Thunder go out - not a bang, a whimper

THINGS have gone from bad to worse for the Sydney Thunder this season after being bundled of cricket's Big Bash League without a win.

For the second year running, the Thunder has finished bottom of the league, having only registered two wins in two years.

The statistics look bleak for the western Sydney-based franchise who have struggled to sign big-name stars beside captain Chris Gayle and English import Matt Prior.

Prior's absence in the Big Bash League this season further depleted the team's playing stocks after big-hitting opener David Warner defected to the Sydney Sixers in the off-season.

When you combine these factors with Chris Gayle's lacklustre form and both Kevin Pietersen and Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi's no shows it's little wonder the western Sydney-based franchise is failing.

The Thunder's frailties were badly exposed against the Perth Scorchers in January when the competition strugglers were smashed by nine wickets.

Usman Khawaja's innings of 56 from 45 balls saved the Thunder from humiliation to help his team to 9-113 in their 20 overs.

If the Thunder's batting was woeful then their bowling wasn't much better.

The Scorchers lost just one wicket on their way to victory inside 14 overs.

Season one of the Big Bash League had a certain novelty factor about it being a new competition but that appears to have worn off with fans largely deserting the Thunder in droves this season.

The Thunder's four home games at ANZ Stadium has attracted an underwhelming crowd average of 10,000 with only one match against the Sydney Sixers attracting more than 10,000 fans.

This was highlighted on December 20 when the Thunder played Adelaide Strikers in front of 4101 fans.

Considering ANZ Stadium capacity is 83,000 it made the spectacle look more like a graveyard.

So what's the answer for the Big Bash strugglers?

Thunder team management has tried and failed to attract big international names and local hot shots like David Warner would prefer to jump ship.

The question is this: should the Thunder be moved to a more deserving city without a Big Bash team such as Newcastle or Canberra?

Both cities have played host to Sheffield Shield and limited overs cricket.

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