Freedom and fearlessness was Chris Lynn’s motto as he went within metres of smashing the Big Bash’s fastest century on Sunday night.
Lynn starred in Brisbane’s 48-run belting of the Sydney Sixers, scoring 94 off just 35 balls before he was caught at the long-on boundary.
It was Heat’s equal-highest total in its history of 4-209.
In a brutal smash-up that included 11 sixes at the SCG, the right-hander was well on track to break Craig Simmons’ 39-ball century as the quickest in BBL history.
Had his last shot cleared the rope, it also would have made for the equal-fifth fastest century in all Twenty20 matches worldwide.
Lynn had made it his goal to prove a point in this summer’s Big Bash in a bid to regain his spot in Australia’s Twenty20 squad for next year’s World Cup.
He scored just nine and six in the first two games of the tournament, but Sunday’s knock sent a reminder to selectors.
In the process he also became the first player to pass 2000 runs in the Big Bash, while his 135 sixes in the competition’s history is almost double any other player.
“I had no idea (I was close to the record for fastest century),” Lynn said.
“I knew I hit a couple over the rope so I knew I was half a chance.
There was a bit of hype going around and a bit of talk you haven’t performed. But you’ve just got to put that to the side and play with that freedom and be fearless.’’
Matt Renshaw also hit 60 off 39 to go top of the run-scoring charts for the tournament, before Mitchell Swepson starred with 2-27 with the ball in Brisbane’s first win of the season.
In reply, James Vince hit 39 and Moises Henriques put Ben Cutting onto the Members Pavilion roof as the Sixers finished at 7-161.
Lynn’s 11 sixes were the joint highest in a Big Bash innings, equalling his own mark from 2017 and also ones set by Chris Gayle and Simmons.
In four separate overs he hit multiple sixes, as nine of them came down the ground and left bowlers watching the ball fly over their head and into the crowd.
Sean Abbott (2-42) copped plenty of damage, as did Tom Curran.
Spinner Ben Manenti (2-39) was also hit over the rope three times by Lynn, before he eventually claimed his wicket.
“You do have to admire the skill level of it,” Manenti said.
“He’s the best ball-striker in the world or at least one of the top three.
“When I’m getting hit over my head I don’t love it, but you do have to take a step back sometimes and appreciate it.”
Earlier on Sunday, the injury replacement for marquee man Dale Steyn tore Hobart Hurricanes to shreds as Melbourne Stars extended their unbeaten start to the Big Bash League with a 52-run win at Moe’s Ted Summerton Reserve.
Power hitter Marcus Stoinis reminded national selectors of his ability by smashing an unbeaten 81 off 54 balls, which put the Stars in a strong position at 4-163.
But it was Pakistani fast bowler Haris Rauf – a relative unknown when he was plucked from grade cricket in Hobart on the eve of the BBL – who stole the show.
The 26-year-old claimed match-best figures of 5-27 from four overs, two days after taking 2-20 on debut in the Stars’ win over Brisbane Heat.
Stars all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (2-15) did his best work with the ball as Hobart was reduced to 3-44 during the power play and Rauf then spearheaded the fall of regular wickets.
The Hurricanes were eventually skittled for 111 in the 16th over.
The win left the Stars with a 2-0 record before South Africa pace legend Steyn’s likely debut in their meeting with Adelaide Strikers on the Gold Coast on Friday.
The 36-year-old’s return to action from a side strain means Rauf, now the competition’s leading wicket-taker, must depart.
Steyn completed the warm-up in Moe and declared himself fit to play, but competition rules dictated he could not be included after he was left out of the initial 13-man squad.
It mattered little to the result as Stoinis tilted the match the Stars’ way.
He punished Hobart’s sloppy fielding with seven fours and four sixes in his sensational knock.
But it could have been a much different story if he had not been gifted two early reprieves.
On the first ball he faced, Stoinis offered a sharp return catch to Clive Rose, who put it down.
Soon after, the powerful right-hander was on just five when he skied a shot that fell safely between Riley Meredith and Qais Ahmad as they failed to cope with the sun in their eyes.
Stoinis’ opening partner Nic Maddinson peeled off eight boundaries in his 40 off 39 balls to help lay the groundwork for the Stars.
Fast bowler Meredith (3-27) was the pick of the Hurricanes’ attack after left-arm orthodox spinner Rose (0-12) sent down three tight overs during the opening power play.
Rose produced the best score in BBL history as a No.10 batsman with an unbeaten 32 from 18 balls.
He and opener Caleb Jewell (25 off 21) were the only Hurricanes batsmen to offer any real resistance to the Stars’ attack.