Lynn keeps cool to steer Heat to unlikely win
CHRIS Lynn has reinforced his reputation as a cool-headed master of Twenty20 cricket, muscling the Brisbane Heat to a rousing Big Bash victory.
The batsman with the Popeye forearms rescued a cause that seemed all but lost as the Heat beat a butterfingered Sydney Thunder at Spotless Stadium with two balls to spare.
The Thunder (7-157) now have no wins from three matches while the Heat (7-160), normally slow starters, are undefeated from two games as they prepare to be welcomed home by a sell-out Gabba crowd against the Hurricanes.
The Heat are ladder leaders and the only team to win their first two games.
Lynn's 85 off 48 balls, featuring 10 fours and three sixes, was a masterful testament to power and patience.
He was dropped three times in three overs when the charge was on but the fumbles told of the pressure he was putting on the field.
Lynn flogged the rampaging Pat Cummins for five fours in succession early, put his big guns away when the spinners were grinding away mid-innings, then spread his wings again when the fast men reappeared.
At one stage the match seemed all but gone as the Heat's run rate ballooned to above 12 per over with four wickets left but Lynn backed his ability to blast his way out of trouble and struck sweet paydirt.
The Heat needed 36 off 21 when Lynn pushed the go button and the margin was trimmed to 18 off 15, 11 off 10 then just five of Andre Russell's last over.
"It was a bit of a roller-coaster this game,” Lynn said. "I wanted to give us the opportunity to hit some boundaries at the end. I just stick to Plan A.”
The Heat had their hands around the throat of the Thunder for most of their innings but the dam burst in the last over when young leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson was spanked for 27.
The rating of the Thunder innings changed from mediocre to competitive in the last three balls of the innings, which were all dispatched over the fence by Chris Green.
Before that Brisbane had responded well to captain Brendon McCullum's decision to bowl first by suffocating the Thunder on a wicket yielding variable bounce and a stream of bottom edges from mistimed strokes.
After the six-over power play the Thunder were just 2-27 with fast men Mark Steketee and Ben Cutting exploiting the wicket's variable pace by regularly changing the speed of their deliveries.
Sydney Thunder leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, a former Ashes tourist who now struggles to get a game for Victoria, bowled well to shut down the Heat mid-innings.
Cummins, who has had a torturous run through injuries since his sole Test six years ago, bowled McCullum with a sizzling outswinger that beat the bat by a ball width or more.
He also yorked Alex Ross with a 152km/h thunderbolt before the Lynn blitz reshaped his figures.