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Hobart wins with record run chase

By Chris Pike
28 December 2013 10:34PM EST

IT WAS a night of records at the Gabba and in the end it was the unlikeliest of heroes who hit the Hobart Hurricanes to victory over the Brisbane Heat in Saturday night's Big Bash League action.

The defending champion Brisbane Heat scored the highest score in the three-year history of the BBL making 3-209 to appear to set the home side up for a comfortable victory, but the Hurricanes had other ideas.

Ben Dunk hit the fastest half-century in the BBL history to start things off for Hobart and then at the finish with 10 runs needed off the final over from Ben Cutting, it was fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus who proved the hero for the Hurricanes.

After having a horror time earlier in the night with the ball going for 47 runs from his four overs, Hilfenhaus got the last laugh edging Cutting's first ball for four just wide of the wicket-keeper and down to third man.

Then the next ball was again bowled just short of a length and Hilfenhaus connected sweetly hitting it for six over square leg and the Hurricanes recorded the three-wicket win with four balls remaining while scoring the highest total in BBL history in the process.

Heat captain James Hopes won the toss and elected to bat first and even though the home lost Luke Pomersbach early for four when he was bowled by Doug Bollinger, Brisbane got off to a rollicking start.

English wicket-keeper batsman Craig Kieswetter opened the batting and cut loose taking a particular liking to the bowling of Hilfenhaus racing to 50 off just 24 deliveries with three sixes and six fours.

Three of his fours and two of his sixes came from the bowling of Hilfenhaus as he took 26 from just 10 balls from the former Test paceman, who still remains a chance to play for Australia again in the future.

Joe Burns gave Kieswetter some good support before the Englishman fell for 50 when caught by Ben Laughlin off the bowling of Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik.

Burns then started to open his shoulders as well racing to 69 from just 45 balls with six fours and two sixes before being stumped by Tim Paine off Xavier Doherty.

Daniel Christian made a slow start to his innings, but he also got cracking for the Heat down the stretch with four sixes to finish not out on 70 from 40 balls with Chris Lynn with him on 11 from seven as Brisbane recorded the biggest BBL total in history at 3-209 from the 20 overs.

The Hurricanes bowlers took a hammering with Malik going for 1-40 from four overs, Doherty 1-33 from four, Bollinger 1-27 from three and Laughlin 0-35 from three. Evan Gulbis bowled just one over for 22.

From the moment Malik and Dunk took strike to start Hobart's innings, though, it was clear that it was still game on at the Gabba despite the daunting total ahead of the visitors.

Pakistani Malik was the first to get going with an early six and a couple of boundaries before falling for 19 to Christian, but then Dunk really got going.

His previous BBL highest score coming into the match was just 19, but he blew that away and hit the Heat bowlers out of the park at the same time with an incredible hitting display.

His four sixes included a massive 103-metre bomb off Christian over mid-wicket and he hit another just under the 100-metre mark closer to the long-on area.

He took a liking to Christian with three sixes off the all-rounder for 28 runs from eight balls, and also sent Alister McDermott over the fence and scored 17 runs from 11 balls off Ben Cutting as he hammered the fasted 50 in the history of the BBL.

Dunk was setting the Hurricanes up for a remarkable run chase before the crafty left-arm spin bowling of New Zealand veteran Daniel Vettori bowled him for 67 with the Hobart score at 3-121 in the 12th over.

Dunk's 67 came from 33 deliveries and included five fours and four sixes.

His dismissal came just two runs and three balls after Travis Birt was remarkably given out caught behind for 27 off Cutting despite clearly not hitting the ball, Cutting not appealing and the wicket-keeper Kieswetter already throwing the ball on for the next delivery.

That left Hobart with work to do off the last nine overs and even more so when Englishman Owais Shah fell for six also to Vettori.

That brought Gulbis to the crease and he did well hitting a big six and a four in his 22 to keep the Hurricanes in with a chance before he was caught by McDermott off Cameron Gannon at mid-off.

Captain Tim Paine hit a terrific four as soon as he walked to the crease but last just three balls before falling and then Laughlin was out for four in the 19th over with Hobart 7-194 needing a further 16 runs still with eight balls remaining.

Jonathan Wells was holding things together nicely for the Hurricanes and moved to 36 from 20 balls when he scored six off the final two balls of Laughlin's 19th over.

That set up a tantalising last over with Hobart needing 10 off it with Cutting bowling to Hilfenhaus, but the big Hurricanes quick got the job done as the visitors made BBL history.

Like the Hurricanes bowlers, the Heat attack also didn’t enjoy things too much with Gannon finishing with 2-36 from four overs, Vettori 2-32 from four, McDermott 1-28 from two, Christian 1-29 from two, Cutting 1-39 from 3.2, Hopes 0-17 from two and Nathan Hauritz 0-25 from two.

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