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Heat extend Thunder's losing run to 18

By Chris Pike
8 January 2014 10:47PM EST

DESPITE Michael Hussey's best endeavours the Brisbane Heat cruised to a crucial Big Bash League victory on Wednesday at ANZ Stadium to extend the Sydney Thunder's losing run to 18 matches.

The Thunder did reasonably well with the ball led by 3-21 from experienced left-arm quick Dirk Nannes to restrict the defending champion Heat to 5-165 from their 20 overs.

The struggling Sydney outfit would have been confident of chasing down that total with Usman Khawaja returning to the side to open the innings even if Eoin Morgan was out from the middle order.

And Khawaja and Hussey were both in good touch with Khawaja making 22 and Hussey a brilliant 60 from 37 balls, but no other Thunder player managed to score more than Ajantha Mendis' eight as they were bowled out for 117 after just 17.2 overs falling 49 runs short of victory.

While the Thunder had been doing much better so far this BBL season after a horror 2012/13 campaign and had been getting close to victory, Wednesday's performance was a definite step backwards.

However, it was a crucial win for the Heat who themselves had been struggling coming into the contest.

The Heat had lost three straight matches to have just one victory so far this season but the win over the Thunder keeps them in contention still for a finals berth.

Brisbane captain James Hopes won the toss and decided to bat first, but it wasn’t the ideal start for the Heat with openers Craig Kieswetter (4 from 10) and Luke Pomersbach (25 from 17) out within the first six overs with the run rate at a run a ball.

Peter Forrest then never got going falling for 10 from 17 balls but then Dan Christian and Chris Lynn came together with the score at 3-43 after eight overs.

Lynn was on fire virtually from the outset and while Christian took some time to warm up, once he did hit a couple of big sixes before falling for 24 from 20 balls when Nannes came back on to bowl for the Thunder.

That ended the pair's 66-run partnership in just 43 balls and then Lynn continued to push on once Christian was out as well.

The impressive 23-year-old right-hander continued to make a case to play in Australia's Twenty20 side as he hammered six sixes during his knock including two off Sri Lankan spinner Mendis and three from pace bowler Chris Tremain.

Lynn took a particular liking to the bowling of Tremain smashing him for 29 from 13 balls before Nannes managed to get rid of him for 56 from 35 ballls with the score 5-135 in the 18th over.

Captain Hopes finished on 12 not out and three sixes late from Ben Cutting (25 from 13) saw the Heat finish up on 5-165 from the 20 overs.

Nannes was the pick of the Heat bowlers with 3-21 from four overs with Gurinder Sandhu finishing with 1-28 from four, Jason Floros 0-18 from four, Mendis 0-41 from four and Tremain 0-53 from four.

Khawaja opened up the Thunder's innings alongside youngster Daniel Hughes, and Hughes again failed to impress making just seven from 13 balls before being caught by Forrest from the bowling of Mark Steketee.

The Thunder's hopes were always likely to rest on the batting of Khawaja and Hussey, and the pair came together with the score 1-16 in the fourth over and they steadied the ship nicely.

Khawaja was starting to strike some form in his first match back from a hamstring injury, but he fell for 22 from as many balls when caught in the deep by Pomersbach off Hopes.

The Thunder's score was then 2-55 in the ninth over and Hussey looked as good as ever at one end for the home side, but the skipper received no support whatsoever from the other end.

Kurtis Patterson made just two, Floros two, Cameron Borgas five, Ryan Carters seven, Tremain a duck, Mendis eight and Sandhu three as the Heat bowlers enjoyed their time bowling to everyone bar Hussey.

Hussey made a tremendous 60 from 37 balls with four boundaries and two sixes but his one man show came to an end in the 16th over with the score 6-105, and that all but secured the result which finished just 12 balls later.

All in all, the Thunder lost their last five wickets for 12 runs off 12 balls.

Cameron Gannon was the star with the ball for the Heat with 4-10 from 2.2 overs with Steketee taking 2-20 from three, Cutting 1-29 from three, Daniel Vettori 0-25 from four and Christian 0-6 from one.

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