Former Australian Test stars Michael Hussey and Shane Watson have proven that age is no barrier, leading the Sydney Thunder to a 36-run win over the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League season opener on Thursday night.
After posting 4-158, the Thunder inflicted their first ever defeat on their cross-town rivals, as the Sixers barely fired a shot in their run chase, dismissed for 122 at the Showgrounds Stadium.
Hussey blasted 80 off 58 as he and Ben Rohrer (30 off 20) lifted the home side with some lusty late hitting.
Nearly three years since retiring from the Test arena, 40-year-old Hussey proved the difference-maker with a captain’s knock that included five fours and four sixes.
The Sixers were never in the hunt as they lost a steady procession of wickets, with Watson finishing with 3-13 off two overs.
Watson was guilty of throwing his wicket away, clean bowled for 16 attempting to sweep Nathan Lyon, but he made amends with a great spell of bowling, picking up the wickets of dangerman Jordan Silk, allrounder Sean Abbott and Trent Lawford.
West Indian import Andre Russell was also outstanding, clean bowling ex-Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 13 and finishing his four overs with 3-13.
Besides Haddin, opener Michael Lumb (34 off 27), Johan Botha (13) and Jackson Bird (14) were the only other Sixers batsmen to reach double figures.
Lumb had a forgettable night, dropping an absolute sitter of a catch after Watson skied a rising ball.
The win was an important confidence boost for perennial underachievers the Thunder who had never beaten the Sixers in the first four editions of the domestic Twenty20 tournament.
They now shape as a real hope after recruiting strongly, with Watson and Russell looking like astute purchases after their first outing.