4th over: Heat 25-2 (Heazlett 0, Labuschagne 13)
Milne is back after a great first over, from the other end this time. A bit of drama on the first ball as overthrows send the batters looking for a third run, but Milne and Heazlett collide to put an end to that idea. A little edge from Marnus almost carries to Sangha, but gets through him for a lucky four. That gives him some confidence and he plays a nice back foot shot for a more conventional four the next ball. While Marnus remains at the crease, the Heat look to be in the driver’s seat. The final ball of the power play is a dot and it’s fairly tight one from the Thunder bowling attack.
3rd over: Heat 15-2 (Heazlett 0, Labuschagne 3)
Doggett gets his opportunity now, after a handy little cameo with the bat at the end in support of Ben Cutting. Lynn’s had enough of sitting on 0 and pulls the trigger for a six off the first ball of Doggett’s over. To his credit, Doggett tidies it up on the next ball and slides it in between bat and pad to the keeper. But Lynn won’t be stopped and cuts the next one past deep point for four. But Doggett isn’t fazed and forces Lynn to sky the ball straight to Hales on the next delivery and the danger man for the Heat is gone. He finishes with a dot and a single for a nice over.
WICKET! Lynn b Doggett c Hales 10 (Heat 14-2)
After smacking a few quick runs, Lynn mistimes one off Doggett and skies it straight to Hales. The Heat are looking a little nervous here.
2nd over: Heat 4-1 (Lynn 0, Labuschagne 2)
Sams comes in now, returning from injury and hoping to do a bit better with his bowling than he did with his batting. He starts it nicely with a length ball for a dot, followed by another dot and then a sensational wicket. The Marnus Labuschagne theme music starts up again and Marnus grabs a couple of quick runs to get off the mark and avoid a maiden in the power play but can’t score off the last ball of the over.
WICKET! Denly b Sams 0 (Heat 2-1)
Sams absolutely crushes it on his return, with a beautiful ball to beat Denly and knock over leg stump.
1st over: Heat 2-0 (Lynn 0, Denly 0)
Adam Milne looks to make up for his diamond duck disappointment by opening the bowling and gets a nice dot ball to start the over, Thunder will want plenty of those. He gets a second one next ball, but it won’t be panic stations for the Heat yet, they’ll feel confident chasing this fairly low total. A wide off the next ball opens up some more opportunities for the Heat and brings Lynn on to strike as Billings can’t quite stop the ball getting away. Milne bowls a beautiful slower ball to bamboozle Lynn and then a nice inswinging yorker. Lynn defends away the next ball and Milne finishes with a bouncer and another dot.
Sydney Thunder 158-8
Certainly not the Thunder’s best batting innings as they struggled to really tee off and get any big partnerships going. Cutting proved his worth at the end and got them to a vaguely defendable total, but they will need to bowl exceptionally well and look to knock over the big hitting Lynn and Labuschagne early if they’re to be in with a chance and keep the dream of an all-Sydney final at the SCG alive.
20th over: Thunder 158-8 (Cutting 34, Doggett 10)
Morkel comes back for the final over with Thunder desperate to score some big runs. The big hitting Cutting is on strike to start and he hits it hard down the ground to start and could have got a single, but he’s not interested in getting off strike here. He then gives us his best Laura Geitz impression to really turn up the dramatics and get a wide call off the second ball, throwing his body around to watch it sail past him to the keeper. A yorker gone wrong gifts Cutting a full toss that he happily smacks for six. Morkel changes it up next ball and drags it back with a dot with a big swing and miss from Cutting. A nice wider ball next provides another dot and Cutting starts to look a little frustrated. But not for long, as he pulls a hard, flat six off the very next ball. Morkel nails the yorker on the last ball and Cutting can only take a single from it.
19th over: Thunder 144-8 (Cutting 22, Doggett 10)
It’s surge time! One thing I think CA could have worked a lot harder at is coming up with a far sillier umpire signal for the power surge, they really let an opportunity go begging there. A wicket off the first ball of the over and then a close call for LBW, followed by a run out has all kinds of drama happening here. Doggett comes in and smacks a four first ball off a full toss and then gets away with one that goes high but lands safely. He follows that up with a ramp for a one bounce four to get Cutting on strike to start the final over.
WICKET! Milne run out Steketee 0 (Thunder 134-8)
A diamond duck for poor old Milne to complete a team hat trick for the Heat – Cutting ran when he really shouldn’t have.
WICKET! Green c Burns b Steketee 2 (Thunder 134-7)
Green has to get off strike, so he does his best, but it’s straight to Joe Burns and Steketee is now on a hat trick.
18th over: Thunder 134-6 (Cutting 22, Green 2)
Here comes Morkel for his third over, no power surge yet, so they’ll be the last two overs it seems. Cutting takes him on right away, but can’t get it past the fielder and has to settle for one. Green does his job and guides a little single to short extra cover to turn the strike over. A wide from the third ball and then Cutting gets impatient and sends a ball flying over the roof and towards Mount Ainslie and a replacement ball needs to be brought in. Morkel again drags it back with a dot the next two balls. Cutting steps away and times the ball well off the last ball, taking two before the start of the power surge.
17th over: Thunder 123-6 (Cutting 13, Green 1)
Marnus is back for his final over, with spin proving a big winner for the Heat tonight. It’s all on Cutting’s shoulders now with Green looking to provide some strong support for him. Cutting takes on the bowler midway through the over and guides it past cover for a much-needed four. He follows it up with a big six over long on, which is again dropped in the crowd, Canberrans aren’t big on catching it seems. Marnus reels it back in with a dot ball and Cutting finishes with a single.
16th over: Thunder 110-6 (Cutting 1, Green 0)
Swepson back into the attack now with the Thunder left wondering when to take their power surge, it probably would have been this over had Billings remained at the crease. Sams starts with a single and Ross still doesn’t look like he’s in a hurry to get going despite the urgency of the situation. The dangerous Sams is gone early and Ross will have to push on, with Cutting providing support. But Ross can’t manage it and is gone off the last ball of the over.
WICKET! Ross lbw Swepson 9 (Thunder 110-6)
It looks almost like a replay of Sams’ dismissal and Ross has to go without ever really looking like he was there, a disappointing effort.
WICKET! Sams lbw Swepson 1 (Thunder 109-5)
Big, big trouble for the Thunder now, as Sams has often been the one to get them out of trouble in these situations. A good ball from Swepson and he’s gone for just one run.
15th over: Thunder 107-4 (Ross 8, Sams 0)
A swing and a miss from Ross to start Laughlin’s third over and then he grabs a quick single. Billings has started to tee off, with consecutive fours past helpless fielders – he’s realised the urgency of the situation. Unfortunately for the Thunder he’s gone off the next ball and Ross blocks out the last ball of the over as Daniel Sams joins him at the crease.
WICKET! Billings c Burns b Laughlin 34 (Thunder 107-4)
Just as Billings was looking like being the one to get the Thunder into the game, he’s gone – trying one too many big shots and hitting it straight to Joe Burns on the boundary.
14th over: Thunder 98-3 (Ross 7, Billings 26)
No surprises that Morkel is back for another over after starting so strongly. The batters look like they’re trying to just take whatever they can get off him with some nice quick singles to start the over and keep the strike turning over. They’re looking fairly comfortable, but really need to accelerate if they want to come up with a defendable total. Billings flicks one to fine leg but can only get two from it and then a bouncer from Morkel forces a dot. Billings finishes with a four to close out the over.
13th over: Thunder 89-3 (Ross 5, Billings 19)
Marnus takes his third over on the trot, but Ross looks more comfortable against him, getting five runs away off the first three balls of the over. Billings still looks cautious with a dot followed up by a failed attempt to reverse that he gets away with and then finishes the over with a huge six to make the Heat regret the dropped catch the previous over.
12th over: Thunder 78-3 (Ross 0, Billings 13)
Here comes the X-Factor player, former South African international Morne Morkel, who now lives in Australia and has been a handy pick up for the Heat. He starts with a dot and follows it up with a wicket, so yes, you’d say he was fairly handy. You wouldn’t know he was basically retired from cricket. Billings eventually manges to get him away for a couple of runs off the penultimate ball of the over before Gregory puts down an easy chance for what should have been Morkel’s second wicket.
WICKET! Ferguson c Heazlett b Morkel 25 (Thunder 74-3)
Morkel is immediately effective, forcing Ferguson to drag the ball square, right to the fielder on the boundary for an easy catch.
11th over: Thunder 74-2 (Ferguson 25, Billings 7)
Marnus is back to bowl and Peirson has a big shout on the second ball of his over, hedging his bets between LBW and caught behind, but the umpires says it’s neither. A bottom edge on the third ball saves Billings from an LBW and he runs a quick single. The Thunder are playing Marnus better this over, but still can’t get him away for any big scoring shots. The last ball of the oval looks to be the best, but they’ll be happy to see him finish his overs.
Breaking news: Thursday’s final to be played at Manuka
Cricket Australia have just announced that Canberra’s Manuka Oval will host the Scorchers’ “home” final on Thursday after border restrictions in WA have forced the move from Perth.
10th over: Thunder 68-2 (Ferguson 24, Billings 4)
Billings takes his time to settle in and Ferguson tries to keep the score ticking over after a poor 9th over. They’re playing it very safe, but are running out of time to get the run rate up to something a bit more dangerous.
9th over: Thunder 62-2 (Ferguson 22, Billings 0)
Cue the Marnus Labuschagne theme music! Everyone’s favourite part-time leg spinner is on to bowl, hoping to bring some of his magic from Friday into this match. We have to wait a little while to see him start as Khawaja has some kind of jock strap wardrobe malfunction and takes his time undressing on the field. In these Covid times it seems even the streaking duties need to be taken on by the players.
Eventually we start the over and Marnus gets going with a couple of dots against the now fully dressed Khawaja. He nearly takes a caught and bowled off his third ball, but it just slips out of his grasp in the dive. He over pitches the fourth and Khawaja gets the ball down towards the boundary for two and then is stumped off the next ball. Billings comes in for the final ball of the over, which is a dot – great over from Marnus.
WICKET! Khawaja st Peirson, b Labuschagne 28 (Thunder 62-2)
Khawaja didn’t quite recover from the stoppage in play at the start of the over and got a bit over confident after getting the two away and it’s a nice easy stumping for Peirson in the end.
8th over: Thunder 60-1 (Ferguson 22, Khawaja 26)
Swepson is back on to bowl and Ferguson goes with a big slog sweep to start this over, but he can’t get it past Steketee. He follows it up with another and this time the ball does make it all the way to the boundary. Then a beautiful lofted drive for six as Swepson bowls one a bit too full and some silly man in the crowd makes a fool of himself trying to catch it and failing. Swepson tightens it up for the next few balls and Khawaja and Peirson have a lovely little chat between balls.
7th over: Thunder 46-1 (Ferguson 9, Khawaja 25)
Gregory has already been in the action tonight with a nice catch to dismiss Hales and now he comes in to bowl. He gets off to a nice start, not allowing Khawaja too much room, just taking a single, while Ferguson does the same. Both Thunder batters are playing some nice shots, but just can’t break through the field at the moment. Gregory loses his grip midway through the over and lets go of a big no ball. Ferguson gets a big shot away which is taken by a fielder, but fortunately it’s off the free hit. Eventually Khawaja breaks through with a much needed boundary, punching it off his hip for four. He follows it up with another four on the last ball, starting to look more authoritative now.
6th over: Thunder 33-1 (Ferguson 7, Khawaja 15)
Swepson comes in for his first over of the night, getting into the spin soon after the conclusion of the power play. Khawaja takes a quick single to start the over, before Ferguson does the same off the second ball. The batters aren’t looking too panicked just yet, exchanging singles throughout the over – they know the importance of building this partnership.
5th over: Thunder 28-1 (Ferguson 5, Khawaja 12)
Ferguson blocks out his first couple of balls from Laughlin before putting in a more attacking shot that fails to beat the fielder. A couple of singles from each of the batters before Ferguson settles in with a boundary from the final ball of the over.
Wicket! Hales c Gregory b Steketee 8 (Thunder 22-1)
Hales didn’t look comfortable out there and he’s off after hitting it straight to Gregory – it’s the Thunder’s second worst powerplay of the season.
4th over: Thunder 22-1 (Hales 8, Khawaja 11)
Steketee is back for his second over and Khawaja opens the face of the back and guides it down to the rope past third for four, he’s looking much more settled now and knows how to work with Manuka’s fast outfield. Steketee follows it up with a wide, but great fielding from Peirson cuts it off from heading for the boundary. A dot ball and a single follow, the swing already less of a factor just four overs in. Another big appeal as Hales swings for a pull shot and it heads straight to the keeper, but the umpire rules he didn’t connect with the ball.
3rd over: Thunder 16-0 (Hales 8, Khawaja 6)
Laughlin comes into the attack now and Khawaja works it off the hip for a single to start. Hales gets off the mark with an easy two off the next ball, with the Thunder batters looking a little more relaxed. A looser shot from Hales on the third ball goes flying over the head of Denly at third and sails away to the boundary. Hales plays it safer with a defensive shot on the following ball, but this over has already been their best so far. A big swing at the ball for no run next, before finishing with a relaxed two from the last ball.
2nd over: Thunder 7-0 (Hales 0, Khawaja 5)
Steketee comes on to open from the other end, hoping to continue his form from Friday. Unfortunately he starts with a big wide, even Khawaja looking surprised at how wide the ball is. Coming around the wicket Steketee has adjusted well after the first ball, swinging the ball very well and seriously restricting the Thunder who will be starting to get nervous about the lack of runs on the board. Eventually Khawaja gets the breakthrough and gracefully guides the ball to the boundary for four. Steketee follows up with a bouncer, which Khawaja wisely ducks under. A catch opportunity on the last flies past the bowlers hands and Khawaja sneaks a single.
1st over: Thunder 1-0 (Hales 0, Khawaja 0)
Bartlett starts with the ball, a nice ball first up and Khawaja takes his time to get into the game, leaving the first and blocking the second. A little more attacking with the third, but it goes straight to the fielder and there’s no run. A big appeal for on the fifth, but Khawaja gets away with it and he manages a leg bye, with the umpire reminding the Heat that they’re at Manuka and not the Gabba, suggesting the ball was a bit high. A great over from Bartlett, a strong start for the Heat.
The last time the Thunder won the MBBL was the 2015-16 season and interestingly, that was the last time the Thunder won the WBBL as well. With the women getting the job done easily against the Stars back in November, is that a good sign for the men? Some nice words from some of the stars of that WBBL team today, really demonstrating that “one club” philosophy they are so well known for.
There’s still about 15 mins until the game starts, so if you’d like to keep yourself entertained in the meantime, please feel free to read this story I wrote before the Sydney Test about the lengths administrators have gone to for men’s sport since the start of the pandemic.
Don’t forget if you have any opinions you want to share with our happy little community here at The Guardian, you can tweet or email me – the links are at the top of the page and I’d love to hear from you. Particularly if you want to reminisce about how funny the end of last night’s game was, I could hear about that for the rest of my life.
In better news for the Scorchers, Mitch Marsh has escaped suspension for the dissent he showed after his dismissal last night. He has been fined $5000 but will be free to play in the team’s final on Thursday.
The other big news is that a Covid case in a hotel quarantine staff member in Perth has sent the city into a five day lockdown. This of course has ramifications for the final that the Scorchers are supposed to host on Thursday night and gives everyone a chance to use all their favourite Covid-related words as we all “pivot” and stay “flexible” and “adaptable”.
If you haven’t caught up on last night’s madness, now is a great time to do so. James Vince came within a whisker of being the Sixers’ first ever centurion, with Dan Hughes getting the biggest cheers of his life for blocking out an over and getting Vince on strike with one run left to get and Vince on 98. The tension built throughout the ground, only for Andrew Tye to bowl a wide first ball of the over to Vince, thus ending the game. It was one of the funniest games of cricket I’ve ever seen, which makes it one of the best. If you missed it, you can re-live it all with Scott Heinrich’s blog of the game.
Well, what a couple of nights of finals we’ve had already! A strong bowling performance from the Heat saw them take out the elimination final on Friday night, while the Sixers were dominant on Saturday to take them through to next weekend’s grand final and their first true home game of the season.
Tonight the Heat will need to back up from their strong bowling performance two nights ago and will hope to put a few more runs on the board with the bat this time. They’ll need their stars in Chris Lynn and Marnus Labuschagne to step up if they want to continue their progress through the finals. Thunder have been strong through their batting line up, with a number of players able to step up and take control of the innings if needed, but they’ll need to stand strong if the Heat produce another bowling performance like Friday’s. Who will make it through to play the Scorchers next week in a location yet to be determined? Let’s get into it and find out!