Not much went right for Gabba organisers, but Chris Lynn still rode his luck to guide Brisbane Heat to a stirring three-wicket win over Perth Scorchers in their Big Bash League opener.
Lynn was dropped on 46 and caught off a no-ball on 70 but deservedly earned man-of-the-match honours with a blistering 53-ball 81 that helped Brisbane to 7-152 with two balls to spare in reply to Perth’s 7-151.
Lynn’s luck ran out when he was spectacularly caught on the boundary by the evergreen Brad Hogg (3-21) off Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-37), leaving Brisbane with four runs off three balls for victory.
Ben Cutting (15 not out) then leg glanced the next ball for four to seal the win and a perfect start to their title defence in the BBL grand final re-match in front of 19,264.
Brisbane’s winning hopes appeared to nose dive like the ground entertainment, “the Rocketman”, who plummeted to earth when his jet pack failed.
He gingerly got up and left while Gabba staff filled the healthy divot in the turf he created but there was more trouble when the Heat began their run chase.
Brisbane were reeling at 3-22 and 4-63 as the 42-year-old Hogg showed age had not slowed him down by ripping through the middle order.
And the Gabba faithful were again kept on their toes when Dan Christian (13) walked after being stumped off Hogg despite the third umpire mistakenly flashing “Not Out” on the big screen.
Christian – who was correctly not recalled by officials after the third umpire gaffe – also featured in another off-beat incident in what was an unusual night’s cricket, even for Twenty20.
Scorchers spinner Michael Beer tried to Mankad Christian not once but twice in an over as Perth appeared to buckle as Lynn applied the blowtorch.
Beer also dropped Lynn on 46 at fine leg off Coulter-Nile.
Lynn completed the over by thrashing three straight sixes.
“Beer has just dropped Lynn and possibly the match… Karma for trying to mankad someone?” Victorian allrounder Glenn Maxwell tweeted.
Earlier, allrounder Mitch Marsh lifted the Scorchers with an unbeaten 57 off 35 balls in his first BBL match for Perth in more than a year due to injury.
Cutting (3-31) and Alister McDermott (3-38) impressed for Brisbane.