Ex-Test seamer Ben Hilfenhaus emerged as the unlikely batting hero as the Hobart Hurricanes reeled in a record run chase to seal a three wicket Big Bash League win over Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Saturday night.
Hobart silenced the 20,457-strong crowd when they eclipsed Brisbane’s BBL record target of 3-209 with four balls to spare after Hilfenhaus (10 not out) got the last laugh with the bat.
After conceding 0-47 off four overs – including 25 off his second – Hilfenhaus tried to square the ledger with some pyrotechnics of his own.
With Hobart needing 10 off the last over to win, Hilfenhaus – yet to face a ball – thrashed a four and then a six off Ben Cutting (1-39) to ensure the visitors cruised to their opening BBL win.
The amazing chase was set up by former Queensland reserve keeper Ben Dunk (67 off 33 balls) and late heroics by Jon Wells (36 not out off 20).
“I always thought we were in the hunt after the start Dunk gave us. He was outstanding,” Hilfenhaus said.
“When I got out there I had to forget about what happened (with the ball). I had to cop it on the chin – that’s cricket.
“But yeah I reckon that was the best 10 I have scored.”
There were plenty of big hits but it was a suspected play and miss that threatened to be the talking point of the match.
Hobart were cruising at 1-119 in the 11th over when Travis Birt (27) was given caught behind off Cutting.
Replays indicated there was no nick and only wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter went up but it was enough for umpire Damien Mealy to raise the finger, much to the surprise of Birt who stood his ground before throwing his arms up in despair.
It sparked a stumble of 3-13 – including the prized wicket of Dunk.
The Hurricanes were then reduced to 6-180 when they lost 2-7 but clever hitting from Wells and Hilfenhaus’ first ever BBL runs ensured the visitors pulled off the great escape.
Brisbane appeared in the box seat after Dan Christian (70no), Joe Burns (69 off 45) and Kieswetter’s 24-ball 50 helped Brisbane set the biggest BBL total and second highest in domestic Twenty20 history.
However, the Hurricanes threatened to make short work of the record run chase thanks to Dunk who reached 50 in 20 balls – the fastest in BBL and equal third quickest in domestic T20 history.