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Thunder relish underdog BBL status: Rohrer

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Stand-in captain Ben Rohrer claims the Sydney Thunder will continue to thrive in their role as an underrated Big Bash League franchise.

Perennial stragglers through the first four tournaments, Thunder pulled off a drought-breaking BBL title win last season.

They open their defence at a sold out Spotless Stadium against the visiting Sydney Sixers, but some betting agencies only have the champions among the middle-ranked contenders.

"It's always good to go in as underdogs and try and prove people wrong and I think we did that really well last year," said Rohrer, who will lead the Thunder against the Sixers in the absence of Shane Watson, who won't play until after Christmas due to a calf injury.

"I'm sure the Sixers are going to be super confident to beat us again tomorrow night like they have been for five BBLs now.

"They think that they get two easy games a year against us and we're looking to show them again that they don't."

Sixers captain Moises Henriques said two derby wins would enhance their chances of winning the competition, but gave no indication he thought Thunder were easybeats or bitter enemies.

"If we don't win the comp, I'd love to see them win the comp, " Henriques said.

Rohrer was looking forward to utilising the extreme pace of Pat Cummins and West Indian Andre Russell.

Thunder are expected to have a contingency plan in place if any ban is placed on Russell after he allegedly didn't notify drug bodies of his whereabouts on at least three occasions over a 12-month span.

"It's obviously something that is there in the background that might take effect later in the tournament," Rohrer said.

Henriques was confident English imports Jason Roy and Sam Billings would give the Sixers extra hitting power, even without proven opener Michael Lumb in the early stages of the tournament, and also possibly Nic Maddinson.

Henriques has recovered from a side strain, but won't bowl in the Sixers' early matches.

Sean Abbott and Stephen O'Keefe have also been named in the Sixers squad for Tuesday's game after injuries kept them out of various recent state matches.

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