Ponting in smashing form as Hurricanes win

DAVID BENIUK
Last updated 22:06 23/12/2012
Ricky Ponting
Getty Images
SALUTE: Ricky Ponting celebrates after scoring a half century for the Hurricanes.

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Ricky Ponting's highest Big Bash League score and a hat-trick from Xavier Doherty led the Hobart Hurricanes to a 30-run victory over the Sydney Thunder at Bellerive on Sunday.

Ponting, who turned 38 last week, hit 63 from 45 balls, putting on an opening stand of 111 with Tim Paine (40 from 34) in the Hurricanes' 4-177 after they lost the toss.

Spinner Doherty (3-32) grabbed a 17th-over hat-trick when he snared Simon Keen (24 from 12), Ryan Carters (10 from 10) and Cameron Borgas (0).

Doherty had Keen caught at mid-on by sub Jason Krejza and Carters stumped by Paine before Borgas appeared unlucky to be judged lbw.

That reduced the Thunder to 7-122 before they finished on 9-147 for their fourth loss in as many starts.

Earlier, Ponting reached his 50 from 36 balls with a huge six over midwicket off the bowling of Azhar Mahmood (0-44), the shot coming after consecutive fours.

With superb placement rather than brute power, the former Australia captain hit seven fours and two sixes in making his highest BBL score in his first Hurricanes match at Bellerive.

And to the delight of the crowd of 12,209, Ponting chipped in with the late wicket of Scott Coyte (10 from five).

The Thunder never recovered from losing openers Chris Gayle (13 from 14) and Mark Cosgrove (19 from 16 early) to be 2-36 in the sixth over.

They were 4-91 in the 14th when Mahmood (23 from 20) and skipper Chris Rogers' (24 from 28) rescue mission was ended.

Earlier, Hobart's bright start looked like it could be squandered when Paine and Travis Birt (0 from 4) were both out with the score 111 in the 14th over, delivered by young legspinner Adam Zampa (3-26).

But Englishman Owais Shah (26 from 16) and skipper George Bailey (30 from 13) salvaged the situation for the Hurricanes with a stand of 54.

The Hurricanes' victory took them to 2-2 at the halfway point of their campaign.

"I'm a pretty experienced player and this was pretty much a must-win game for us," Ponting said.

"It's important that we did stand up."

But Ponting admitted he was still adjusting to Twenty20 cricket.

"It does take a little bit of getting used to," he said.

"I haven't played one-day cricket for a while either so the shorter forms of the game are a little bit foreign to me at the moment."

Thunder captain Chris Rogers conceded his side's finals chances were all but gone.

"There's always a mathematical chance but at the moment it's hard to see," he said.

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"We're just not playing well enough."

- AAP

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