Sams the man! Unlikely hero inspires insane Thunder win after ‘pathetic’ Heat bowling effort
Chasing 179 for victory, the Thunder appeared destined for an embarrassing loss, slumping to 2-1 then 3-22 during the third over.
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But incredible late hitting from Sams and Ben Cutting, as well as a well-timed mid-innings partnership between Alex Ross and Baxter Holt, ensured the Thunder scraped home to beat Brisbane by four wickets with seven balls to spare.
Sams bashed an incredible 65 not out off just 25 balls, including three fours and a whopping seven sixes. The right-handed batsmen sealed victory with three consecutive sixes off Brisbane’s Ben Laughlin, who finished with 0-56 from 3.5 overs.
“This has been absolutely pathetic bowling. Pathetic planning and pathetic bowling,” Ponting said of the Heat’s performance with the ball on Channel 7.
"Absolutely PATHETIC bowling"1:22
“He (Sams) is 59 not out off 24 balls and would he have 10 runs on the off-side? They’ve bowled exactly where he wants them.”
The innings was Sams’ maiden T20 half-century.
“That was great hitting under pressure,” former Australian batsman Mark Waugh told Fox Cricket. “We know he can hit the ball, but he doesn’t normally bat that long.
“He won’t bat any better than that in his career.”
On Lauglin’s performance, champion Aussie paceman Brett Lee told Fox Cricket: ““He had an off night, Benny Laughlin. He’s normally a wonderful bowler that gets a lot of wickets, but missed his length tonight.”
Earlier, the Heat won the bat flip and opted to bat. Captain Chris Lynn shrugged off COVID-19 drama to claim a record-breaking 69 off 44 as Brisbane finished its innings 6-178.
The Heat got off a blazing start to finish their first four overs 1-42 – the highest Powerplay score of the tournament so far – after Sam Heazlett was dismissed for 20 off 12.
Lynn – himself embroiled in an alleged COVID-19 bubble breach saga – set about building a big score before surprisingly opting to take the Power Surge after the 11th over with the side on 2-88 and Lynn on 27 from 22.
They scored 11 from the first over, with Lynn bagging his 149th six in the competition. Then he went one better in the second over of the Power Surge, scoring two sixes in a row and bagging another four en route to 16 off the over.
150 sixes... and counting!1:29
That took Lynn to his half-ton off 32 balls, his 19th BBL 50 in 79 games.
Lynn was caught on the boundary rope at mid-wicket in the 19th over, leaving the field with 69 off 44 balls.
Lynn finished the innings with 152 sixes in his BBL career, an incredible record given the next best six hitters are Aaron Finch on 84, Glenn Maxwell on 83 and D’Arcy Short on 75.
He was well supported by Australia A star Jack Wildermuth who blasted 31 from 11 in the last few overs as the Heat ended with 6/178.
Wildermuth opened the bowling for the Heat and took just two balls to skittle Alex Hales’ stumps – knocking over the opener for a golden duck. Later that over he bagged captain Callum Ferguson for a duck, finishing his six deliveries with the score 2/1. He continued his stellar form with another wicket in his second over, nabbing Australia star Usman Khawaja for 17 off just 9.
Wildermuth SEED rattles stump0:34
He could have had a fourth when Holt nicked an edge just wide of the keeper in his third over, but finished his four overs (all at the outset of the innings) with figures of 3/23.
The superb effort from Wildermuth follows his 3/13 off eight overs against India A and a century with the bat.
Then Holt and Ross combined for a much-needed 49-run stand for the fourth wicket before Sams and Cutting saw the Thunder home.
There was plenty of drama in the build-up after two Brisbane stars – captain Chris Lynn and England import Dan Lawrence – were revealed to be under Cricket Australia investigation for a possible COVID-19 bubble breach.
A CA statement said the pair would “be required to maintain a physical distance from other players and match officials” in tonight’s game.
This bubble just doesn't work0:54
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Brisbane Heat XI: Max Bryant, Sam Heazlett, Chris Lynn (C), Dan Lawrence, Tom Cooper, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Jack Wildermuth, Mark Steketee, Matt Kuhnemann, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Ben Laughlin
X-factor subs: Simon Milenko, Xavier Bartlett
Sydney Thunder XI: Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson (C), Alex Ross, Baxter Holt (wk), Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Nathan McAndrew, Jonathan Cook, Tanveer Sangha
X-factor subs: Arjun Nair, Chris Tremain
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