Lynn and Badree hand Stars a thrashing
Brisbane Heat 7 for 188 (Lynn 56, Simmons 44) beat Melbourne Stars 9 for 132 ( Gulbis 61*, Badree 5-22) by 56 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
What is more impressive? Five sixes in five balls, or five wickets in 16 balls?
The Brisbane Heat had seemed out of Big Bash League finals contention for nearly a week, but at the MCG, the very slightest slither of hope emerged. After scoring 188, had the Heat bowled Melbourne Stars out for 76 or under, and had a number of other results gone their way, they could have still qualified.
In the end, the Heat's win could not even take them off the bottom of the table, but remarkable performances from Chris Lynn and Samuel Badree derailed the Stars' hopes of reaching the final, and all but ended the chance of home advantage in a semi. Even after the Heat were out of contention, they were determined to stick around to cause havoc for the rest.
Having been invited to bat by David Hussey on a wet, windy Melbourne night, the Heat lost Jimmy Pierson - bowled by some skid from Michael Beer - in the opening over. That brought Lynn, the competition's highest run-scorer and six-hitter, to the crease, and he was utterly irrepressible. Lynn has four of the Heat's seven fifties this season, and also four of their five highest scores. No one has stood taller, and no one has struck the ball cleaner than him.
The result of his onslaught - as well as some clever, if less eye-catching hitting from Lendl Simmons - was a Powerplay worth 78, with as many boundaries, 14 (half of which were Lynn's own sixes), as dot balls.
Lynn chose his targets, and his location. With a strong breeze favouring leg-side strokes and having got away by slapping Dan Worrall over his head for a two-bounce four, Lynn set into the same bowler's next over, the innings' fourth. There was the cross-court forehand slap over long-on for six, then a brutal pull over midwicket. The over ended with a perfect cover drive for four.
Worrall was removed from the attack, but Lynn took a one-ball look at his next victim, Ben Hilfenhaus, and let fly. First, Hilfenhaus was sent for the biggest six of the tournament - 123 metres - swiveled over deep square leg. Next came a bottom-handed bunt over deep-midwicket, followed by a full toss flicked behind square. Six, and six more. To mix things up, Lynn even went over the bowler's head with the same result. He finished off with the strangest, and most special six of the lot, going down the ground with his left leg cleared and his arms swinging fast. The ball barely got above waist height, and just crossed the rope in front of the sightscreen.
The replacement of Hilfenhaus with Adam Zampa's legspin ended Lynn's marvellous innings. Looking to hit straight again, but this time needing to find the pace, Lynn was unable to clear Rob Quiney, running round from long-off.
From that point, the Stars fought back well to limit the Heat to 188, though it eventually proved to be too much. After Lynn's fireworks, 110 runs were added in the final 14 overs, with Simmons and Joe Burns quietly accumulating and falling just as they looked ready to free the arms. Nathan Reardon and Ben Cutting then continued to push things along before falling late.
It was the Badree show from then on.
First, Luke Wright played on trying to force to off, then Kevin Pietersen was trapped lbw by a skiddy leg-break. Two balls later, Marcus Stoinis slapped one with loop straight to mid-off and trudged off, disbelieving. In his next over, Badree deceived Peter Handscomb in the flight and had him stumped, before Quiney lobbed the first ball of his competition to mid-on.
Thankfully for Stars, some late larruping from Evan Gulbis kept their net run-rate in the green, but if they fail to win in Perth on Saturday, their finals fate will be out of their hands.