Christian five sets up Heat win
Brisbane Heat 5 for 127 (Lynn 51*, Tremain 2-27) beat Sydney Thunder 126 (Gayle 28, Christian 5-26) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Brisbane Heat have kept their finals hopes alive with a convincing win over the hapless Sydney Thunder.
Yet again it was Thunder's batting that failed them. The injection of Matt Prior and Usman Khawaja into the line-up did little to help their cause as Daniel Christian, who had been wicketless throughout the first four games of the tournament, took 5 for 26 to help bowl the Sydney side out for just 126.
The drop-in pitch at ANZ Stadium also played its part. Chris Rogers won the toss but his side found it exceptionally hard to score. Chris Gayle could not break out of his slump. He was just 5 from 14 balls at one stage before finally breaking the shackles when he slugged his West Indies teammate Kemar Roach into the stands.
Prior, understandably, struggled to give Gayle any support. Having arrived from a Test series in India he battled to adjust to the conditions. Both men fell to soft shots in the tenth over, Christian's first of the innings. Gayle guided a long hop straight to point. Prior failed to clear mid-off in a desperate search for a boundary.
Thunder were 3 for 60 at the halfway stage when they decided to turn on themselves.
Sean Abbott fell to a clever slower ball from James Hopes. But Ryan Carters and Khawaja were both run out in terrible fashion. Carters and Khawaja ended up at the same end, Khawaja put his head down for an achievable two and ignored Carters call.
Khawaja, having made his ground safely on that occasion, was caught short two overs later when Hopes produced a direct hit in his follow-through as Simon Keen called for an ambitious leg bye.
Christian then cleaned up the tail to finish with a somewhat innocuous five-wicket haul.
The chase was never a fait accompli. Luke Pomersbach struck the ball beautifully at the top of the order for Heat but a steady flow of wickets kept things interesting. Dirk Nannes continued his outstanding form nicking out Hopes and Joe Burns in a double wicket maiden with the score anchored at 26. Prior's low catch of Hopes at slip did have an element of doubt to it.
But it did not stop Pomersbach or Christian from cracking five boundaries in the next two overs. But neither man lasted much longer and Heat slumped to 4 for 57 to give Thunder hope.
Chris Lynn entered to snuff out any belief the home side might have had. It was not the controlled innings one might have expected given the situation stipulated less than a run-a-ball. Rather than work the ball into gaps Lynn hit them over the fence. He struck four sixes, all of them to the short straight boundary, and three off the leg-spin of Adam Zampa. The young spinner could have claimed Lynn, deceiving him in flight but Carters missed a tough stumping chance.
From there the result was never in doubt. Lynn finished with 51 not out from just 38 deliveries to steer his side home with 20 balls to spare.
Thunder are now simply playing for pride when they meet cross-town rivals Sixers on Sunday night. Heat have to wait for the New Year to arrive before they host Stars at the Gabba.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth