Top 20 in 2020: Biggest BBL moments, 20-18
Ahead of the 10th season of the KFC BBL, we start our countdown of the most memorable moments in the tournament's history
15 November 2020, 02:55 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.
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 start today with numbers 20 to 18 in the countdown and will continue to re-live some more classic moments over the next nine days.
20) BBL makes bloody big impact
Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat, Sydney, BBL|01
By Dave Middleton
The Big Bash League arrived with a bang, but perhaps not quite the way anyone expected.
On opening night of the brand new competition, with the Brisbane Heat facing the Sydney Sixers at the SCG, the Heat's exciting overseas signing Brendon McCullum came charging down the wicket to smash Brett Lee to the extra cover boundary from the third ball of the new T20 tournament.
It was exactly what fans wanted to see, and McCullum was keen to deliver more.
In Lee's next over, he aimed a hook shot at a short ball but was outfoxed by a change of pace from the man in magenta. Next ball, McCullum tried the shot again, but this one was unleashed with the full force of the then-35-year-old Lee's searing pace, and it crashed into McCullum before he was through the shot.
The ball had gone straight through the gap between the peak of the helmet and the grille, hitting the New Zealander flush on the bridge of his nose and opening a wicked gash.
As Lee signalled for help from the dressing room, viewers were treated to the grisly sight of blood gushing down McCullum's face and off the point of his nose as he removed his helmet.
Looking back, it's still mind-boggling that McCullum barely flinched as 163 grams of hard cricket ball crashed into his face at something around 135kph.
It's even more incredible that McCullum returned to the crease just four overs later, his nose broken in two spots and with a half-dozen stitches holding it together.
"I've got a couple of breaks but nothing in the eye socket which I'm thankful for," McCullum later said.
"It was good to get back out there and get back on the horse ... otherwise you sit around and mull over things for too long."
The footage of a bloodied McCullum remains one of the BBL's most enduring images, and the blow had a lasting impression on the New Zealander. It was only earlier this year, more than eight years after the incident and some 18 months since his retirement from top-flight cricket, that he had the surgery needed to fix his nose.
After our thriller 32-30 win Saturday for @ums_rugby, had to skip training tonight to tend to an old injury to the snout👃courtesy of my mate @brettlee_58 handiwork back in @bbl debut season! Should be back on deck with the lads come Saturday hopefully. 🏉💪🏻 A post shared by Brendon McCullum (@bazmccullum42) on
In classic hard-nosed McCullum fashion, he played a game of rugby with his local side, Matamata, just four days later.
19) Bob Quiney and the seagull
Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers, Melbourne, BBL|04
By Louis Cameron
Bobby Quiney doesn't want to cry fowl, but his run-in with a seagull five years ago continues to ruffle more than a few feathers.
The MCG's tumultuous relationship with their avian inhabitants predates the Big Bash League, yet the demise and recovery of the seagull initially dubbed 'Umar' (in reference to the Pakistan paceman Umar 'Gul') may be an even bigger flashpoint than when the venue introduced two wedge-tailed eagles to scare their kind away.
While Quiney hardly regards it as a feather in his cap, the incident came home to roost during a succession of school clinics in which he realised budding cricket fans better recognised him for his work as an amateur veterinarian than as an accomplished batsman who won the honour of a Baggy Green cap.
That's not to mention his lack of consultation on the costume of the seagull's spin-off reborn as 'Steven Seagull' (pronounced like 'Steven Seagal').
There was undoubtedly an element of misfortune that Quiney was the one to stir the hornet's nest.
"It was one of those things that was always going to happen playing so many day-night games at the MCG," the 38-year-old reflected. "In the Big Bash it seemed like the last 30, 45 minutes of the game, the seagulls would come and just get in the way."
Seagulls are not generally known for their intelligence but, even so, the decision to settle in three quarters of the way towards Quiney on the leg-side boundary while Clint McKay bowled slower balls to the Perth Scorchers' top order was a beak-scratching call.
With the Scorchers pushing for a big first-innings total, the Stars' more pressing initial concern after the bird was struck by a powerful shot along the ground was that Adam Voges used the pace the blow took off the ball to sneak back for a second run.
The full extent of the damage feared to have been done was laid bare when Quiney approached the inanimate creature and mimicked the loading of a shot-gun.
"I just saw the bird and thought, 'This poor seagull – it's done'," he recalls. "I waved to someone to get this bird and put it out of its misery. How they do it, that's completely up to them, but this thing was gone, I thought.
"I picked it up and put it over the other side (of the boundary) and tried to get the ground staff to see if they could bring over a box, but I was on the complete other side of the ground (to them).
"My thoughts were that there's so many kids at the ground and they're just going to see this bird die and I thought, 'That's probably not a great experience for the kids' – I'm sure there's plenty of teenagers and adults who'd be happy to see that, no worries – but it wasn't really appropriate for kids."
Like all great narratives, this tale had a resurrection to follow the initial setback; much to the relief of the parents of the children in the rows sitting near the ailing animal, it proved to be comedy rather than tragedy.
With multiple Channel 10 cameras trained on the bird and the full attention of the commentators captured by a possible second coming, it leapt back to its feet and spread its wings to earn cheers from the crowd.
The knock had been like water off a duck's back.
Proud as a peacock and now playing to its audience, the seagull proceeded to swoop at Quiney's legs the following over when Voges again hit McKay out to the on-side for another two runs.
And on the outfield it remained, this time in a deeper position closer to Quiney, as commentator Adam Gilchrist labelled it a bigger recovery than Rick McCosker's from a broken jaw during the 1977 Centenary Test.
"The funny thing was (Stars bowling coach) Micky Lewis was going around the boundary line at the time, speaking to the bowlers," said Quiney.
"I think Micky liked getting out and about to see the crowd and hope someone would recognise him.
"He went past and made a pigeon noise and I said, 'Mick, that's the wrong bird, mate. It's a seagull, not a pigeon.' But he was pretty happy with himself."
While the Stars have since anointed the popular mascot (who walks out to Rocky music before MCG games) in honour of the famous run-in, Quiney has not feathered his nest in the same way.
"They didn't run any approvals by me," he said. "I would have thought he would have been wearing a Bobby Quiney badge, or wearing a picture of me on his hat saying I saved his life.
"But he can have his minute of limelight per game."
Nonetheless Quiney can retain some pride that his legacy, although not quite what he envisaged, has at least not gone the way of the dodo.
"When I went to school clinics after that, people would recognise you not for your 12 off eight balls, but because you picked a near-dead seagull and it flew away," he said.
"A couple of years ago someone introduced me (at a school clinic) as someone who used to play at the Stars, and the kids must have spoken to their parents and they've come back and said 'Bobby! You're the guy that picked the seagull up' and then ran off."
18) Dan Christian hits the roof
Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes, Brisbane, BBL|05
By Martin Smith
A year before Chris Lynn famously launched Shaun Tait onto the roof of the Gabba, Dan Christian got there first.
And if you ask his teammates, he wasn’t shy about bringing it up either.
A keen golfer, Christian's mighty blow off the bowling of Luke Feldman in BBL|05 would not have been out of place on the driving range.
After the ball had sailed high into the Brisbane night's sky and landed on the roof of the grandstand, Christian's mid-pitch byplay with his Hobart Hurricanes teammate Daren Sammy underlined just how big a shot it was.
Christian stood with his mouth wide open in shock at his own work, while the West Indian touched his teammate's bat with his hand, joking that the blade was on fire.
And when Christian and his Victorian teammates returned to the Gabba later in the season for a Sheffield Shield game against Queensland, the allrounder was keen to re-live the moment.
"We played at the Gabba a couple of weeks later and he brought his golf range finder, stood out in the middle and measured how far the ball went," Christian’s then Victorian teammate, Chris Tremain, remembers.
"He said it was 130m on the range finder. That's pretty impressive."
But this wasn't just a wild swing that got lucky. While T20 cricket can sometimes appear like brawn wins out over brains, Christian's six came from careful planning and tactical nous as well as sheer strength and power.
Predicting that Feldman was going to fire the ball into his pads, the right-hander cleared his left leg at the point of delivery and, having got the ball he was looking for, muscled a powerful drive high over mid-wicket.
"I could tell that Luke Feldman was going to try and get in at my pads and try and tuck me up," he said.
"Then you've just got to wait for him to hopefully miss his length."
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)
20) BBL makes bloody big impact
19) Bob Quiney and the seagull
18) Dan Christian hits the roof