Cricket: Gayle, Haddin clash as Thunder lose again

Chris Gayle has been well below his best - averaging just 13 from six innings. Photo / Getty Images
Chris Gayle has been well below his best - averaging just 13 from six innings. Photo / Getty Images

Sydney Sixers captain Brad Haddin has told Sydney Thunder's star import Chris Gayle to start earning his monster pay packet as a four-wicket win extended the Thunder's Big Bash losing streak to 11 games on Sunday.

On the back of an unbeaten 51 off 36 balls from youngster Daniel Hughes, the Sixers made 6-136 chasing the target of 133 to keep their slim finals hopes alive with a tense victory.

Brett Lee hit back-to-back fours off Scott Coyte to seal the victory with an over to spare.

But it was Haddin's hefty sledge which ensured the rivalry between these two teams stayed fiery following another disappointing failure from Gayle (9) and a face-saving innings from Test aspirant Usman Khawaja (66no).

Gayle, lauded as the world's premier Twenty20 batsman when he arrived for his second Big Bash campaign on a $250,000 deal, has been well below his best - averaging just 13 from six innings.

His poor form became the subject of ridicule when Haddin was piloting the Sixers' chase.

But Gayle, who finished with 2-17, claimed a minor victory by enticing a rash shot from Haddin who was caught for 18.

Gayle celebrated Haddin's wicket by thumping his chest and starting an impromptu Gangnam-style dance - before the Sixers captain continued the sledging in a sideline interview.

"He's been all talk so far this tournament and they haven't won a game," Haddin told Fox Sports.

"It's disappointing to get out then, I was feeling pretty good but at least the Thunder fans have seen Chris Gayle do something for his money."

It ensured there was still some spark in the all-Sydney derby between the competition's two worst-performed teams which drew an impressive crowd of 20,986.

And they witnessed a capitulation from the Thunder top-order, a solo recovery mission from Khawaja and successful Sixers' run chase led by Hughes.

Hughes offered just one chance, on 48, when he was dropped by Scott Coyte off the bowling of the always-impressive Dirk Nannes (3-24).

Gayle wasn't alone in struggling at the top of the Thunder top order - Matt Prior (4) and Chris Rogers (7) also couldn't deliver.

The loss ensures the Thunder will finish 2012 without a single victory, their last coming on December 23 last year.

This year has been far kinder for the Sixers - they won the inaugural Big Bash tournament in January and the Champions League in October, but both their victories this summer have come against the hapless Thunder.

Sixers batsman Steve Smith suffered rib damage during his brief knock of 14.

Haddin didn't back down from his sledge when asked if Gayle was justifying his lofty wages.

"They lost," he said.

Even Gayle's two wickets weren't enough to impress Haddin: "But they lost.

"It was the local derby, and you don't want things to roll on without a bit of fun. Chris bowled well tonight.

"It's always very good to get Chris cheaply because he can take the game away from you so quickly.

"He hasn't been doing that so much with the Thunder the past couple of years, but he can definitely take it away from you very quickly."

Gayle laughed off Haddin's comments as friendly banter - and pointed to his growing list of scalps this tournament that includes retired Test great Ricky Ponting as well as Haddin.

"I've done a lot for (the Thunder) from last year," Gayle said.

"(Haddin) is going to be in my pocket just like Ricky and the rest of the big names who I got out."

Gayle lamented his own dismissal as well as the Thunder's miserable season, but paid credit to the Sixers' pace bowlers.

"I tried to express myself (with the bat) but it didn't happen," he said.

"Even though I'm not timing the ball well you have to give the bowlers credit."

- AAP

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