Khawaja takes Test form into BBL
Usman Khawaja took his Ashes Test form into the Big Bash League when he helped Sydney Thunder beat the Perth Scorchers.
The left-hander made his return to cricket's shortest format after scoring 171 in the final Ashes Test, his innings at Spotless Stadium being his first in the BBL since last season's final.
He made an immediate impact, with a classy 85 off 51 balls as the Thunder won by three runs.
The Scorchers almost stole the match thanks to an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 137 between Khawaja's Test colleague Cameron Bancroft (75 not out off 56 balls) and Hilton Cartwright (65 not out from 41).
The visitors needed 74 off the final five overs and still required 24 off the last. Cartwright took 10 off the first two balls from Mitch McClenaghan, but the Scorchers fell just short.
Perth stay second in the table while the Thunder moved to within two points of fourth spot.
Khawaja, who was the only Thunder batsman to make more than 25, was happy to pick up the win on his return.
"Unless you hit the ball an absolute mile very cleanly, you kind of have to be a little bit unconventional," he said. "I try to hit the ball 360 (degrees all around the field) when I'm batting.
"I go by the seat of my pants, I go by my gut and don't try and think too much. I try to look at the field and when the ball comes down, I know where the gaps are, I know where I'm trying to hit it."
The Thunder are 1.95 to win their next match against Sydney Sixers, who are 1.90.
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