Sydney Thunder 4 for 186 (Watson 100, Devcich 26, Cutting 2-41) v Brisbane Heat 2 for 10
Sydney Thunder had not beaten Brisbane Heat in their last four matches, the Heat were yet to win at home this season, and the BBL had been parched for an individual hundred. Curiously, the one least likely to change did, as Shane Watson blasted his third T20 hundred in the last 12 months to catapult his team to 186, before Chris Jordan and Gurninder Sandhu snuffed fight out of the chase with the early wickets of Brendon McCullum, out for a maiden BBL duck, and Chris Lynn. However, a bizarre floodlight failure that occurred at the end of the third over of the Heat chase led to the match being called off and the points shared, much to the chagrin of the visitors who looked set to register their fifth win of the season.
Hundred just a number for ageless Watson
Unlike the hundred in the IPL final where he took time to find his groove, here, Watson started in top gear. It started with two sixes off Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, who erred in length and Watson rocked back and pulled him flat over deep midwicket, a shot that proved a loyal ally throughout his innings. Next ball, Mujeeb erred in line, drifting down leg, with the fine-leg up, Watson just helped him over, with a surprising amount of power behind the stroke.
Watson had recently spoken about working on a few things as his BBL got off to a lukewarm start, clarified by coach Shane Bond as the position of his head and hands, and the work put in was on view as Watson struck the ball cleanly from a stable base, without once leaving his crease. The spinners Mujeeb and Mitchell Swepson suffered as he took 47 off the duo of 26 balls, and all his six sixes came off the pair. It was Mujeeb who eventually had him caught at long-off immediately after reaching a 61-ball century but he'd caused enough carnage by then.
Watson was still 67 runs away from being this BBL's first centurion when he was put down off the dubutant Jack Prestwidge's bowling. It was a slower ball, both short and wide, but Watson's flashing blade did not get all of it and he ended up spooning it to the right of cover point, without much timing. The diving fielder got both hands to it and for a moment it looked like he'd taken it but as is customary with such catches, it popped out of his hands when the elbows made contact with the ground.
Devcich steps up in Buttler's absence
Jos Buttler had been Thunder's best batsman this season but Anton Devcich has proved to be an able replacement. His inclusion has coincided with Watson finding form and the duo have laid a solid foundation for their side in the two matches that they have opened. Against Adelaide Strikers they added 37 in 21 balls, with Devcich playing lead in the partnership. The roles switched this match but the result was equally effective as they added 58 from 40 with Devcich contributing a 24-ball 26.