Hobart Hurricanes 4 for 179 (Short 122*, McDermott 19, Cutting 2-27) beat Brisbane Heat 8 for 176 (Heazlett 45, McCullum 33, Boyce 2-23) by three runs
D'Arcy Short made the highest score in BBL history and took 1 for 20 from four overs, yet it was only just enough for Hobart Hurricanes to squeeze past the Brisbane Heat by three runs.
Short was magnificent. His 122 not out from just 69 balls featured eight sixes and eight fours. It accounted for 68% of the Hurricanes' total, with no other player reaching 20.
Sam Heazlett and Brendon McCullum lit up the Powerplay in the run chase before Short and Cameron Boyce changed the game with eight overs of quality wristspin. Alex Ross began to dig his team out but was given out obstructing the field in bizarre circumstances trying to avoid being run-out.
It left Jimmy Peirson, Mark Steketee and Brendon Doggett to get 48 from 18 balls and they nearly did it. Doggett needed four off the last ball but Daniel Christian held his nerve to finish a well-executed final over.
The Hurricanes won their four game in a row to match the Heat on four wins overall.
Spin works, pace doesn't
For as well as Short has played during the tournament, opposition teams know they can contain him with spin, particularly in the Powerplay. The Heat did that in three of the six overs. Joe Burns and Yasir Shah delivered 18 balls for just 17 runs and conceded only one boundary. The problem came in the other three. Short struck four fours and two sixes from the 13 balls he faced from Steketee and Doggett to get the Hurricanes off to a flyer at 1 for 56 after six.
One man show
Short's still head is the key to his pure ball-striking. This was his third 90-plus score but this time he had no help from the other end. Alex Doolan, Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott and George Bailey scored just 48 runs from 51 balls between them. Short did give one chance on 60. A towering top edge to midwicket burst through the hands of Joe Burns. The Heat paid a mighty price. Short hit Doggett into the stands to bring up his maiden T20 century in the 19th over. In the 20th, he hit Steketee for three consecutive sixes to set a new record in the BBL, surpassing Luke Wright's 117 in the first edition of BBL.
Tymal Mills has been one of the most expensive bowlers in the tournament to date and his opening two overs in the Powerplay did nothing to help those figures. Heazlett and McCullum had already made a rapid start, after Bailey gambled again with Simon Milenko in the opening over at a cost of 16.
Mills' nightmare began without ball in hand. He dropped McCullum at short fine leg off the last ball of the third over. He was immediately introduced to the bowling crease, and McCullum thumped him twice to the boundary. He gave up two more boundaries in the last over of the Powerplay. Heazlett's striking was audacious in the absence of Chris Lynn. He and McCullum took 62 from the first six overs to get ahead of the required rate.
Boyce and Short changed the game. They took 3 for 34 in six straight overs of wristspin. Boyce induced a false stroke from McCullum in the seventh over, with Bailey holding a similar chance to the one Burns put down. Short dropped an easy caught and bowled chance off Burns. But he did not concede a boundary in his first two overs and Burns holed out to Boyce as a result. Short was rewarded with the wicket of Heazlett, who also became frustrated by a lack of boundaries.
When Short completed his fourth over, the Heat needed 74 from 36 balls. Ben Cutting and Alex Ross were still at the crease. Jofra Archer then took the air out of the stadium with a stunning one-handed return catch. A slower ball reached the middle of Cutting's bat at 120kph, and rocketed back at Archer quicker than that. Archer calmly stuck his right hand up above his head and, like a magic trick, the ball disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Obstructing the field
The moment of magic gave way to a moment of madness. Ross kept pushing. He struck two boundaries off Mills to get the equation to 49 from 19 balls. Then he hit a ball to deep midwicket and pushed for two. The fielder fired wide of the stumps at the strikers end and hit Ross as he was sliding to make his ground. The ball actually ricocheted off Ross onto the stumps. The Hurricanes appealed thinking he might have been short. He made it, but replays showed he had veered off his line. If anything, he appeared to veer away from the ball to avoid being hit rather than intentionally into the line of the ball to block the throw.
The third umpire adjudicated differently and Ross was given out. Post-match, the two captains held a long and terse discussion regarding the dismissal. Bailey said he simply asked the question and the umpires made the call. The Heat still needed 48 off 18. Steketee and Peirson gave it an almighty shake. Three sixes and three fours in 12 balls meant the Heat needed 13 from the last over. Christian had not batted or bowled in the match but was called upon to ice the game. Despite a wide first ball, he achieved the task with a mix of quicker and slower ball yorkers that neither Peirson or Doggett could middle.