Peter Handscomb has set his sights on a top-order spot at the Hobart Hurricanes after signing a two-year deal with the BBL franchise.
Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond has taken a jab at the Melbourne Stars because of the side’s dire finals record ahead of their BBL showdown.
The Stars have made the finals in eight of the nine BBL seasons, but are one of only two teams – along with Hobart – who are yet to win a title.
After finishing the regular season on top of the ladder, the Stars succumbed to the lowest score in their history in the qualifying final loss to the Sydney Sixers last Friday night.
When asked how they would beat the Stars in Thursday night’s preliminary final, Bond jokingly replied: “Just put them in the finals and they tend to roll over.”
The former star New Zealand quick went on to say all the heat was on the Stars.
“When you don’t win it, particular with a team that’s always fancied every year to go all the way, it certainly puts a different element of pressure,” Bond told Sportsday WA radio.
“They’ve beaten us twice this year and have played very well against us, but you go in a one-off game and it’s a completely different scenario.
“We’re on the back of three wins and they are on the back of four losses.”
Thunder captain Callum Ferguson played more of a straight bat when speaking to reporters in Melbourne.
After sneaking into the finals by finishing fifth, the Thunder have secured memorable wins against Adelaide and Hobart to be in reach of an all-Sydney decider.
“We’re aware of the fact they (the Stars) haven’t been at their best in the last little bit, but we know how threatening they are in their order with the bat and ball,” Ferguson said.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence on the back of two away wins, which have been in my eyes really impressive wins … I couldn’t be prouder of the guys so far.”
The Thunder boast a world-class top-order in Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja and Ferguson, while fast bowler Daniel Sams has taken the most wickets in the BBL this season.