A stunning innings from Chris Lynn single-handedly dragged Brisbane Heat over the line against Sydney Thunder.
The Heat needed 75 runs from 36 balls with just four wickets in hand. But Lynn and Jack Wildermuth (29 from 20) struck six sixes and four boundaries between them to run down the total with two balls to spare. The Thunder dropped four catches, including Lynn three times.
Earlier the Thunder looked in trouble with the bat until some late hitting from Chris Green salvaged the innings. Eoin Morgan held the innings together with a composed 52 but Green launched three sixes in the final over to drag the total up to 157.
Pat Cummins ripped through the top order of the Heat with genuine pace but he could not remove Lynn.
Lynn was the star of last season’s BBL as the leading run scorer in the tournament but his 2016-17 domestic season for Queensland has been completely curtailed by injury.
He produced another gem in Heat colours tonight. The Heat were 3 for 27 in the sixth over with Pat Cummins breathing fire. Lynn crushed five consecutive boundaries to get the chase back on track. He lost three more teammates and the run-rate tipped beyond 12 an over at one stage but he bided his time against the spinners before backing his raw power against the quicks late. He had some luck but he created some of it with his power hitting. He has now scored a century and four 50s from his last 10 BBL innings.
Thunder keep fumbling
The Thunder dropped Sydney Sixers captain Moises Henriques twice in game one, including first ball, and he made them pay with an unbeaten 76 in a clinical run-chase. They dropped Lynn three times tonight to lose their third consecutive match.
They also dropped a fourth catch, which was probably the most important. The Heat needed 57 off 27 when Wildermuth miscued a delivery from the off spin of Green straight down Andre Russell’s throat at long-on. It burst through Russell’s hands and over the rope for six. The next ball disappeared over his head. Although Wildermuth holed out from the last ball of Green’s over, the equation was back to 45 from 24.
Ryan Gibson misjudged a flat off drive from Lynnn at long off that also went for six. Jake Doran dropped a gloved pull off Cummins and then the skipper Shane Watson dropped a sitter at cover in the last over to seal the Thunder’s fate.
Quick and easy for Cummins
Cummins bowled a spell that will leave Australian cricket fans salivating at the thought of him returning to Test cricket. He cranked up the pace to knock over Brendon McCullum and Alex Ross in the Powerplay and leave the Heat reeling.
He delivered a 150kph outswinger that knocked back McCullum’s middle stump, while a 151kph yorker made a mess of Ross’ pegs. With some luck he might have nabbed Lynn and been the match-winner for the Thunder. He regularly clocked 150kph and swung the new ball.
But four overs since Boxing Day is vastly different to the 31 overs fellow firebrand Mitchell Starc bowled at the MCG in the second Test against Pakistan. It must be remembered that Cummins hasn’t played first-class cricket since August 2015 and he hasn’t played Sheffield Shield or Test cricket since 2011.
Russell unsettled by short stuff
Andre Russell is a T20 gun for hire and his talent with bat, ball and in the field makes him a very attractive recruit for the Thunder and other franchises around the world. Last season he averaged 23 with the bat striking at 186 and his power-hitting is very dangerous. But his big hitting may well be nullified in this tournament if teams continue to bowl short at him.
This season he has scored just 19 runs from 24 deliveries across three innings. He was bounced out by Sixers quick Doug Bollinger in game one and Heat skipper Brendon McCullum was clear with his tactics in this game. Ben Cutting bowled short at him with a leg gully and then McCullum changed the field to give Russell the impression Cutting would go full, but again he bounced him and a skied pull shot landed just short of deep square leg. He holed out not long after. Russell will need to work out a plan against the short stuff.