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Thunder back out-of-form Andre Russell

AAP logoAAP 22/12/2016 Jason Phelan

For the second BBL match in a row Sydney Thunder's star import, Andre Russell has failed to deliver and the West Indies star appears out of touch and below peak physical condition.

Russell's now-outlawed black bat isn't the only talking point after his laboured start to BBL06 that has seen the Thunder suffer heavy losses in the first two games of their BBL title defence.

The 28-year-old took two wickets but was expensive (2-42) in the 48-run loss to the Melbourne Renegades and failed with the bat, making two runs from seven balls.

That followed a brief knock of nine and figures of 1-29 in the season-opening nine-wicket loss to the Sydney Sixers.

"It's early on, I'm really not concerned," Thunder coach Paddy Upton said of the out-of-form allrounder.

"A guy with his ability in all three departments ... when he does click he's really going to hurt people.

"The reality is with the amount of T20 cricket that he plays around the world, everybody will expect him to arrive from game one and click and fire for the whole tournament.

"But the reality is that doesn't happen.

"As long as he's settling, he's finding his rhythm and he's finding his role within our unit ... I'm very comfortable that over the course of eight games he's going to deliver, he's going to come good.

"So I'm not concerned. Yes, he hasn't arrived and set the world on fire, but it seldom happens that way."

After losing two early wickets in their run chase against the Renegades, the Thunder never looked like challenging the home team.

But Upton urged patience as his side, currently without injured skipper Shane Watson, builds into the season.

"It's never nice to lose but it's been important for us to be clear on what our campaign is going to look like," he said.

"How we learn, how we grow and how we build the kind of cricket we want to play.

"If we stay on the right path and do the right things hopefully we'll start clicking."

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