Match No.8 of this season’s Big Bash League turned out to be the most thrilling match of the season so far with the Brisbane Heat registering their second successive win of the season against the defending champions Sydney Thunder, who are yet to win a match this season
Brisbane Heat skipper Brendon McCullum won the toss and put the Sydney Thunder in to bat. After a disastrous start, the Thunder’s innings was rescued by a half-century from England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan and a six-ball cameo of 22 by Chris Green that helped them to a respectable total of 157/7.
In reply, the Heat got off to a disastrous start and were reeling at 63/6. At this point, it seemed like Sydney Thunder would finally register their first victory of the competition but last year’s Player of the Tournament Chris Lynn had other ideas.
The 26-year-old Queenslander played a superb knock of 85 off just 48 deliveries to take the Heat past the finish line with two balls to spare. Lynn was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant effort and Brisbane moved to the top of the table with their second successive victory.Brief Scores: Sydney Thunder - 157/7 in 20 overs (Eoin Morgan-52, Samuel Badree- 20/2); Brisbane Heat - 160/7 in 19.4 overs (Chris Lynn- 85*, Fawad Ahmed- 19/2).
Here are the top 5 moments from the match:
#5 Sydney Thunder’s disastrous form continues
Reigning champions Sydney Thunder suffered their third consecutive defeat of the season as they were beaten by Brisbane Heat in a thrilling encounter. The Thunder had a pretty sloppy time in the field as they dropped three easy catches which eventually cost them the match.
Sydney’s batting has been a major issue more than their bowling. While they have taken wickets prolifically in almost every match, their batsmen are yet to click with only opener Ryan Gibson and Eoin Morgan showing signs of consistency.
Another major issue for the reigning champions has been their dismal bowling in the final overs. While they have gotten good starts during the early overs, their bowling suffers a dip during the death overs. Even in today’s match, they took a beating during the slog overs which eventually led to their defeat.
The Sydney Thunder have had a dismal tournament so far and if they are to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals then they will have to regroup fast.
#4 Pat Cummins’ brilliant opening spell
Courtesy of some late hitting by Chris Green, reigning champions Sydney Thunder got to a total of 157/7 following a disastrous start which gave them something to defend. While defending the modest total, the Thunder got off to a brilliant start as Clint McKay picked the wicket of Jimmy Peirson in only the second ball of the innings.
After a brilliant first over from McKay, Pat Cummins was called in to bowl the second over and in only his second delivery, he cleaned up McCullum with a 150 kph outswinger which went on to hit the bails. He went on to concede only five runs in that over.
In the second ball of his second over, he was hit for a six by Alex Ross but he compensated by bowling out Ross later in that over with a brilliant 151 kph yorker which left the Brisbane Heat struggling at 21/3.
However, his next two overs turned out to be disastrous as he was hit for five consecutive boundaries by Chris Lynn in his third over before conceding twelve runs in the 19th over which completely turned the match in the Brisbane Heat’s favour.
If Cummins can keep up the kind of form he showed early in the match, he could be a valuable addition to Australia’s Test squad that will travel to India in February.
#3 Andre Russell’s poor form continues
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has already been making headlines through his new bat. The willow has a black blade and a pink handle and was initially banned for leaving black marks on the ball but was later cleared after a clear laminate cover was applied.
However, the laminate cover couldn’t cover up Andre Russell’s poor form as he once again had a very poor performance with the bat, scoring only 8 runs off 10 deliveries before being dismissed by Ben Cutting. So far, the hard-hitting Russell has scored only 19 runs in three matches at a paltry average of 6.33 and an equally dismal strike rate of 70.37.
Russell hasn’t been very good with the ball either, taking three wickets at an average of 31.33 and economy rate of 8.06. With the Sydney Thunder performing poorly in the league, it will be really important for Russell to get back to good form as he can be very lethal on his day.
#2 Sydney Thunder drop the match thrice
The Sydney Thunder began defending their total brilliantly as Pat Cummins, Fawad Ahmed, and Chris Smith took wickets at regular intervals to leave Brisbane Heat tottering at 63/6. However, Chris Lynn’s monumental 85 along with some assistance from Jack Wildermuth won the match for the Heat.
However, there were a total of three instances when Sydney Thunder threw away the match through some sloppy fielding. The first of these came during the sixteenth over when Wildermuth hit a Chris Green delivery flat down the ground and Andre Russell seemed in a good position to catch it. The ball went through Russell’s hands though and over the rope for a six. Things went from bad to worse as Wildermuth hit another six off the very next delivery.
The second major error came during the crucial penultimate over when Chris Lynn mistimed a pull shot off a Pat Cummins bouncer. Wicket-keeper Jake Doran, however, wasn’t able to hold on to the catch as he fell backwards in the process.
The last of these errors came in the final over when Lynn was once again dropped, this time by Sydney Thunder captain Shane Watson at cover. These mistakes cost the Thunder the match as they could have saved a good 15-20 runs had the catches been taken.
#1 Chris Lynn’s monumental effort
Chris Lynn established himself as one of the finest T20 players in Australia through his performances in last year’s BBL where he was named the Player of the Tournament. He was the top run scorer of the tournament despite his team not reaching the semi-finals.
In today’s match, Lynn once again proved why he is such a dangerous batsman in T20s through a brilliant innings of 85 from 48 deliveries where he hit ten boundaries and three sixes. Lynn came in to bat during the first over itself but did not get much strike during the early stages of the innings.
When he did get the strike during the latter half he made full use of it. However, his innings was helped by some sloppy fielding by Sydney Thunder as they dropped him twice, once on 73, and another time, on 80. Lynn finished the match in style as he hit a brilliant boundary to square leg.
He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his brilliant performance and will be a crucial player for Brisbane Heat who are beginning to look like contenders for the title.