Buttler's purple patch continues in tense Thunder win
Ashton Turner's late onslaught was in vain as Sydney Thunder secured a dramatic one-run Big Bash League victory over Perth Scorchers following another Jos Buttler half-century.
Buttler raised his bat for the third time in the tournament, top-scoring with 55 in the Thunder's 142-6 after putting on 82 with Callum Ferguson for the second wicket at Spotless Stadium on Wednesday.
It looked inevitable that the Thunder would claim a third win after back-to-back defeats when the Scorchers lost four wickets in 15 balls, slumping to 54-5.
Captain Turner threatened to pull off an unlikely second win for the struggling three-time champions, but his unbeaten 60 from 36 deliveries was not enough to deny the Thunder.
The Scorchers needed 20 to win from the last over and although Daniel Sams gave them every chance with two wides and a full toss which Turner dispatched for one of two fours in the first four balls, the skipper could not find the boundary he needed off the final delivery.
WHAT A WIN! We’ve snuck home by one run in a thriller at Spotless Stadium— Sydney Thunder (@ThunderBBL) January 2, 2019
Big congrats to player-of-the-match Callum Ferguson, his quick fire 42 helped set the game up early!
Brought to you by @HomeWorldAus#ThunderNationpic.twitter.com/GaqCwjaTBD
BUTTLER SERVES UP ANOTHER TREAT, ROOT FAILS AGAIN
Buttler led from the front again for the Thunder with another enterprising knock at the top of the order.
The England wicketkeeper-batsman went through his repertoire of strokes, including a reverse swipe for four to reach a run-a-ball half-century.
Buttler also scooped Jason Behrendorff for six, but fell in bizarre fashion clattering his stumps with his bat attempting a switch hit off the economical Jhye Richardson (1-19).
Joe Root is still yet to make an impact, the England Test captain making just five before playing on sweeping Ashton Agar, who also removed the clean-striking Ferguson for 42 from only 30 balls.
AHMED SPARKS COLLAPSE, WATSON TAKES STUNNER
The Scorchers found runs hard to come by in their chase, but they were still in with a good chance of getting home at 50-1 in the ninth over with wickets in hand.
That was until Fawad Ahmed snared Michael Klinger leg before to spark a middle-order capitulation and Cameron Bancroft fell in the same fashion to Jonathan Cook for 19 in his second match after serving a ban for ball-tampering.
Shane Watson took a stunning one-handed slip catch to see the back of Agar for a duck and give Ahmed (2-22) a second wicket.
The spinner was celebrating again after running out Hilton Cartwright with a direct hit to leave the Scorchers teetering.
SKIPPER FALLS SHORT AFTER TURNING THE TIDE
It looked inconceivable that the Scorchers could chase down a modest target after losing their way so badly but Turner and Will Bosisto (23 from 21) kept them in with a sniff.
They needed 86 from the last eight overs and 43 with just three remaining, but Turner took 10 from the last two balls of the 18th over from Chris Green to get it down to 28 needed from 12.
Just eight runs came from the penultimate over from Sam Rainbird, taking the pressure off Sams - or so it seemed.
Turner dispatched a slower ball to the leg-side boundary and hit a poor fourth ball for four before Sams sent down back-to-back wides, but Turner was unable to make him pay as he could only take four off the final two balls.