Steve Smith has left the cricket world in awe after a second consecutive century in the BBL before the Sydney Thunder capitulated in embarrassing scenes. Smith produced the highest score of his entire T20 career and the fifth-highest in Big Bash history, making 125 not out off just 66 balls on Saturday night.
Smith's historic knock set up a 125-run victory for the Sydney Sixers after the Thunder were bowled out for just 62 in woeful scenes. A crowd of 38,757 turned up to the SCG to watch two of the BBL's marquee players in Smith and David Warner go head-to-head.
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However it was Smith who well and truly came out on top. Smith alone scored more than double the amount accrued by the entire Thunder team, with Warner top-scoring for his side with 16.
Smith's display was his second consecutive century in the BBL, outdoing the 101 he scored against the Adelaide Strikers last Tuesday. It marked the fifth-highest individual score in the competition's history.
He now has a batting average of 131 this season and has the-equal most sixes, despite only playing three games. His feats are made all the more remarkable by the fact that many wrote him off as a T20 player when he wasn't able to make the Aussie XI for last year's World Cup.
"That's the best 100 I've seen live," teammate Steve 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."
Sixers captain Moises Henriques added: “That’s a 155-160 par wicket and Steve is just doing Steve Smith things out there. That was incredible. Some of those shots, I was standing up the other end just gobsmacked.
“I’ve been playing cricket with him for 15 years, 20 years but that’s probably one of the best T20 knocks I’ve ever seen. This is a much worse wicket than the one we saw at Coffs and this wicket actually blows that last innings out of the park.
“That’s not an easy wicket to bat on. That was incredible to watch. I’m speechless, to be honest. To think we wouldn’t let him play last year. Look at the people he’s pleased tonight, that was special to watch and I had the best seats in the house.”
Sydney Thunder capitulate in 'awful' scenes
Smith's knock was made to look even more incredible when the Thunder came unstuck in their run chase. Warner fell well short of the challenge set by his Test teammate, managing just 16 from 23 balls as the Thunder collapsed while chasing the Sixers' total of 2-187.
By the drinks break, the Thunder had more batters back in the dugout (four) than boundaries hit (three). Warner tried to right the ship as batters fell around him, but he was dismissed on the first ball after drinks, smacking a delivery from O'Keefe straight 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. “This has been a bloodbath, hasn’t it?” Brett Lee said in commentary.
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."
Thunder fans were quick to condemn their side's display on social media. Some labelled it 'pathetic' and 'awful'.
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