From all-out 15 to the fourth-highest score in the tournament’s history, the Sydney Thunder are enjoying their first comeback since Christmas.
A refreshing Matthew Gilks credits a week’s break from KFC BBL action at Christmas to the reversal of fortunes for him and the team.
The Thunder slumped to a 1-3 record and were skittled by Adelaide for a record-low 15 in a dreadful start to the season as Gilkes managed just six runs from four innings.
However, the aggressive starter then scored 56 outs, 37 and 33 after Christmas and helped stabilize the Thunder ship, winning back-to-back against Brisbane and a swashback loss to Hobart on New Year’s Eve. Up to 6-228.
Gilks told AAP, “It didn’t go so well at first and I was a little frustrated and disappointed, but I think the little break over the Christmas period was perfect to refresh and get back to basics.
“Then I just got out there and felt like I was timing the ball a lot better and hitting more time. It was really good.
“I feel like I’ve got a plan for how I’m going to hit, and I feel like I’m starting to get a little better in the last few games.
“Hopefully I can keep building it and keep trying to contribute to good totals.”
Gilkes’ contribution isn’t just when he picks up the bat.
It was one of the highlights of the summer so far when the wicketkeeper made a spectacular diving catch down legside to sack Heat captain Jimmy Pearson on Thursday.
“I just saw it and threw everything I had at it,” Gilkes said.
“Fortunately, I just hit the middle of the glove and got stuck. It felt good to get it.”
Gilkes was one of five Thunder hitters in an embarrassing collapse at home to the Strikers on December 16.
Two more losses followed shortly after, but the 23-year-old felt it was a mental turning point for his team.
“After that night, we were all in a bit of disbelief,” Gilkes said.
“But we said, ‘This is cricket and we are fully capable of going into the next match and scoring big’.
“It’s great that the hitters are out there and posted some runs and some good scores recently.”