Cameron Ferguson hit a rapid half century but his efforts were in vain as Sydney Thunder went down by 12 runs to visiting Melbourne Renegades in a low-scoring Big Bash encounter.

The Worcestershire CCC batsman made 52 off just 36 balls with seven boundaries as the Thunder pursued a 153 target in their 20 overs on a sluggish pitch.

Ferguson, one of the County’s Vitality Blast winning heroes last summer, dominated a third wicket partnership of 64 in nine overs with Jason Sangha.

He helped lift the score from 23-2 to 87 but the Thunder lost their grip on the game after his dismissal in the 13th over.

Ferguson, who will be back at Blackfinch New Road on May 1, went for a big hit against wrist spinner Cameron Boyce and was caught at long on by Dan Christian.

The Thunder failed to show the momentum demonstrated by Ferguson for the rest of their innings and closed on 140-5 with Sangha 54 not out from 49 balls.

Aaron Finch (54) top-scored in the Renegades 152-9.

Ferguson and the Thunder are now occupying fourth spot in the eight team table as the battle to reach the knockout stages hots up.