Lynn 75 off 32 powers Heat to their first win
Brisbane Heat 4 for 189 (Lynn 75, Peirson 40) beat Sydney Thunder 5 for 186 (Hussey 56, Watson 46) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Finally, four games too late, Brisbane Heat are underway, and their Big Bash League campaign is still alive. This time, they were not completely reliant on Chris Lynn, but of course he was the star, marshalling a remarkable chase with 75 from 32 balls as the Sydney Thunder failed to defend 186 in driving - perhaps to the point of being hazardous - rain.
Throughout the Heat's enthralling innings, the eyes of the batsmen flicked from the DLS calculations sheet, to the umpires, then finally to their own footing, with both Lynn and Nathan Reardon slipping at the crease. Life was tougher for the Thunder bowlers, whose interest lay with the front line (no amount of sawdust could ever be adequate in these conditions) and the ball, which was changed three times and was impossible to keep dry, like their own hands. The umpires, admirably putting the 27,507 spectators first, resisted the temptation to take the players off the field. They were rewarded with another blockbuster finish.
Lynn, for once, came to the crease after a platform had been laid by Lendl Simmons and Jimmy Peirson. Michael Hussey - even shorn of the bowling of Jacques Kallis, who had earlier injured his back running between the wickets - had been confident enough to post a short leg, but the field had soon enough spread as Peirson timed pulls crisply, while Simmons sent Clint McKay handsomely over long-off for six. After the first five overs, the Heat were 0 for 45.
The introduction of Fawad Ahmed's spin put the brakes on slightly - impressive, given the troubles gripping the ball - and Simmons fell to Shane Watson's first ball, opening the face and ramping straight to third man. Two overs later, Peirson was stumped off offspinner Chris Green, trying to accelerate, for a 36-ball 40.
Never mind, leave that to Lynn. Fawad was drilled for six over long-on, before Watson's return - when the Heat needed almost 13 an over - was brutally targeted. A full toss was sent to the midwicket fence and was followed by a cover-driven four and a brutally-pulled six.
After Andre Russell had Reardon caught at short fine leg, the game was won with an outrageous assault from Lynn on Gurinder Sandhu's return. The seamer was sent into the stands at midwicket, then long-on, before a top-edge earned four, and a six - the biggest of the lot - went into the top tier behind square. The over's penultimate ball was skied but slipped through Kurtis Patterson's hands at deep midwicket. The damage had been done, but Lynn still found time to flay Sandhu's next over for 18 more.
Australia name their limited-overs squads to face India (not to mention the World T20) in the coming days; Lynn and Sandhu, whose one wicket has cost 162 runs this tournament, are both hot property, but this face-off illustrated how wildly their fortunes have diverged this season. Lynn, surely, with his third straight score of 75 or more, is impossible for the selectors to ignore; he is concurrently top-order bat and finisher, and has hit more runs and more sixes than anyone else this tournament. Here, he fell in the penultimate over to a marvellous catch at long-on from Green, but Ben Cutting, who had been a canny ally at the death, saw them home comfortably.
Earlier, the Thunder had recovered from a slow start thanks to fine innings from Watson and Hussey, as well as a cameo from Russell, to post a challenging total. Samuel Badree had Aiden Blizzard in all sorts of trouble and, in a sign that perhaps the Heat's fortunes were changing, Josh Lalor finally got a wicket - Kallis no less - in his 13th over of the competition.
Watson and Hussey came together to share an enterprising stand of 97 runs. Some lax running from the veterans did not matter; Watson hit five different bowlers for massive leg-side sixes, while Hussey took longer to get going, but eventually flicked James Hopes over square leg for a six of his own. Watson slapped Hopes to the sweeper cover, then Hussey fell with two overs remaining, allowing Russell to mass 20 off nine, including a huge top-edged six off Mark Steketee. He was run-out in the end, probably realising Thunder needed a few more. And so, thanks to Lynn, it proved.