«Your heart is in your throat a bit with a few of the crowd catches,» Bailey said.
«It’s the heroes who go for it then pull out at the last minute, just step up and take the catch, it’s not that hard, just put your hands in front of you and leave them there.»
The Thunder started their Big Bash League season with a bang at Manuka Oval and finished at the same venue with another win, but it wasn’t enough to make finals.
The Sydneysiders needed a huge win to have any chance of making finals, and after sending Hobart into bat, the task only got tougher.
The Hurricanes posted 4-165 in a rain-delayed 19-over innings thanks to Bailey (53), Matthew Wade (45) and Ben McDermott (44 not out).
It meant the Thunder needed to reach the total in just 11.2 overs — which is 14.5 runs per over — to get their net run-rate above the Brisbane Heat and leap into the top four.
Their season officially ended when they were 71 runs short at the 11.2 over mark, but they still won by four wickets in front of 11,557 fans, with Callum Ferguson (47) top-scoring.
The sell-out crowd came less than a week after 30,822 fans poured into Manuka over four days for Canberra’s historic first Test.
The Thunder welcomed back three Australian Test players in Pat Cummins, and Usman Khawaja and both made an impact.
Man-of-the-match Cummins (2-28 and nine not out) was the pick of the bowlers and hit the winning runs, while Khawaja (36) showed his class with a gutsy knock after copping a nasty bouncer to the helmet.
There was plenty of talk about the returning Test players, but it the was snubbed international Wade who was first to leave his mark on the game.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has put runs on the board across all formats this domestic season as the Sheffield Shield leading runscorer and finishing second-best in the BBL.
Wade, was dropped twice early at Manuka, but made the most of it and fell one hit short of his sixth BBL half-century this summer.
Despite his stellar form, the Australian one-day international selectors opted to retain vice-captain Alex Carey for their series against India this month.
«He [Wade] is certainly putting his hand up. He’s ticking the boxes and doing everything they’d be wanting from batters that aren’t in that team,» Bailey said.
Cummins was picked in the ODI squad as the other vice-captain and said he was feeling confident in all forms of the game following his first Twenty20 in almost 12 months.
«I feel like my rhythm is really good, I can bowl where I want to, and my pace is up so I couldn’t be happier at the moment, body feels really good and hopefully it all just kind of stays how it’s going at the moment,» Cummins said.
Hobart had already clinched the minor premiership before their final regular season game, and they’ll be joined in the postseason by the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Renegades, and either Brisbane or the Melbourne Stars.
AT A GLANCE:
Sydney Thunder 6-166 (Callum Ferguson 47, Usman Khawaja 36, Chris Green 34*, Qais Ahmad 2-22) bt Hobart Hurricanes 4-165 (George Bailey 53, Matthew Wade 45, Ben McDermott 44*, Pat Cummins 2-28)
Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times