Brisbane Heat 3/174 (16.2 Overs) Defeated Hobart Hurricanes 9/173 (20 Overs)
Heat Power to Third Straight Win
The Brisbane Heat have surged to the top of the table after a resounding 7-wicket trump over the Hobart Hurricanes on Friday night. In front of a sold-out home crowd at the Gabba, the Heat had far too any weapons for the Hurricanes, to move to 3-0 and only a couple of wins away from locking up a final's berth. After three years of frustration and futility, the Heat finally have a team that are ready to challenge. On an outstanding batting surface, the Hurricanes 173 was never likely to be enough against a power packed Heat batting line up. Captain and gun import signing Brendon McCullum swatted his way to 72, before local hero Chris Lynn pounded 84 not out in a devastating partnership. The Hurricanes now drop to 1-2 before a key home game against the Strikers on Monday. Whilst the Hurricanes went the journey with the ball, captain George Bailey will likely rue their top order batting display, where a number of key men made starts and failed to capitalise on ideal batting conditions.
T20 Games Can Change In One Moment
If you went out for dinner and just caught the highlights of this game, or saw the scorecard, you would assume rightly that Hobart were pummelled from pillar to post by the Heat, and for the most part you would be right. What you might not have seen though is the star of the night, Chris Lynn, heaving a ball high into the leg side and being dropped by D'Arcy Short who made a valiant effort, covering a lot of ground only to dive and fumble the catch over the rope. If Short had held on, the Heat would have been 2/14 and under the pump in chase of 173. It would have had a massive flow on effect, with more responsibility upon McCullum, and exposing Alex Ross early, a player who doesn't seem to enjoy the extra pace. The game then takes on a totally different complexion and I would argue Hobart would have been at least an even chance to go on and win the game from there. However, the catch and the match slipped through their fingers, and the Heat were able to continue playing in their carefree and trailblazing manner.
McCullum Still a Massive Drawcard
Despite retiring from International cricket, Brendon McCullum remains a box office cricketer. I have always admired the pocket rocket Kiwi for his fearless approach to captaincy and batting over the years, which has often put him in the line of fire. McCullum is also universally one of the most admired cricketers on the planet not only for his maverick batting style, but his complete disinterest for niggle, sledging and the prickly side of the game. McCullum looks like as genuine a bloke as you would meet in the game, and he doesn't need any of the bluster, ego or swagger to make him must-see television. In fact, in many people's eyes, it will elevate him even further beyond compare. McCullum is different to most T20 superstars in that he bats in a truly maverick and cavalier way. He has complete disregard for his own safety, running at guys bowling 150km per hour, compulsively hooking anything at his head, and looking for ramp shots against those same firebrand bowlers. McCullum is also different in that he has no fear at all of getting out. Rarely will he try and adjust to conditions, or take a few balls to get his eye in. It's all action from Ball 1, and sometimes it's ugly, but that's part of his appeal to the viewer. He will never change and last night he plundered 72 from just 35 balls with four massive 6's. The Heat also appear to be responding to his captaincy, as a previously mediocre franchise have started BBL6 with 3 straight wins.
Lynn Can Shine In All Formats
For the second year in a row, Chris Lynn is making the BBL his own personal playground as he savages seemingly hapless attacks. Backing up his match winning 84 not out against the Thunder, Lynn plundered an identical score when he launched seven towering 6's, including one out of the ground and into the stratosphere, against a bewildered Shaun Tait. The 6 was officially measure as 121 metres and might just be the biggest in BBL history. In the preview I said Lynn is ideally suited to the Gabba, with its short straight boundaries and true bounce, meaning he can often turn it into his own driving range. We all know Lynn is a star in T20 cricket, however I think a player of his talent needs to start making a name for himself in long form cricket. He has had some untimely injuries, meaning he has not played red ball cricket for 12 months. However, his First Class batting average of 44 from 40 games shows he is far from a mug and much more than your typical T20 basher. Those sort of numbers suggest Lynn is capable of playing Test cricket and, at 26 years of age, the best batting years of his career should be ahead of him.
Lurker Now at 90%
The Lurker has had to sweat through a couple of tense victories, however it wasn't the case last night as the Heat were in control from the starting gun. The Lurker was seen holding up traffic at a busy intersection as he broke out in a quiet jig on his way to the Ashfield RSL to collect his winnings early. Can he end 2016 with a bang in the New Year's Eve showdown as the Sixers head to Adelaide to take on a desperate Strikers outfit?