Thunder douse the Heat in BBL opener
Skipper Callum Ferguson sets up Sydney Thunder’s upset win over Brisbane Heat at the Gabba as spinners work their magic
17 December 2019, 10:32 PM AEST
The Score: Sydney Thunder 6-172 (Ferguson 73no, Ross 30; Swepson 2-11) defeated Brisbane 143 (Cutting 28; Green 2-19, Nair 2-22)
The match in a tweet: Thunder get their #BBL09 campaign off to a flyer on the back of starring roles from Ferguson and impressive trio of spinners
The Hero: Sydney Thunder skipper Callum Ferguson continued his red-hot white-ball form to lead his team’s charge in the first BBL fixture of the season, with the visitors scoring an against the odds win over the fancied Brisbane Heat at the Gabba. The classy right-hander arrived at the crease after Usman Khawaja was removed in the third over and finished unbeaten on 73 from 44 balls, hammering half-a-dozen boundaries and three sixes and becoming the first BBL player to secure the BKT Tires Golden Cap. Ferguson lifted the Thunder to what proved a sufficient total of 172 after they lost three wickets during the Powerplay and his knock followed a run of three centuries for South Australia last month, with two of those coming in the Marsh One-Day Cup and the other in the Sheffield Shield. The success marked the Thunder’s first win at the Gabba.
The Supporting Cast: While Ferguson’s knock was littered with class, the Thunder’s three spinners delivered in spades as they put the heat in a spin. Jono Cook (2-29 from four overs) took the new ball and ensured the Heat did not get off to a flyer, removing openers Tom Banton and Max Bryant. Chris Green, who signed the longest deal in Big Bash history last month when he committed to the Thunder for another six seasons, then returned 2-19 from his four overs, while Arjun Nair (2-22 from four overs) also impressed. The trio kept the usually free-scoring Heat in check through the early and middle stages of the innings, leaving them with too much heavy lifting at the back end.
The Consolation Act: Little more than a month after taking three wickets in consecutive balls for Queensland in the Marsh Sheffield Shield, Heat leg-spinner Mitch Swepson again found himself on a hat-trick as he grabbed the key wickets of Alex Ross (30) and big-hitting Daniel Sams (0) in his second over and the 14th of the Thunder’s innings.Intriguingly, he sent down just two overs for the innings, finishing with 2-11.
The Stat: Heat captain Chris Lynn became the leading run-scorer in BBL history when he whacked Chris Tremain for six off the first delivery of the fifth over. Lynn started the innings with 1945 career runs, two behind former Perth Scorchers batsman and current Melbourne Renegades coach Michael Klinger, before his hit over the fine leg boundary lifted him into the No.1 position.
The Big Moment: From ecstasy to agony, Lynn was soon on his way as Ferguson gratefully accepted a catching chance from his opposing skipper at cover in the fifth over, leaving the Heat at 3-40. Lynn contributed nine from as many balls.
Just a little shuffle to the left was all that was needed for the Thunder skipper #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/uTKIPOvi0k— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 17, 2019
The Big Moment II: With Ben Cutting hitting the ball to all areas – and clearing the fence – at the Gabba, allrounder Sams answered the call. Cutting had belted two sixes off the first four balls of the 17th over as he threatened to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat before Sams found a way through the six-hitter’s defences to swing the game back in his team’s favour.
Nutmeg'd! The Daniel Sams yorker goes through the legs of the dangerous Cutting. Heat 8-130. Game, set, match? #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/MHzrl3aco8— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 17, 2019
The introduction: There has been a lot of hype surrounding Heat’s English import Banton, who boasts a T20 strike rate north of 150. Banton tucked into Sams in the first over of the run chase, smacking two sumptuous sixes and racing to 16 from six balls. While he succumbed to Jono Cook in the next over, his two powerful blows were enough to send a warning to rival BBL bowlers.
The Slip: Sams could at least crack a smile after he lost his radar (and the ball) in the first over of the Heat’s innings.
Umm, what? Daniel Sams almost bowled this ball out of the circle completely 😑@KFCAustralia | #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/In0fNZubTf— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 17, 2019
The Next Stops: The Thunder are again on the road on Thursday night as they face defending champions Melbourne Renegades in Geelong, while the Heat will host Melbourne Stars on the Gold Coast on Friday.