It seemed like it would be a straightforward victory for Brisbane Heat after the Powerplay, but Sydney Thunder’s middle-order stepped up to the plate and put on a memorable performance to ensure their team not just won the match, but did so handsomely with seven balls to spare. Daniel Sams scored his maiden T20 fifty – finishing unbeaten on 65 off 25 deliveries and was well supported by Ben Cutting (29) with whom he put on 69 for the sixth wicket in quick time that put Thunder back in contention.
Daniel Sams' Wagon Wheel
But it was not all hunky-dory for them.
Needing 179 to win, Thunder got off to the worst possible start as Jack Wildermuth – fresh from a century against India in the warm-up match reduced Sydney to 22 for 3 in the third over, following his 11-ball 31 with the bat. With the top three back in the pavilion with just 17 runs between them, the middle-order was put to the test. Alex Ross (34) and Baxter Holt (23) steadied the ship after those flurry of wickets but could not take it deep, meaning Thunder had lost half their side for just 80, with almost 50 per cent of the innings still left. Heat were off the mark with a point as they were ahead after 10 overs, but three more were still at stake.
Cutting and Sams then made full use of the Power Surge overs, in which they scored 27 without losing a wicket to get some momentum in the innings. From then on, Thunder needed 50 more runs off the last five overs, which was quite gettable, especially with two set batsmen at the crease.
With 16 balls left, Cutting was cleaned up by Mark Steketee, which tilted the game back in favour of Heat, only momentarily though. Sams then took charge with 24 more need from the last two overs.
With the most successful bowler ever in BBL Ben Laughlin bowling the penultimate over, it seemed like it was going to be big ask. But when he started off with a waist-high full toss, which was dispatched out of the boundary, one could sense that it was once again not going to be Heat’s day. 6+NB, 0, 0, 6, 6, 6 followed and that was the end of the match! Sams brought up his fifty off just 23 deliveries to go with his two wickets with the ball and was rightly named the player of the match.
NOTE: Thunder chased down the target in 18.5 overs
Earlier, a brilliant 44-ball 69 and a whirlwind innings from Wildermuth gave Heat a fighting chance after they put on 178 for 6 from their 20 overs. It was in fact the 51-run partnership between Lynn and Dan Lawrence (20) that had given Heat the platform to get a competitive total.
Heat went on to score 52 runs from the final five overs to give themselves a brilliant chance of registering their first win of the competition, but they were eventually undone by some powerful hitting from Sams.
Brisbane Heat 178 for 6 in 20 overs (Chris Lynn 69, Jack Wildermuth 31; Jonathan Cook 2 for 31) lost to Sydney Thunder 180 for 6 in 18.5 overs (Daniel Sams 65*, Jack Wildermuth 3 for 23) by 4 wickets.
Player of the match: Daniel Sams