Ferguson strikes perfect tone for Thunder as Heat serve up lukewarm opener

Omnisport
An unbeaten half-century from Callum Ferguson laid the foundations for an impressive Sydney Thunder victory over Brisbane Heat in BBL 19.
An unbeaten half-century from Callum Ferguson laid the foundations for an impressive Sydney Thunder victory over Brisbane Heat in BBL 19.

Captain Callum Ferguson led from the front as Sydney Thunder eased to a 29-run win over Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League opener.

Ferguson called correctly and opted to bat at the Gabba, top scoring with an unbeaten 73 from 44 deliveries as the Thunder posted 172-6 against their much-vaunted opponents.

The 35-year-old paced his innings superbly, hitting six fours and three maximums to lead a recovery from 38-3 in the fifth over.

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Alex Ross and Chris Green played fine supporting hands with 30 and 25 respectively.

Despite some early lusty blows from dangermen Tom Banton and Chris Lynn, the Heat were unable to find a contribution of similar substance to Ferguson's knock.

Matthew Renshaw (26) and Ben Cutting (28) mustered the only significant resistance as wickets tumbled around them – Brisbane's big hitters repeatedly falling foul of excellent Sydney catching in the deep.

Leg-spinner Jonathan Cook impressed with the key scalps of openers Banton (16) and Max Bryant (11), while Green concluded a handy all-round performance with 2-19 as the Heat's tail subsided.

FERGUSON PLAYS HIS HAND TO PERFECTION

"You don't win too many when you're three down in the powerplay," Ferguson said afterwards as he collected the man of the match award.

It needed his astutely judged innings to overcome those odds, with immaculate shot selection the key in a match where batsmen on each side fell foul of taking on the Gabba's huge boundaries.

Booming sixes over deep midwicket and long on were his reward in the penultimate over of the Thunder's innings, with Ferguson forcing the old adage of making the attack bowl to him. Josh Lalor's mis-directed yorkers were dealt with brutally.

 

LYNN LIKELY TO RETHINK SWEPSON PLAN

Cook's success underlined the impression Brisbane captain Lynn under-used his own leg-spinner.

Mitchell Swepson had Ross caught by his skipper at third man and bowled Daniel Sams with a wonderful googly through the gate next ball.

However, that was his second and last over of the innings, leaving him with figures of 2-11.

As Ferguson and Green steered the Thunder merrily towards their winning total from that point, it was hard to escape the conclusion Lynn had missed a trick.

 

SAMS LAUGHS LAST AFTER ALL-TIME BBL BLOOPER

Sydney left-arm seamer Sams had the last laugh, if not the longest one at the Gabba, as he removed last man Ben Laughlin.

That meant figures of 2-34 after he bowled Cutting with a brilliant yorker – a delivery of sharply contrasting accuracy to the most memorable moment of the contest.

Having been hit for a pair of languid, luscious sixes by England youngster Banton, Sams attempted a slower delivery, only for the ball to fly sideways out of the top of his hand.

As the square-leg umpire signalled dead ball with the ball trickling towards his feet, an unwanted viral sensation was about to go global.

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