After a stunning demolition of the Melbourne Stars by the Brisbane Heat, the Thunder are now outsiders to make the BBL finals.
Brisbane’s record tally means the Thunder need to win by at least 60 runs or within 12 overs against the ladder-leading Hobart Hurricanes to leapfrog the Heat, with the Stars still to play tomorrow.
Play is scheduled to start at 6.15pm.
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Fourth strike the charm for Thunder
Matthew Wade rode his luck to 45 off 29 balls but fell to Aussie spearhead Pat Cummins.
Wade had been dropped three times in his brief innings but a glance off the face of the bat went through to Thunder keeper Matthew Gilkes.
Rain blows past Manuka
The Thunder’s last gasp hope to snatch a BBL finals spot is hanging by a thread with weather hanging around Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Just 4.4 overs were allowed before the heavens opened up and reduced the game by an over.
The Thunder were almost off to the perfect start with Matthew Wade being dropped by Fawad Ahmed — twice.
Luckily Pat Cummins could take it out of his teammates hands, cleaning up D’Arcy Short for seven.
It wasn’t a long break but enough to make it a 19 over a side match.
Heat’s astonishing slog sparks fear
Ben Cutting hit the second fastest BBL half century in history yesterday to help the Heat into the finals frame.
Pushing into fourth, their main competition, the Thunder and the Stars, final games are against the Hurricanes and Sixers respectively, the top two teams in the comp.
The Thunder need a huge win and while the Stars just need a victory.
Cutting’s 50 came off 17 balls and Max Bryant launched his 50 off 20 balls, dispatching 13 sixes between them to make easy work of the Melbourne Stars’ 8-156 in just 60 balls.
It improved their net run-rate from -0.100 to 0.249 and the Bash Brothers — Chris Lynn and Brendan McCullum didn’t even get a look in.
It’s a scary prospect for any team coming up against them in the BBL finals.
Asked if teams will be fearful of the Heat sneaking into the finals, Cutting said: “I hope so.
“We were due to come off. Teams have been believing that every time we’ve played them.
“Hopefully with a bit of momentum now, if we do get to play again, teams are scared.”
Cutting said he was a little disappointed he hit them so well, meaning McCullum, who has announced his retirement from BBL cricket at the end of the Heat’s season, didn’t get to farewell his home crowd with the bat.
“I’m a little bit disappointed for ‘Baz’ (McCullum) not being able to get out there in front of his home crowd for the last time,” said Cutting. “But hopefully there’s one or two more games to play.
“To be involved in something like that with Max tonight was pretty special.
“Particularly because of the way we need to finish off our season, it puts us in a better seat – hopefully the Stars lose Sunday and we might sneak through (to the finals).”
However, McCullum could look to come back as a coach with Daniel Vettori announcing he wouldn’t seek a contract renewal from the BBL franchise.