosts completed a tense four-wicket win on Saturday night at Sydney Showground Stadium, getting over the line with two balls to spare.
Hales rocketed the Thunder to 0-66 from the powerplay but the wheels threatened to come off for the home side after the Englishman's needless dismissal ignited a collapse of 4-22.
The Thunder needed a potentially tricky 58 runs from the final seven overs.
South African allrounder Chris Morris slapped a six then threw away his wicket but Ross, who faced 22 balls, stood up in the pressure-laden finish.
The second last over of the match, featuring just three runs and a wicket, provided another twist but Ross never panicked and fittingly hit the winning runs when he smacked a delivery from Nathan Ellis past point to the rope.
"The experience of Alex Ross was invaluable," Hales told reporters.
"It was a little bit closer than what we would have liked but, when you win tight games like that, you create good habits."
Hales had looked to be making a mockery of Hobart's total of 6-162, which was propped up by an entertaining 43 from veteran and soon-to-be selector George Bailey.
"We left a couple of runs out there, didn't quite bowl and field as well as we could have," Bailey said.
Hales needed just 28 balls and 33 minutes to celebrate his half-century, putting on a 96-run opening stand with Usman Khawaja.
Spinner Clive Rose ignited a spirited comeback, creating a stumping chance when Hales was on 51 and claiming the key scalp with his next delivery to the right-hander.
Rose also removed Morris, prompting a unique celebration from Qais Ahmad in which he booted the ball from the boundary to the pitch after holding a catch in the deep.