Smith stars as Sixers down Thunder in BBL

Sydney Sixers marquee man Steve Smith has registered the highest score of his professional Twenty20 career and claimed bragging rights over David Warner in a 125-run thrashing of the Sydney Thunder.

A crowd of 38,757 turned out to see the BBL's two superstar recruits tussle in the competition for the first time since December 2013, in a match cut down to 19 overs apiece due to rain.

With his unbeaten 125, Smith scored more than double the amount accrued by the entire Thunder team - bowled out for a feeble 62, which leaves their finals destiny in limbo as the tournament reaches its pointy end.

The Thunder struggled for answers in the face of Sixers spinner Steve O'Keefe, who posted BBL career-best figures of 4-10.

But the night belonged to Smith.

Smith's performance outdid the 101 he scored against the Adelaide Strikers on Tuesday and was the fifth-best innings in BBL history.

He now has a batting average of 131 this BBL summer and has hit the equal most sixes, despite playing only three games.

"That's the best 100 I've seen live," O'Keefe said of Smith's knock.

"The way that (Smith) comes back and stays connected and wants to win for any team that he plays for is pretty special. You can tell he's obsessed with cricket and wants to score runs."

Smith's furious innings may have come at a cost though; he appeared hobbled in the field later in the evening and told Fox Cricket he had been suffering from back spasms.

Warner fell well short of the challenge set by his international teammate, managing just 16 from 23 balls as the Thunder collapsed under the weight of the Sixers' 2-187.

While Smith's back-to-back centuries have vindicated Cricket Australia's decision to fork out extra cash to bring him back to the BBL, Warner now has one last chance to impress this T20 summer.

Smith took full advantage of the SCG's short boundaries to punish the Thunder's bowling attack.

He smacked Australian international allrounder Daniel Sams for six on four occasions, including one that sailed into the second level of the SCG grandstand.

Joel Davies and Gurinder Sandhu were each hit for six twice as Smith finished with nine maximums among his 14 boundaries.

The knock helped the Sixers recover from the early losses of Josh Philippe (10) and Kurtis Patterson (2), both of whom went in the same Sandhu (2-42) over.

They were to be the only wickets lost as Smith and Moises Henriques (45no) forged a 155-run partnership - the largest in the current edition of the tournament.

Even without Test spinner Nathan Lyon, who again missed out with knee soreness, the Sixers bowlers had the visitors covered.

By the drinks break, the Thunder had more batters back in the dugout (four) than boundaries on the scoreboard (three).

Warner tried to steady the ship as batters fell around him but was dispatched on the first delivery after drinks, thrashing an O'Keefe short ball high to deep mid-wicket where he was caught by Jordan Silk.

When O'Keefe bowled Sams later in the same over, the Thunder fell to 6-40 and were out of the game.

The Thunder must now defeat the Melbourne Stars on Wednesday and then hope other results fall their way in order to play finals.

"We were beaten by a far better side tonight," Thunder coach Trevor Bayliss said.

"We've been brilliant at different times so we're looking forward to playing well again on Wednesday."