Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said on the Channel 7 broadcast: “T20 is impossible to play when you have wickets like this.”
Justin Avendano (28 from 31 balls) and Ben Dwarshuis (19 from 20 balls) dug the Sixers out of a massive hole but they were bowled out for 76, their second-lowest total in the Big Bash.
The Thunder were set a revised target of 75 from 16 overs due to the weather and despite the loss of Alex Hales for a golden duck and Usman Khawaja for 14, managed to sneak ahead of where they needed to be when rain set in just before 10pm.
After 5.3 overs, the Thunder were 2-28 when they came off, ahead of the par score of 24.
Had the Sixers snared a wicket on the final few balls before the frustrating rain returned, they could have pinched an unlikely victory. They will kick themselves for not making more runs.
“Whether it was ready to start on that [pitch] is up for debate,” Henriques said. “Before we went back out [after the first rain break] I did ask the umpires if the wicket was good enough to bat on. They seemed to think it was. Obviously I offered my opinion after I got out.
“It’s a result and it doesn’t sit that well with me. You’d rather win. There was a little bit of sloppy cricket I thought we played at times. We didn’t get dealt the best cards there tonight.
“If we manage to get to 90 or 95 off our 16 overs it could have been a different result.”
Some would argue it was a fair outcome for the Thunder, who had a recent game called off in Canberra against the Strikers due to bushfire smoke.
The result means the Thunder leapfrog both the Brisbane Heat and Perth Scorchers into fourth spot, just two points behind the Sixers (13).
Ferguson said he was “absolutely” worried his team were not going to get through the five overs of the run chase needed to constitute a game but even he isn’t sure that is the fairest number.
“I wonder whether five overs is long enough to give you a genuine result. Maybe that’s something we could look at, whether it needs to be 10 overs,” Ferguson said.
“You never know in these conditions what you’re going to get. We just had to play it smart.”
The Thunder bowled first after winning the toss and their decision was certainly justified as the Sixers slumped to 2-1 thanks to some brilliant footwork – yes, footwork – from Chris Morris and a beautiful first-up seed from Gurinder Sandhu.
Hughes was run out for a duck after getting into a horrible mix-up with Philippe on a damp pitch. As he scrambled to get back to the striker’s end, Morris came through and booted the ball with the inside of his right foot which hit the stumps and caught Hughes short, just like a soccer striker into the bottom left corner.
Then next over, Sandhu, with his first ball of the Big Bash season, blew Philippe’s pad off to put the Thunder’s cross-town rivals in big strife.
Things got even worse after the first rain delay when Henriques edged a nasty rising delivery off his glove to first slip.
The Sixers captain looked furious at umpires as he trudged off before more rain came with the men in magenta reeling at 3-6.
While the early rain did not appear to be particularly heavy, umpires were quick to have the covers put down and wary of a player injuring themselves. They also did not want to get too much moisture on an already damp pitch.
Daniel Sams was the pick of the Thunder bowlers with 3-14 from three overs and took his season wicket tally to 20.
Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald