Sydney Thunder skipper Shane Watson has hailed the influence of West Indies all-rounder, Carlos Brathwaite, in the franchise’s recent resurgence during the ongoing Big Bash League.
Barbadian Brathwaite played critical roles with the ball in the last two outings as Thunder extended their winning streak to three games, after starting the tournament with a four-game losing skid.
“Carlos has been brilliant, he’s an impressive guy, we all know what he can do on the cricket field as well,” Watson said.
“He’s bowled very well the times that he’s come on and just the energy he’s provided in the field, but also off the field as well.
“He’s a very engaging guy, so everyone’s loved having him on board. He’s certainly provided that spark that we’ve been looking for.”
Brathwaite was a late replacement for West Indies teammate Andre Russell who was forced out of the tournament with a hamstring injury.
He picked up two wickets in his first game as Thunder beat Hobart Hurricanes by six wickets and claimed three wickets in his second outing to help the reigning champions down crosstown rivals Sydney Sixers by eight wickets.
Watson said Brathwaite had been an excellent replacement for Russell.
“He’s certainly brought a nice energy to our group, not that Andre Russell didn’t, I suppose,” he pointed out.
“It’s just a different feel that Carlos has brought, especially where Andre unfortunately is with his things that are hanging over his head at the moment.”
However, today things did not quite go as the Thunder would have liked in their make or break game against Kieron Pollard’s Adelaide Strikers at the Spotless Stadium.
Pollard produced a season-best knock to hand Brathwaite’s team a 77-run defeat and end the reigning champions’ dream of reaching the playoffs of the tournament.
The big-hitting Pollard slammed 47 off 22 deliveries to help the previously bottom placed Strikers rack up 178 for five off their 20 overs.
Needing to win to have any chance of reaching the next round, Sydney were then undermined by New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi who snatched six for 11, as the hosts tumbled to an embarrassing 101 all out in the 16th over. Brathwaite was bowled by Sodhi for 1.
The defeat left Thunder as one of four teams on six points but bottom of the standings courtesy of net run rate, following their preliminary round campaign.