Sydney Sixers triumph despite Warner heroics
The Sydney Thunder's Big Bash misery continued into a third season with an opening-round loss to the Sixers - and now they'll be without their best two batsmen.
The Sixers continued their cross-city dominance by chasing down the target of 167 with six wickets and 10 balls to spare in front of 18,180 fans at the SCG.
But compounding matters is a hamstring injury to topscorer Usman Khawaja, while a blistering cameo from Test opener David Warner was wasted.
Warner smashed 50 from 31 as he easily transferred the form which has dominated England into cricket's shortest format.
With Warner rejoining the national team ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Thunder skipper Mike Hussey was resigned to being without the only batsmen to trouble the scorers for their next fixture against Adelaide on Friday.
"It's not easy to replace someone like Davey Warner in this form of the game," Hussey said.
"That's certainly not ideal for us ... (but) I still think we've got the ability to cover it."
The Thunder have collected back-to-back wooden spoons and have not won a match since December 23, 2011, while the Sixers remain unbeaten against their western Sydney rivals.
"We've got to get smarter about the way we finish things off," Hussey admitted.
Warner, who struck a match-winning century in his only previous appearance for the Thunder, did his best to change that.
The leading Ashes scorer this summer, with 457 runs at 91.4, took little time settling into the Twenty20 format, spanking three boundaries from the first five balls he faced.
He and Khawaja put on 116 for the opening Thunder wicket but were given next to no support as high profile teammates Hussey (2) and Eoin Morgan (4) failed to deliver.
The final nine Thunder overs delivered just 50 runs as they posted 166, still a record for the franchise.
But it never looked enough as Nic Maddinson put on a Warner-esque show of his own, pounding 61 off 40 balls.
One six was a sublime flick off the hip which sailed into the second tier of the Members Pavilion - and came one delivery after being struck on the chin by a Gurinder Sandhu bouncer.
"It was (a nice moment) but I should've watched the ball the first one - they both could've been up there (in the stands)," he said.
His cavalier knock ended when caught by Warner for 61.