Top 20 in 2020: Biggest BBL moments, 17-15
Ahead of the 10th season of the KFC BBL, we continue our countdown of the most memorable moments in the tournament's history
16 November 2020, 02:48 PM AEST
Big sixes, great catches and thrilling finishes - the first nine seasons of the KFC Big Bash League has had all that and much, much more.
Top 20 Biggest BBL Moments: 20-18
To mark the competition's 10th season this summer, we're counting down 20 of the biggest moments from the competition's history, be they good, bad or just downright bizarre.
We continue today with numbers 17 to 15 in the countdown and will continue to re-live some more classic moments over the next nine days.
17) Zampa uses his head to get a wicket
Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars, Melbourne, BBL|05
By Martin Smith
One of the joys of the Big Bash League over the past decade has been the celebration of the bizarre.
From a young fan devouring an entire watermelon in front of a national television audience, to a seagull on the MCG's eastern boundary stealing the limelight from the action on the field, the Big Bash has been about more than just brilliant cricket.
Much like during the 13th over of the Melbourne derby on January 10, 2016, the tournament has been about the moments that have truly gone global.
When Melbourne Renegades batsman Dwayne Bravo advanced at an Adam Zampa delivery and drove it powerfully down the pitch at Docklands Stadium, the possibility of the ball striking the bat of non-striker Peter Nevill would have been remote.
The chances the ball would then deflect from Nevill's blade and straight into Zampa's nose would have been even more unlikely. And for the ball to then ricochet off the bowler's face and onto the stumps when Nevill was out of his ground, well, you could have written your own ticket for that.
Despite the large crowd, the sound of ball crunching into bone could be heard from more than 50 metres away and everyone’s immediate concern was for Zampa's welfare after copping such a blow.
Everyone, that is, except for Zampa himself.
As the bowler slumped to the ground and clutched his nose, he managed a 'howzat' to the umpire, seemingly the only person at the ground who was aware that the painful moment had resulted in a wicket.
"Geoff Joshua (the umpire) had to tap me on the shoulder and say, 'By the way mate, you're out," said Nevill, who's immediate concern was Zampa's welfare.
"I honestly can't remember. I mean I was fretting a bit – it made a very bad sound when it hit him in the face and I wasn't sure exactly where it had hit him.
"I actually hadn't realised it hit the stumps."
At the risk of cultural cringe, the fact the moment made headlines in the United States – featuring on Bleacher Report, USA Today and SB Nation – underlined just how unusual it was, and how quickly it went viral.
And having suffered no serious damage, Zampa was more than happy to claim the wicket.
"It's a direct hit isn't it?" he said after the game.
"I can't remember what he (Nevill) said, but I think I need to say sorry because he was being sympathetic and I just brushed him off!
"I've never seen anyone hit in the nose and then get a run out. But it goes down as a run out, right?"
16) Peter Handscomb arrives
Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers, Melbourne, BBL|04
By Martin Smith
Apart from devotees of the Sheffield Shield, not many Australian cricket fans would have known much about Peter Handscomb when he walked to the middle of the MCG on the night of January 21, 2015.
Just 23 at the time, Handscomb had shown plenty of promise in red-ball cricket early in his career for Victoria but had been spotted only a handful of times under the national gaze of the BBL, with a top score of 25 not out from six games.
And if it wasn't for the absence of Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner on international duty, it's unlikely he would have even been in the starting XI for the Melbourne Stars' match against the Perth Scorchers.
So when the Stars lost Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright inside the first eight balls of their pursuit of 180 to win and then slumped to 5-114 at the end of the 15th over, the fact the responsiblity for the run chase fell almost entirely on Handscomb's inexperienced shoulders did little to change Perth's standing as clear favourites for victory.
But with the Stars needing 66 to win from just 30 balls, Handscomb – whose maiden BBL fifty had come from 45 balls – gelled beautifully with the lower order to produce an innings that would catapult him onto the national stage.
The right-hander led the way in the 16th over, racing from 68no to 83no as the Stars managed 16 runs to reduce the equation marginally to 50 needed from 24 balls, a required rate of 12.50 an over.
But the impossible suddenly seemed plausible when No.7 John Hastings launched three consecutive sixes off Ashton Agar to start the 17th over before he was dismissed, leaving the Stars with 30 to win from the final three overs.
A total of 18 runs from the next two overs (including consecutive fours from Clint McKay) brought the equation down to 12 to win from the last, with Handscomb on strike, unbeaten on 89 and with a century and victory in sight.
And the right-hander needed just three balls to achieve both.
From the first and third balls of the over, Andrew Tye missed his yorker length and Handscomb took full toll by sending the ball sailing into a jubilant and disbelieving crowd at deep mid-wicket.
He finished on 103 not out from 64 balls, racing to his second fifty in just 19 deliveries, to announce himself as an international player of the future.
"I think making a T20 hundred will be up there as one of the best innings I've played in my career," he told cricket.com.au a year later.
"It was just my night. My mishits were going into the gaps and when I finally hit it in the middle, it went over the fence.
"So it was a combination of a bit of luck but also, at the back end of a game like that, there’s just no fear."
15) Lynn slams five sixes in a row
Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat, Melbourne, BBL|05
By Dave Middleton
Chris Lynn was already box office when the Brisbane Heat arrived at the MCG on a blustery January evening in early 2016, but he'd never previously played a Big Bash game at the cavernous venue.
The competition's most prolific six-hitter had already deposited bowlers beyond the ropes – in many cases well beyond – 22 times in BBL|05 before he faced up to Ben Hilfenhaus in the game's sixth over.
Lynn prodded Hilfenhaus's first offering to cover for an innocuous dot ball.
It proved to be the calm before the storm, if you can call Lynn's return at that point of 23 from 14 balls 'calm'.
The next ball saw Lynn take his customary step forward to mid-on to clear the front leg and swivel as he launched his first six of the over ball deep into the stands over square leg.
The second six was a little further forward of square, over midwicket and into the stands from a length delivery on leg-stump.
Searching for answers, Hilfenhaus got it all wrong on his fourth ball, and delivered a full toss outside leg stump that Lynn flicked up and over the fence behind square.
The footage shows Hilfenhaus checking the replay on the MCG's big scoreboard, with a bit of a wry twist of his mouth as he pondered delivering two more balls to the competition's most destructive batsman, in his most destructive form.
Lynn's never been one to take a backward step when a hittable ball is on offer. Accepting you've already got 18 off the over and playing it safe never entered into his head. It's very much 'see ball, hit ball' mentality.
So when Hilfenhaus switched to around the wicket and pitched it wide of off stump, Lynn again cleared his front leg and heaved a cross-batted shot back over the bowler's head.
It cleared the MCG's enormous sightscreen and landed on the seats beyond.
Such was the dominance of the batsman, commentator Mark Waugh opined: "Is this the under-10s against the World XI? It looks like it!"
Back over the wicket, Hilfenhaus could only shrug his shoulders as his pitched up delivery rocketed back over his head again, this one hit low, flat and hard, and landed just beyond the long-on boundary for a fifth successive six.
The over had yielded 30 runs, Lynn now had 53 runs from 19 deliveries with a strike rate of 278.95, if you don't mind.
The five sixes averaged a distance of 93 metres, and in a blink, Lynn had registered what was then the second-fastest fifty in the Big Bash history (although Chris Gayle, never one to be outdone, would hit a 12-ball 50 just four days later).
As Lynn, who showed no hint of emotion throughout the over, raised his bat towards the Heat dugout, the MCG crowd stood as one to applaud the display.
And poor Ben Hilfenhaus snatched his cap, trudged back out to the deep, and wished he could be anywhere but the MCG right at that moment.
Return to cricket.com.au tomorrow as we continue our countdown of the most memorable moments in BBL history
Top 20 Biggest BBL Moments (so far)
17) Zampa uses his head to get a wicket
16) Peter Handscomb arrives
15) Lynn hits five sixes in a row