Heat advance as Sydney weather strikes BBL eliminator
BRISBANE Heat’s Australian Test stars have helped set up a rain-affected eight-run win over the Sydney Thunder on Friday night. In what ended up being an anticlimactic start to the BBL|12 finals series, the travelling side advanced to Sunday’s Knockout fixture via DLS Method at Sydney Showground Stadium.
A classy knock from finals specialist Usman Khawaja (94 off 55) in partnership with national teammate Marnus Labuschagne (73 off 48) saw the Heat accelerate to a venue-best score of 5-203, having been sent in to bat by the Thunder. It as Khawaja’s first half-century in this year’s tournament, and Labuschagne’s first time passing 50 in his BBL career.
The pair put on 128 runs for the second wicket, shifting the momentum of the innings after halfway. At one point, the Heat went nearly 40 balls without a boundary and fell six runs short of their 70-run goal at the 10-over mark, but took off thereafter to set up a formidable total.
Khawaja moved around the crease smoothly and hit the Thunder bowlers to all parts of the ground, but came undone by former teammate Ben Cutting‘s wide yorker plan. To the home side’s dismay, that only brought Matt Renshaw to the middle, who creamed Usman Qadir for three sixes en route to a brutal cameo of 24 off eight deliveries.
Though the Heat batted out their 20 overs, only 6.5 were bowled in the Thunder’s innings. Matthew Gilkes (3) threw away his wicket early, but David Warner looked in good touch for his unbeaten 36, and was forming a partnership with skipper Jason Sangha (9*) before the rain arrived.
The game looked like getting back underway late in the night with nine-over parameters set up. Brisbane would need to bowl 2.1 overs, defending 38 runs without the loss of a wicket to win. Though, rain again began to pour as players prepared to reenter the field of play, seeing the Thunder finish eight runs behind the par score.
Next on the agenda for Brisbane are the Melbourne Renegades, who finished third and earned the right to host Sunday’s Knockout fixture at Marvel Stadium. The Heat’s Test batters – Khawaja, Labuschagne, and Renshaw – were said to be available for both the eliminator and knockout bouts on the eve of finals, though that is now less certain.
Fellow Test squad member Mitch Swepson will not play in Sunday’s game against the Melbourne Renegades.
RESULT: Brisbane Heat (5-203) def. Sydney Thunder (1-52) by 8 runs (DLS)
POTM: Usman Khawaja (Brisbane Heat)
TOSS: Sydney Thunder won the toss and elected to bowl.
David Warner 36* (30), Jason Sangha 9* (13), Matthew Gilkes 3 (8)
Chris Green 2-29, Daniel Sams 1-44, Ben Cutting 1-17 (2)
Usman Khawaja 94 (55), Marnus Labuschagne 73 (48), Matt Renshaw 24 (8)
James Bazley 1-3 (1), Mitch Swepson 0-5 (1), Michael Neser 0-9 (1.5)