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Thunder go from BBL champs to chumps

AAP logoAAP 28/12/2016 Darren Walton

From champs to chumps, the Sydney Thunder are promising to repay dispirited fans for their comical BBL loss to the Brisbane Heat.

The Thunder faithful booed skipper Shane Watson after his dolly of a dropped catch in the final over completed the humiliation and left his side's title defence in tatters.

In a jaw-dropping finish, the Thunder grassed four routine catches in the last five overs and allowed the Heat to smash 77 runs in 34 balls to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at Spotless Stadium.

"Dropped catches cost you any time. With our standards in the field, it's disappointing to let by a few chances like that," said Thunder all-rounder Chris Green.

"But we certainly pride ourselves on our fielding and we'll definitely have to improve going into the next few games."

The Thunder's three biggest names were their three biggest culprits.

Apart from Watson's howler, the returning captain was bowled for a duck in his comeback from a calf injury, while Andre Russell not only failed with his controversial black bat but also in the field.

After all the fuss, the West Indian made just eight following his reprieve from BBL officials who bat-flipped on their ban of his weapon of choice after some handy lamination work from manufacturers.

And after taking the middle wicket of Heat captain and dangerman Brendon McCullum in his first over, Pat Cummins conceded six straight fours to Chris Lynn, whose blazing 85 off 48 balls helped the Heat eclipse the Thunder's 7-157 with two balls and three wickets to spare.

Green, who had given the hosts hope with three consecutive sixes to finish the Thunder's innings, admitted the manner of the capitulation stung.

"It definitely hurts any time when you lose and when we have such a good turnout from our fans, it's even more disappointing," he said.

"But we promise to turn it around and give them that win."

Thunder coach Paddy Upton conceded his players panicked with the game on the line and challenged his big guns to step up.

"It's difficult to lose a game when you've actually handed it back through your own errors," Upton said.

"I know we do have the quality batsmen to be able to be succeeding

"But we need those batsmen to click and put it together. It hasn't happened yet and we need it to happen at least four of the next five games."

Upton isn't giving up hope of making the finals and believes having Watson ready to bowl again for the Thunder's New Year's Day clash with the Scorchers in Perth will help.

"Last season we lost four in a row and were able to come back," he said.

"But definitely the pressure's on and we can't let afford to let things slip in the next five games that are ahead of us."

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