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Watson leads Thunder to big BBL win

By AAP Newswire

Shane Watson has wound back the clock to lead the Sydney Thunder to a 71-run thumping of the Adelaide Strikers, igniting their Big Bash League season.

The former Test opener smashed 68 off 40 balls in a captain's knock to fire his side to 6-168 before the Strikers were rolled for just 97 at Spotless Stadium on Sunday.

Not only was it an important mental victory after routing the defending champions, they also jumped the Strikers into the top four.

Watson plundered four fours and five sixes in what was his first half-century of the tournament and said smashing the ball onto the roof against the Heat last week had proved something to himself.

"I'd been mis-hitting the ball for the last couple of games," Watson said.

"That was definitely the catalyst to know that I've still got it.

"I had a couple of training days in the lead up which was good to work on things from a technical point of view. It all clicked today."

Spinner Arjun Nair starred for the Thunder with the ball, taking 3-12 in including the wicket of Colin Ingram (48) - the only Adelaide batsman to pass 11.

After Jono Wells was stumped off Chris Green for 11, the Strikers collapsed, losing their last six wickets for 22 runs.

The Thunder chose to omit Jono Cook - who was coming off a 3-27 return against the Brisbane Heat - because of team balance after the departure of Englishmen Jos Buttler and Joe Root.

However they bowled out the Strikers in 17.4 overs for an important two points to give their all-important net run rate a big boost.

Earlier, Watson and Jason Sangha rebuilt the Thunders' innings with a 77-run partnership after Rashid Khan claimed New Zealand allrounder Anton Devcich (21) and Callum Ferguson (0) with consecutive balls.

The home side looked headed for a big score at 2-119 after nine overs but the Strikers successfully applied the brakes.

The Thunder at one point lost three wickets for seven runs and went eight overs without a boundary.

Sangha (30) and Daniel Sams (0) went in one Billy Stanlake over before Watson was guilty of throwing his wicket away when he mis-timed a Michael Neser full toss.

However the Thunder smashed 20 runs off the final Ben Laughlin over - thanks to some big hitting from Jay Lenton (27 off 16) - to post what proved a winning total.

"It was really disappointing today," Ingram said.

"It's shown that on our day we can beat anyone. There are some positive signs and we're halfway. Even with a loss today it's not the end of the world in terms of the standings."