Having leapfrogged their cross-town rivals to reach the top of the BBL ladder, Sydney Thunder have no intention of relinquishing their hold of first place.
With the Sydney Sixers thrashed midweek by 86 runs by the Perth Scorchers, the Thunder made the most of their chance grab spot by beating the Hobart Hurricanes by 39 runs on Thursday night.
“It’s where we want to be,” Thunder paceman Nathan McAndrew said.
“We consider ourselves a definite contender in this tournament and we want to go deep into the finals.
“Being on top of the table is a good feeling.”
And an even better feeling because it’s come at the expense of their Harbour City rivals?
“Is there a rivalry there?,” McAndrew said.
“It’s always nice to be sitting above them for now but we’re not too focused on the other teams. We’re just worrying about our business and we just want to continue to focus on what we do well and executing that.”
The Thunder can increase their lead on the ladder by beating the Scorchers at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
When the sides met last month, the Thunder cruised to a seven-wicket win at Manuka Oval.
However, it won’t be as easy in Perth, with the Scorchers having won three on the trot after a poor start to the season.
“They’re a very hard team to beat at home. They’ve got great support from their fans, and I’m sure Saturday afternoon there’ll be a very good crowd,” McAndrew said.
“They’re a different side to when we played them earlier in the competition. They didn’t have (batsman) Jason Roy in at the time, so they’ve got a really stacked batting line-up, and some very good domestic and international quality bowlers in their team.”
McAndrew’s own quality with the ball continues to impress, with his figures of 2/25 off four overs on Thursday night earning him player-of-the-match honours.
“I’ve been around a while but those first few years were pretty developmental,” he said.
“Over the last two years I’ve really come on just as a cricketer in general. I think Andre Adams, the bowling coach for New South Wales, deserves a lot of credit for that as well, and just getting the opportunity to be on contract with the Blues and have a professional pre-season behind me as opposed to the years before that, basically doing my pre-season at grade level … has really benefited me.”
“Last year was a step in the right direction but this year I feel like I’ve definitely taken my game to the next level, and I definitely believe I belong at this level now.”