The score: Sydney Thunder 4-149 (Watson 56) lost to Brisbane Heat 4-153 (Burns 45no, Peirson 43) by six wickets (DLS method) with one ball remaining.
Match in a tweet: EXCELLENT! Mr Burns and ‘Ross the Boss’ pull off remarkable run chase as Lynnsanity returned to the BBL
The hero: While his application to become a member of the Bash Brothers is not looking ideal, Joe Burns’ case to join Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum improved significantly with a match-winning 45 not out from 35 balls. While his knock featured just the one six it came at perhaps the most important time in the final over to take the equation from nine off five to three off four. His partner in crime, Alex Ross, iced the match with a ball to spare.
The cameo: Ross hit two fours and two sixes in his nine-ball innings with each boundary proving more pivotal. The first three lusty blows – 4, 6, 6 – came from the final ball of the 14th, 15th and 16th overs, while his last four won his side the match and himself the player-of-the-match honours.
The support cast: Jimmy Peirson was the backbone of the Heat’s innings with 43 from 39. Opening alongside Brendon McCullum and then batting with Lynn, Peirson just had to rotate the strike to get the master blasters facing up. But when they each departed, it was up to the wicketkeeper-batter to take over. He stalled around the 30-ball mark but then hit his stride with back-to-back fours off spinner Arjun Nair and then a towering six off leggie Fawad Ahmed. But just as he looked to have taken the match by the scruff of the neck he holed out to Chris Green in the deep.
The consolation knock: Watson looked all class from the moment he strode out to the middle of a damp Gabba. He started with consecutive boundaries off left-armer Josh Lalor on either side of the wicket before he took down spin twins Shadab Khan and Mitchell Swepson. His 50 came from 25 balls but was out just six runs later launching Khan to Joe Burns at long-off. Watson now has 145 runs for BBL|07 to be the competition’s leading run-scorer.
The return: With arguably more hype surrounding the comeback of Chris Lynn than the Mayweather-McGregor boxing bout, the player in question thankfully lived up to the buildup unlike the pugilistic spectacle. He cracked his first ball for four through cover. He sent his third ball 15 rows back over mid-wicket. The over ended with four over cover. Lynn was back! But just as the fun started, Watson brought himself into the attack and Lynn picked out Green on the wide long-on rope. It wasn’t quite a knock out innings but the early signs of Lynn looked terrific.
The friendly fire: Seeking boundaries in the final over, Callum Ferguson drilled a Lalor delivery flat and hard straight down the ground and into Ben Rohrer at the non-striker’s end. Rohrer was hit just above the collar bone and took no further part in the game. To his credit and bravery, not only did he make his ground when he was struck he batted on!
The rain delay: The heavens opened after the first ball of the fifth over and caused a delay of about 25 minutes, which resulted in the match being shorted to 17 overs per side. The powerplays were reduced to five overs, with two bowlers permitted to bowl four overs and three bowlers three overs each.
The stat: We’re not sure how official this is – actually we do, it’s is completely unofficial – but Aussie great Andrew Symonds devised his own fielding analytics on the fly in the commentary box. It measures runs saved and missed in the field. Apparently the first innings score was +1 to the Heat, but we’re not really sure.
The Fantasy wrap: Watson was the star in real life and his performance translated into bulk points in BBL Fantasy land. The allrounder scored 112 points, easily the best in the match, ahead of Burns’s 65.
The next stops: Sydney are the next to hit the field in Launceston, Tasmania, on December 30 against Hobart. The Heat play the next day against the Strikers in Adelaide in front of an expected bumper crowd on New Year’s Eve.