BBL 2022-23 – I need to retire now

Adelaide Strikers quick Henry Thornton joked that he might contemplate retirement after returning stunning figures of 5 for 3 to help bowl Sydney Thunder out for a men’s T20 record low of just 15 in their BBL game on Friday.

Thunder were bowled out in 35 balls chasing a target of 140 at Sydney Showground. Thornton, 26, was left shocked and amazed following his career-best figures. Just days after claiming his previous best of 4 for 20 against Sydney Sixers, Thornton nicked off five Thunder batters in 17 deliveries to finish with the staggering figures of 2.5-1-3-5, the fourth best in BBL history.

“I feel like I need to retire now,” Thornton told host broadcaster Channel Seven. “I don’t think I’m getting better than that. I honestly cannot believe what just happened. I think everyone here probably doesn’t know what is going on either. It was amazing.

“We thought [Thunder] bowled really, really well considering what the wicket was doing. And we just thought if we hung in there long enough we’d create chances. That’s unbelievable. I’ve never had that happen in my life to be honest. It’s amazing.

“We just thought if we bowled top of the stumps, and we were really clear on what we wanted to execute, we’d be in the game. We got a lot of nick offs. Harry [Nielsen] took five catches and Shorty [Matthew Short], that was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen at first slip. We’re really happy. I’m really happy for Wes [Agar]. He bowled really well tonight, super disciplined. Great performance.”

Wes Agar also collected career-best figures of 4 for 6 while wicketkeeper Harry Nielsen took five catches to equal the BBL record for the most dismissals in an innings.

Strikers captain Peter Siddle was also in shock after the match. Neither he nor Rashid Khan was required to bowl a single ball as the innings finished in 5.5 overs, which was the shortest in the history of men’s T20 cricket.

“It’s quite amazing that I’m actually off the pitch speaking to you because that was quick,” Siddle told Channel Seven. “I did not picture what just happened.

“Rash’s [Rashid] played a lot of T20 cricket and that’s the first time he’s not bowled a ball in a T20 match. For the two of us not to bowl a ball, it’s still quite amazing. The boys bowled superbly. Exactly what I said earlier about coming in, being disciplined, bashing a length, they did that and they reaped the rewards.”

Rashid had only twice previously not bowled in his 358-game T20 career, but both instances came in washouts when his side did not bowl.

Former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee, who was commentating on the match for Fox Sports, labelled Thunder’s batting performance as appalling.

“I am speechless,” Lee said on the broadcast. “It’s appalling when you think about what’s happened for the Sydney Thunder. Great bowling – but 15, really!”

Lee’s colleague and former Australia team-mate Brad Haddin called it embarrassing. “I just spent 24 hours going through match-ups where Rashid Khan is going to bowl,” Haddin said. “That was unbelievable. What we’ve seen from them is aggressive fast bowling and some unbelievable catching. And we have seen a team that was really enjoying that cricket out there. Fifteen in 35 balls is just embarrassing.”

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