Thunder v Stars, Big Bash League 2013-14, Sydney January 1, 2014

Thunder's losing run hits 16 in LED bails controversy


Melbourne Stars 3 for 156 (Hodge 64*) beat Sydney Thunder 6 for 155 (M Hussey 66) by seven wickets

Brad Hodge and the cricketing gods conspired to ensure that the Sydney Thunder's losing streak extended to 16 matches, while the Melbourne Stars rocketed to the top of the BBL table.

It was a freakish innings from the evergreen Hodge but not as freakish as the non run-out of David Hussey in the crucial 15th over of the Stars' run chase. The incident will bring into question the long-term viability of the novelty zing bails used in the BBL.

Hodge drilled a drive straight back to bowler Tillakaratne Dilshan, who gathered and flicked a throw that hit the stumps solidly at the non-strikers end. The zing bails, complete with LED lights that flash when out of the groove, lit up with Hussey short of his ground, but extraordinarily the bails settled back into the groove and did not fall to the ground. Thus the run-out was null and void.

Ricky Ponting, commentating on television, said he had never seen that happen with traditional bails. David Hussey said after the match that he had never seen it happen before

The ICC approved the use of the zing bails for international cricket in July 2013 and the BBL's official Twitter account stated, "A Zing bail is slightly heavier than standard wooden bail, but lighter than the heavy bails used in windy matches."

The whole momentum of the match hinged on that over, although Hodge had already done significant damage in the balls before it.

The Stars required 64 from 36 balls when Thunder captain Michael Hussey turned to Dilshan. David Hussey pulled the first ball for four before working a single to midwicket. Hodge then launched the next two balls over the midwicket rope before the run-out chance occurred.

In the next over, Hodge thumped another six and two fours off Scott Coyte. The 39-year-old cruised to his 39th T20 half-century off just 30 balls and the Stars cruised to another victory with five balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.

It may have been different had Dirk Nannes been rewarded for his brilliant bowling. The left-arm quick finished with 1 for 15 from four overs but he should have picked up a second scalp that could have changed the course of the chase dramatically.

Matthew Wade nicked the second delivery he faced from Nannes to keeper Ryan Carters. But Wade stood motionless, as did the umpire, even as the Thunder players appealed in vain. Wade went on to make 44 from 40 balls to set up the chase before Hodge finished the job.

The controversies overshadowed another batting master-class from Michael Hussey. The Thunder's captain compiled 66 from 48 balls to help his side to a competitive total of 155 after winning the toss. He was again ably supporter by Eoin Morgan who struck the ball beautifully in his 31. The pair combined for 57, and then some late hitting from youngsters Kurtis Patterson and Jason Floros gave the Thunder real hope of breaking their 739-day winning drought. Thunders last won a BBL game in 2011, and went through the 2012-13 season without a single victory.

There was light rain during the Stars innings but the Thunder's luck was nowhere to be found.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2014, 23:11 GMT

    I am aware of situations where, with the traditional bails, the middle stump has been uprooted and the bails have not been disturbed. Given not out. The varnish on the bails had melted and then set forming a single block across the top of the three stumps (possibly attaching to either the off or leg stump also).

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    I have had/seen this happen before. Bails jumping completely out of place, but landing back in place and hence not out. Dunno what they are complaining about and surprised that Gilly and Punter haven't seen it happen before given how much cricket they would have played/watched in their lives...

  • Robert on January 2, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    Not sure why it brings the zing bails into question - they lit up when out of the groove and then went out again when back in. If anything this episode confirmed their viability.

    Whilst the triumvirate of Gilchrist, Ponting and Warner are never going to get the gig of delivering gifts for the second coming - it did take them a while to work out that flashing bails for not it simply was not out.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    I recall seeing this type of phenomenon occur a few times. its mainly in the run out scenario, or the ball looses momentum once it hits the player then rolls to the stumps where its blatantly out, but the bail hasn't come off....It must have been during a aussie match, and the bail dislodged - came out of the groove but didn't fall off. The zing bails were used in the Virgin t20 in the Caribbean without any controversy, Thunder are just looking for a scape goat

  • Curtis on January 2, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    Dilshan is such an FTB... kinda disappointing that he was supposed to be the import who'd turn the fortunes of the fledging thunder.. hardly.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2014, 7:05 GMT

    I don't barrack for Thunder but having watched the game I find it incredible that one team can have so much bad luck.

  • Reg on January 2, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Taliking of odd memories, there was a case where Danny Morrison beat the edge of Alan Border's bat but nicked the off stump very loudly without diturbing anything. (At the Basin Reserve again I think). A huge appeal from everyone, of course. Alan Border must have assumed he was bowled and immediately headed off to the paviliion, straight down the pitch. The poor chap was at the bowlers end before he realised the woodwork was intact. Not a happy chap! I think he was given out caught behind. Could that be why some people think "walking" is a common Australian trait?

  • $$ milind on January 2, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    Obviously all this can happen even with normal bails. I remember a match between India and New Zealand when Ashish Nehra's delivery kissed the stumps going into the boundary as byes. Accusing the zing bails is nothing but just foolish. Well TM Dishan he has had a terrible day 0 with bat, smashed with the ball, fielding not up to his standards.

  • ESPN on January 2, 2014, 2:18 GMT

    I remember Brett lee bowled a ball during an ashes test in England in 2005 (I think). It bumped leg stump on the way through to the keeper but did not dislodge the bails. He ran down to have a look at the stumps. Bemusing but not out.

  • Adrian on January 1, 2014, 21:55 GMT

    I've seen this happen in a club game many many years ago, and as David said it has happened in NZ, so we are not in uncharted waters here. Just one of those random freakish things that happen time to time.

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