Brisbane Heat wrecked erstwhile beloved son Chris Lynn’s return to the Gabba with an unexpected six-run victory against Adelaide Strikers, thanks to a Sam Billings half-century. The undefeated Strikers led the BBL standings with three victories heading into Friday night’s match against the last-placed Heat, who had lost their first two games of the season after a six-game losing run ended their previous campaign.
Billings’ half-century snatched the game from Strikers
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However, Billings led the Heat to 166 for 9 after the home side won the bat flip, with the Strikers losing early wickets to go to 38 for 4 before falling just short of the 20-over mark. Colin de Grandhomme (37) and Thomas Kelly (37) combined for 73 runs, with Kelly scoring a career-high 43 off 33 balls, and some lusty late hitting from Harry Nielsen (24) left the visitors requiring 32 runs from the last three overs.
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However, in the 19th over, Michael Neser grabbed a wicket and allowed just four runs to put the game out of Adelaide’s grasp. With 4 for 34 from four overs, Mark Steketee was the most successful of the Heat bowlers. Lynn, the Heat’s face for 11 seasons, made 12 before being called out lbw in controversial circumstances in the first encounter against his former team. After Neser caught Jake Weatherald in front with the first ball of the innings, the all-time BBL top run-scorer stepped to the crease in the opening over.
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Lynn moved down the wicket in an exciting over to the first ball he faced, which was one of three wides. Never bowled that over, then played and missed twice before edging one past a diving second slip for four runs. The visitors were 14 for 2 when Matt Short was bowled in the second over, and things got worse when Lynn was caught off the first ball of the fourth. Strikers were left to regret Weatherald’s ineffective DRS challenge, which meant Lynn was unable to reconsider Billings’ judgment, despite replays plainly showing the ball going over the stumps. Earlier, Billings, who was dropped on 22 and 42, bludgeoned 27 runs, including three sixes, off Peter Siddle’s 19th over.
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He finally left for 79 off 48 deliveries, including six fours and four sixes in Billings’ innings. Max Bryant was the Heat’s next-best hitter, with 46 hits, including eight fours. Short did not bat, but his three overs of offspin yielded career-high figures of 3 for 14. Quick Henry Thornton, the BBL’s current top wicket-taker, concluded with 1 for 37, bringing Billings’ season total to 12.
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