It takes something extraordinary to upstage a batsman who clubs five consecutive sixes, but Brisbane's Samuel Badree did exactly that as he triggered a collapse that condemned Melbourne Stars to a 56-run defeat and imperilled their hitherto strong position for the Big Bash League semi-finals.
Chris Lynn's continued bludgeoning form for the Heat — he flayed Ben Hilfenhaus for those five sixes, on the way to a 19-ball half-century — should have set the foundation for the bottom-placed Heat to make at least 200 at the MCG on Thursday night. But their sedate scoring after Lynn fell for 56 meant they had to be content with 7-188.
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Chris Lynn continued to build a rock-solid case for national selection, while Samuel Badree took five wickets for the Heat.
The powerplays could not have been more different. After the Heat made 1-78 from their opening six overs, the Stars managed 5-24. West Indies leg-spinner Badree claimed all five of those wickets in the period thought to be the toughest for bowlers, to leave the crowd of 30,649 gobsmacked.
The Stars' best bowler was clearly all-rounder Evan Gulbis (0-27 from four overs). He was even more conspicuously impressive with the bat, making an unbeaten 61 from 52 deliveries to drag his team to 9-132.
Even though the home team never had a chance of winning after their abysmal start, Gulbis' late hitting ensured their net run-rate at least stayed positive – barely. It preserved the possibility of the Stars losing on Saturday in Perth and still reaching the semi-finals for a fifth consecutive season.
After starting the night looking to strengthen their claims for a home final, the Stars finished it having to digest they had let their position slip so badly they could have to rely on favourable results to reach the final week of the competition.
The visitors, sent in after losing the toss, lost opener Jimmy Peirson to a golden duck. Yet this proved to be a blessing as it brought Lynn to the crease in the first over.
After a relatively sedate start — he scored five from his first seven deliveries — Lynn started giving an indication of what was to come by swatting two sixes and a four from the fourth over, bowled by Daniel Worrall.
At the start of the fifth over Lendl Simmons was on 25, two ahead of his partner. By the end of that over his captain had brought up his half-century, having swatted five consecutive sixes off a stunned Ben Hilfenhaus.
The first of the sixes was easily the biggest, blasted well over deep square-leg. Lynn then went to mid-wicket, back to square-leg, and swatted the last two deliveries of the powerplay over Hilfenhaus' head.
The home team's revival started under Gulbis. The all-rounder, the replacement for James Faulkner, conceded only 13 runs from his first three overs to peg back the Heat's rapid scoring.
Stars captain David Hussey also profited significantly from his bowling change at the other end. The change from pace to spin snared the key wicket of Lynn, holing out to Rob Quiney just inside the long-off boundary off leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
The high of 79 runs from just 40 balls in the Simmons-Lynn partnership was dampened by the next partnership, between Simmons and Joe Burns, which contributed a sedate 32 off 34.
After 14 boundaries in the powerplay — seven fours, seven sixes — the Heat managed only one in their next nine overs. Gulbis and Zampa bowled tightly in this period, while Hilfenhaus began to work off his debt for the pummelling by Lynn by removing Simmons for 44, after a horrible swipe across the line from the opener.
The Heat belatedly accelerated late in their innings to add 58 in their last five overs. Their total of 7-188, nevertheless, looked inadequate given their start. That view had to be urgently revised, however, after Badree's first three overs which left the home team reeling at 5-24, 54 runs and four wickets worse off than their opponents had been at the start of the night.
Badree's victims — Luke Wright, Marcus Stoinis, Kevin Pietersen, Peter Handscomb and Quiney — made only 17 runs between them, with the bowler finishing with a career-best 5-22 in his 123rd match.
From such a dire position the Stars' focus had to shift to saving the furniture: that was, limiting the damage to their net run-rate, by batting as long as possible even if it ensured defeat on the night.
Hussey and Gulbis shared a partnership of 59 from 49 balls before the captain fell in the 14th over, caught at fine-leg off emerging leggie Mitchell Swepson (2-29). Hussey's replacement, Zampa, should have been content supporting Gulbis but lasted only eight balls due to his undue aggression.
Hilfenhaus and Worrall both fell in the 19th over, bowled by left-armer Lalor, but last man Michael Beer survived long enough for Gulbis to strike his eighth and ninth boundaries of the night in the final over.