Sydney Thunder 9/159 (20 overs) Defeated by Brisbane Heat 7/161 (19.4 Overs) @ Spotless Stadium
Lynn Carnage Brings Heat Back From the Brink
Another stunning Chris Lynn innings has helped Brisbane Heat to a tense 3-wicket victory over the luckless Sydney Thunder at Spotless Stadium. The Heat were telling at 6 for 63, before Lynn and Jake WIldermuth (29) picked the Heat up off the canvas and eventually over the line. Lynn's 85 not out came from just 48 balls, with 10 fours and 43 sixers, after he came in just the second over after Jimmy Peirson and Brendon McCullum were sent packing early by a fired up Thunder. What is so impressive about Lynn, for mine, is the beautiful simplicity of his batting and ball striking. He is not the biggest mover of his feet, staying a little leg side of the ball, however times the ball sweetly and keeps very balanced. He does not rely on a lot of the funky sweeps, laps or late cuts that many T20 specialists have in their game. Instead he relies heavily on the pick up shot straight over the bowler's head which he looks like he could do in his sleep such is its effectiveness. No more so was Lynn's brilliant display more evident than when he crashed 5 boundaries from a fired up Pat Cummins in the 5th over to get some momentum in a stuttering Heat run chase.
Thunder Fail to Deal With The Pressure as Butter Fingers Cost Them
It was a devastating loss for the Thunder who now slump to 0-3 and are looking at long odds to make the finals and be given a chance to defend their title. I don't think the Thunder will be thinking about playoffs right now, with their immediate priority simply being avoiding the embarrassment of going winless as defending champions. No catch is ever easy in cricket. With the huge floodlights and big crowds, sky balls can easily he misjudged or lost in the lights. However, at the professional level, the chances missed by Andre Russell, Ryan Gibson, Jake Doran and Shane Watson are ones that cost you games of T20 cricket. Russell was ever so casual down at long on when a ball went straight thought his hands for six. When the next ball then went 30 metres over his head, that's a 12-run turnaround there and then. In Rugby League, you would compare it to a team with a 3-man over lap thrown an intercept and the other mob going the length of the field. It's an energy sapping momentum killer. From there, panic set in for the Thunder. Ryan Gibson charged into a ball that sailed over his head and over the rope while Luke Doran became unbalanced and fumbled a gloved hook shot from Lynn. When Shane Watson comically lost a tame lob in the lights, heads were well and truly down and the Thunder's season was just about buried.
Positives for Thunder Despite Costly Defeat
Whilst it was all doom and gloom on the BBL table for the Thunder, they can take some positives into their next game. Star import Eoin Morgan finally found some form with the bat, making a classy half century to drag another stuttering Thunder innings forward. Pat Cummins was really unfortunate in taking 2/46 from 4 overs. Cummins looked as good as I have seen for a few years last night, bowling rapid fire and having some world class batsmen hopping around and looking none too comfortable. Cummins could have easily had 3 or 4 wickets if it wasn't for some missed chances. Where he perhaps erred was continuing to bowl fast to Chris Lynn during Lynns's 5 straight boundary blitz. If Cummins can add a effective slower ball to his make up, he will be an even more dangerous and more consistent commodity. Both spinner Farad Ahmed and Chris Green took 2 wickets each, both bowling with excellent control. Ahmed was particularly impressive with his subtle variations to have the Heat batsmen all at sea, drawing leading edges and plays and misses. With Nathan Lyon having claimed 9/600 in Tests so far this year, Ahmed might come into calculations for Australia's tour of India with poor performances like this.
Heat Far From the Finished Article
I still get the feeling watching the Heat they are a bit of a team of individuals. While in Adelaide it was their fast bowling that let them down, as their batting racked up over 200. Here the likes of Cutting and Steketee were excellent in a far more polished bowling display before a really undisciplined performance with the bat nearly cost them the game. Last night there didn't seem much rhyme or reason for some of their batting. Some sides you watch and they look like they have been together forever, and are really bedded down in with some of their strategy and disciplines. I don't get that impression with the Heat yet. However, the positive for them is despite playing some patchy cricket in their opening two games, and being a long way below their best, they are now 2-0 already. Didn't understand Joe Burns being deployed so low when the Thunder were clearly intimidating early with Cummins and Russell tearing in. I also thought there were a few soft shots. Alex Ross didn't look like he enjoyed the extra pace of Pat Cummins, wanting not much part of getting in behind the ball. Jason Floros and Ben Cuttings' dismissals were pretty soft when all the Heat required was someone to get Lynn on strike.
Lurker 7 from 8 and Flying!
The Lurker was sweating bullets for much of last night's games as his Heat were collapsing to a certain defeat. However, as Chris Lynn single handedly shot the Thunder down, The Lurker was seen dancing in the aisles as he improved his win strike rate to a stoning 87.50% through 8 games. However, that wasn't the most impressive aspect The Lurkers feats last night. If you read the preview, The Lurker suggested a cheeky flutter on the Eoin Morgan / Chriss Lynn high scoring double. Not only did that get up and pay $18, but both men were by far and away their team's highest scorers. Morgan's 52 was 16 higher than the Thunder's next highest score, while Lynn's 85 was 56 clear of the Heat's 2nd highest run scorer. It will be interesting to see where the Lurker puts his chips tonight in an explosive match up between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Renegades. Will he be backing Brad Hogg to come back to haunt his old side? What batsman will be back to fire his side to victory tonight? Preview up this afternoon.