The Sixers have won tonight's match by six wickets (6-167 chasing 166) thanks to a punchy 61 from birthday boy Nic Maddinson and good supporting knocks from skipper Smith, Henriques and Bopara.
The men in magenta set up their victory by frustrating the life out of the Thunder's batting after Warner and Khawaja had set a blistering pace early on.
The Thunder are yet to beat their Sydney rivals in the BBL and with David Warner certain to miss most of their season on Test duty, this could be another long season for the lime green lads.
Sixers 4/165 chasing 166
Just 8 off 17 required now. Big fella Feldman bowling and Henriques is taking it easy, caressing the ball around the paddock.
Nannes, the Thunder's best bowler so far, is flayed over the rope by Henriques. He didn't really get it in the middle of the bat - the ball swirled about high up and only just dropped over the white stuff. Crucial six, though. Henriques finishes the over with two cracking fours.
Sixers 4/140 chasing 166
Your money would have to be on the Sixers. They need 36 off 30 balls with Sandhu steaming in from the Randwick end. Bopara is a very wristy player - he likes chipping the ball off his toes and into the midwicket/mid-off arc.
No need to butcher the ball at this point.
Sixers 4/131 chasing 166
Henriques starts his account with a shaky edge past second slip but redeems himself with a full-blooded pull to the boundary next ball. Woakes is not impressed. Not at all.
Carl Sandri picks up the wicket of his life, catching Steve Smith off his own bowling. He had to get low down to scoop up a limp onside prod from Smith. Great stuff from the grade cricketer.
Sixers 3/117 chasing 166
Woakes bowls with good line and length - and this over he has Smith's measure: four dot balls, a single and an uppish four to end with.
Sixers 3/112 chasing 166.
The Sixers need only 63 off 54 at the start of this over. Already 15 sundries this innings. Sloppy stuff from the Thunder bowlers.
Sandhu is a big unit with good pace but Smith smashes him over midwicket with impunity. Smith is cruising - 21 off 18.
3/104 Sixers chasing 166
Dean the destroyer. A wide ball outside off and Maddinson's miscued cover hoick lands in Davie Warner's hands. Nice catch from the moustachioed one.
Good knock from Maddinson.
Bopara to the wicket.
Sixers 2/84 chasing 166
Maddinson brings up his 50 off 36 balls with a flick down to fine leg. Sweet knock from the birthday boy. He's 22 today. He and Smith are running like hares between the wickets.
No fireworks just yet and no need for it with 10 overs to go. That said, Maddinson has just smoked Woakes 101m into the Bradman stand. Wow!
Sixers 2/71 chasing 166
Leggie Blake Dean is causing a little trouble for Smith - mainly because the wicket is so two-paced. But Smith responds with two flashy boundaries.
Greg Matthews says he can't remember the last time a fast bowler bowled with a watch on like Gurinder Sandhu is at the moment. #BBL03 — Cricket Talkback (@CricketTalkback) December 21, 2013
Luke Feldman is a giant of a man: 1.9m and shoulders broader than the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He kept Maddinson fairly quiet that over - just 5 off it.
Sixers 2/56 chasing 166
Woakes' medium pacers get an airing - and they have an immediate impact. Cosgrove tries to whip a short bowl outside off over backward point but holes out to Nannes 5m inside the boundary.
In comes Test hero Steve Smith - to a massive reception from the crowd. Hope we get to see his famous swot shot tonight. Maddinsoin is 43 off 28.
Sixers 1/51 chasing 166
Sandhu bowls a brute of a ball that cannons into Maddinson's grill. He rubs his jaw and settles over his bat for the next ball. Now that's courage.
His response is brilliant. A swipe off the hip and into the first tier of the Members stand!
What a nasty ball from Nannes. It lifted off a good length and smashed new bat Cosgrove in the thumb. Owch! Cosgrove couldn't get his glove off quick enough. Journeyman Nannes is one crafty competitor.
Great catch Davie Warner just inside the rope. Lumb, who'd been starved of the strike, smashed Sandhu straight into the Test opener's hands on the square leg boundary.
Interesting bowling change from the Huss. Sandri on to bowl his offspinners with the new ball.
Maddinson smotes him into the grandstand. He races to 32 off 15 - a difficult start for grade cricketer Sandri.
Luke Feldman starts with a nasty ball that kicks up off a good length and almost smashes Maddinson in the groin. This wicket is doing funny things, folks.
But Maddinson regains his composure to slog Feldman straight over his noggin and into the crowd. Maddinson races to 18.
Michael Lumb to face Dirk Nannes - and the first ball fizzes off a good length and Lumb edges it just past gully's outstretched hands. Close.
Nannes, sporting a beard, fires in a jaffa of a ball outside offstump Lumb is lucky not to nick. Alas, for Nannes his last three balls go for 8 off Maddinson's bat.
The under-achieving Thunder have smashed their highest ever score in the BBL: 6/166. But it could have been even bigger. A great start by David Warner and Usman Khawaja - they smashed 106 in 10 overs - was thwarted by tight bowling from Henriques and Bopara. The Thunder could only muster 60 in their last 10. The fireworks from Warner were huge, while captain Mike Hussey will be disappointed with his somewhat timid contribution. Can't wait to see Steve Smith and his charges go the tonk. Time for a beverage. Back in five.
Brett Lee at the death and he delivers with an inswinging yorker Dean can't keep out. Top stuff Binga.
New boy Carl Sandri then wallops Lee over long-on for six. Great cricket.
Bopara's slower balls are troubling Chris Woakes. He's got a big bag of tricks, our man Ravi. The next one is pushed through very quickly and Woakes can't get wood anywhere near it.
Great bowling. And there's another slow one that absolutely bamboozles new boy Dean. Four overs for 29 from Bopara. A nifty return.
The new boy Ryan Carters lasts only four balls, scooping up a legside flick straight into the waiting hands of Bopara.
The Sixers have really come back with a vengeance in these last eight overs.
The new batsman is Englishman Chris Woakes. And that's a massive wicket: Khawaja is caught behind off Henriques - a shortish ball he tried to smash through cover but only succeeded in nicking to Dan Smith. A neat 66 off 51 from the Pakistan-born opener.
Four over, 2/24 from Henriques - outstanding stuff.
Khawaja is so strong on the legside, belting two balls in a row from Bopara to the fence. To give you an idea of how well the Sixers have frustrated the Thunder in the last 10 minutes,there have only been 17 runs scored in the last 4 overs.
And here's wicket No.3. Morgan mistimes to cow corner and Cosgrove bags the catch.
Khawaja is limping about at the mo. Looks like he's tweaked his hammie. Let's hope it isn't serious. Anyway, he's still out there, and he's decided to flay the bowlers from the crease.
No boundaries since the 8th over. A miserly over from Henriques ends with a ripper of a ball that climbs off a good length and almost takes Morgan's head with it. Great stuff.
Hazlewood is back on and Irishman cum Pom Eoin Morgan is his target. Hazlewood is bowling better this over than in his first spell.
Khawaja tries to pull him out of the ground but his timing is slightly askew and Mark Cosgrove almost catches him at deep midwicket. Good effort from the big man, but alas, his final dive wasn't quite there.
Good over from Hazlewood.
Henriques appeals for LB against the Huss. But it was jagging down legside. That said, Hussey hasn't played much cricket lately and he looks a bit shaky at the wicket.
A frustrated Huss then tries a massive tonk but the ball goes straight up in the air and the keeper does the rest. He never looked at home, the Hussmeister.
Khawaja 48 (39).
Hussey strides to the crease. He looks nervous - a good sign. He's obviously gee'd up for this game.
Bopara, who is quite canny with his variations in pace and length, is causing him a few problems.
Just three off this over.
Now Mark Cosgrove's wobblers get a turn. Warner picks up his 50 with a neat flick off the pads. Just 30 balls.
But he can't resist a juicy half volley and holes out to Jordan Silk on the midwicket boundary. Great innings Davie.
Lee is back on, flinging 'em down at 146km/h. And a hungry Dave Warner is very tempted - he goes for an almighty swing outside off stump and almost nicks it to the keeper.
Lee then pings in a yorker. Good bowling from the veteran. He finishes with a slower ball Khawaja dabs away for a single. Lee has 0/25 off three.
Both Khawaja and Warner are running very well between wickets putting loads of pressure on the Sixers' field.
Smith brings on Bopara, who immediately goes for four wides. Next ball Warner under-cuts and a leaping Hazlewood drops him at deep gully.
That was a tough chance, no question. Khawaja 38 (26), Warner 46 (24).
Warner says the wicket is a bit two-paced - and as if on cue, the next ball from O'Keefe keeps a tad low. The next one, Warner flat bats back at O'Keefe and the New South Welshman dives to his left but can't haul it into his mitt.
A difficult chance goes begging.
Henriques comes on from the Paddo end and gets king-hit (not literally) by David Warner. Sheer power all the way to the fence. He races to 36 off 16. Khawaja has 28 off 19.
And there Warner goes again, slashing Henriques through extra cover for four. Henriques looks rattled.
The Thunder will be looking for a 200-plus score, and the way they're going they just might...
Smith rings his first change. Stephen O'Keefe to trundle in from the Randwick end.
But Warner eats him up and spits him out over the boundary fence. A massive six straight down the ground.
The Thunder have lost their last 13 games, but Khawaja and Warner are settling in well tonight.
Great save by the portly Mark Cosgrove, who dived to his right to stop a lusty Khawaja cover drive.
Khawaja has raced to 24 off 15 - five boundaries off his last eight balls. Hazlewood has 0/29 off two.
Poor guy has run into two master blasters in peak form.
Khawaja was doubled over in pain five minutes ago, but this over he's smashing Lee - two crisp boundaries to leg.
Then Warner gets in on the act: smoting Lee to the rope off the back foot. Lee's a bit short at the mo.
Speaking of which, Warner is still sporting his action man lip fuzz.
Lively crowd - as you'd expect. Maybe 18,000...
Hazlewood is not achieving the same accuracy as Lee. Three wides so far this over - and Warner has just thrashed him though cover for a boundary.
The wicket has a few cracks in it but nothing too dangerous. And there goes Warner again, clubbing Hazlewood through the cover region for a four.
The last ball is hoicked over mid-on for another four. Too easy for DW.
Lee is looking good. His aim is to smash 150km/h for the 20th year running - and Khawaja has just found out he means business, copping a Lee thunderbolt in the ribs. Ooh, that hurt.
Just speaking with @SydneyThunderGM - spoke very highly of #Bathurst's @deano2020 as he debuts with the @ThunderBBL tonight. #thundernation — Kia Handley (@kiahandley) December 21, 2013
Welcome to the SCG and the tonkfest that is Big Bash cricket. Tonight we've got the guys in pink, sorry magenta, the Sydney Sixers, butting willow against the guys in lime green, the Sydney Thunder.
This derby will be a cracker: the Thunder have under-achieved in the first two BBLs, while the Sixers are determined to repeat their first-season success.
Test star Steve Smith is captaining the Sixers and Mike "Mr Cricket" Hussey is Thunder skipper. Great to see the Huss back too - he's a deadset legend of the game.
Looking forward to seeing Dave Warner smash the stratosphere and Brett Lee unleash a few 150km/h scarlet missiles.
The Thunder are the Sixers' bunnies: they've never beaten their eastern Sydney foes. Apart from Warner they've spurned the star recruitment path this season. Instead, they've gone for journeyman such as Aussie Dutchman Dirk Nannes.
As far as the Sixers go, Pom all-rounder Ravi Bopara is an excitement machine when he gets going - let's hope he does.
The Sixers have won the toss and elected to field. Lee to Warner. Here we go...