Brainless batting haunts Heat as Thunder claim opener
Chris Lynn racked up another Big Bash record but the bad old Heat were back at it as Brisbane crashed to 29-run loss to the Sydney Thunder.
Thunder captain Callum Ferguson produced a T20 masterclass at the Gabba in the BBL09 season-opener as the Heat's title credentials copped a serious hammering.
The Heat went into the tournament as title favourites on the back of signing South Africa superstar AB de Villiers, English young gun Tom Banton and the BBL's all-time leading wicket taker Ben Laughlin to go with new coach Darren Lehmann.
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But it was the same old story as brainless batting crippled their run chase in front of 26,784 on home turf.
Ferguson, one of Australia's unluckiest cricketers, was Sydney's saviour, blasting an unbeaten 73 from 44 balls to post a respectable 6-172.
The Heat could only manage 143 in response as Brisbane's batters continually picked out Thunder fielders in what seemed like catching practice for Sydney.
Banton got his BBL career off to a flying start when he launched successive sixes into the grandstands, but was out soon after for 16 from seven balls.
When Max Bryant (11) departed the Heat were 2-30 and in need of a solid innings from Lynn to keep them in the chase.
Lynn became the BBL's all-time leading run scorer (1954) when he smashed the 124th six of his career, but the Heat captain departed for nine to leave Brisbane reeling at 3-40.
Matt Renshaw (26) and Sam Heazlett (12) were Brisbane's last recognised batters to fail, leaving the Heat in trouble at 5-81.
Some big hitting from Ben Cutting (28) gave the Heat a sniff of victory but it was always going to be too much after Brisbane's batters flopped.
Earlier, Thunder opener Usman Khawaja missed a golden opportunity to put his one-day axing behind him, racing to 22 from 13 balls before being caught in the deep.
After a shaky start the Thunder recovered to 3-101 before Heat spinner Mitchell Swepson turned the game back in Brisbane's favour in the 14th over.
Swepson was on a hat-trick after claiming the wickets of Alex Ross (30) and Daniel Sams (0), but bizarrely only bowled two of a possible four overs.
The leg-spinner was the only Heat bowler to take multiple wickets, his 2-11 by far Brisbane's best bowling figures.
But the Heat could do nothing to get rid of Ferguson, whose clever, classy and skilful performance was the difference between the two sides.
The Heat will be looking to bounce back against the Melbourne Stars at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast on Friday night.