Two aspiring members of Brisbane's Bash Brothers fraternity, Joe Burns
and Alex Ross
, got the Heat across the line in a thrilling run-chase against the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba.
The Heat were set 151 to win under Duckworth-Lewis rules off 17 overs after a rain delay early in the Thunder's innings. That equation reduced to 40 off 23 balls when Ross joined Burns. Ross scored an incredible 25 not out from nine balls while Burns finished with 45 not out from 35 to steer the side home. Ross struck the winning runs via a dropped catch on the fence from substitute fielder Aiden Blizzard with one ball to spare.
Thunder captain Shane Watson
had done everything right with bat, ball and in the field to give the Thunder a chance. He scored 56 from 34, took the key wicket of Chris Lynn and held a clutch catch off Ben Cutting but it wasn't enough.
The Thunder's powerplays have been unproductive throughout the tournament so far. They might only lost one wicket in each of their previous two games, but have only scored at a run-a-ball. The same thing happened in the first four overs before the rain delay. Jos Buttler and Kurtis Patterson struggled to find their timing, scoring just two boundaries between them in 24 balls. Patterson holed out from the 25th ball of the innings, the last one before the rain delay, with the score at 1 for 23.
Watson changed the game the moment he walked out after the rain delay, just as he did in the Thunder's first win over Sydney Sixers. He pounced on two loose balls from Lalor to get off the mark with back-to-back boundaries. He launched into Mitch Swepson with two monster blows over midwicket in the eighth over. His second fifty of the tournament came off just 25 balls. He was unlucky to be dismissed by Shadab Khan
, falling just a metre short of clearing the long boundary down the ground. The 19-year old legspinner, playing his last game this season
, was the pick of the Heat bowlers again with 2 for 27 from four overs.
Callum Ferguson played a neat cameo scoring 37 from 26 but he did some damage to team-mate Ben Rohrer. A powerfully struck drive injured Rohrer's collarbone at the non-strikers' end and it meant Blizzard had to substitute for him in the field.
The game appeared to hang on one moment. Lynn was flying in his first innings since May. He crunched 25 from nine balls. He reduced Mitchell McClenaghan to a clueless mess just moments after the left-arm quick completely deceived Brendon McCullum with a slower ball. Lynn pounded McClenaghan for two fours and a six and forced three wides in an over. Such are the fine margins of bowling to Lynn. Watson could have turned to spin, given Lynn's strike-rate and average against slow bowling is significantly lower than against medium-pace. But the captain backed himself and struck first ball. Lynn hit a short, slower ball straight down deep midwicket's throat to put the Heat under pressure.
Burns and Ross, Bash Brothers 2.0
The Heat sent Cutting in ahead of Ross to give him time to size up the chase. But he managed just three off five balls. Ross joined Burns needing 10-an-over off the last four. The rate climbed towards the end of each over but Ross relieved the situation with a boundary. At the end of the 14th, it was a fortunate top edge. But in the 15th and 16th, he hit Fawad Ahmed and then McClenaghan into the stands. Andrew Fekete had just nine to play with in the last over. Burns reduced it to three with a huge six over square leg. Had Blizzard held Ross on the square leg boundary the Heat would have needed two off the last ball to win, but the sizzling chance parried off his outstretched hand to the rope to the delight of the home crowd.