Bushfires wreak 'unprecedented' havoc with Aussie cricket

Heavy smoke has denied Sydney Thunder a Big Bash League victory over Adelaide Strikers, with their chase halted in Canberra after 4.2 overs because of concerns about air quality and visibility.

The ladder-leading Thunder, set a target of 162, reached 1-40 when umpires stopped play at Manuka Oval on Saturday night.

‘THAT’S A DISGRACE’: Cricket greats slam Boxing Day Test reality

'RIDICULOUS’: Players slam 'toxic' conditions at iconic SCG

The match was abandoned soon after, meaning the points were split.

The Thunder already had enough runs on the board to be declared winners after five overs but BBL rules dictate a minimum of five overs is required in the second innings to constitute a game.

The match between the Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers in Canberra was cancelled due to player and fan (pictured right) safety. (Images: Getty Images/AAP)

Thunder captain Callum Ferguson, who finished 27 not out, fumed when umpires Paul Wilson and Sam Nogajski told him they were halting play during Rashid Khan's opening over.

"He's just annoyed, as you could imagine," Thunder coach Shane Bond told Fox Cricket.

"It's obvious. We've got four balls to finish the game and were hoping to get the game done.

"I absolutely understand the air quality is poor ... we just have to suck it up."

It is the second season in a row the Thunder have been denied a victory because of events outside their control, coming after the power went out at the Gabba when they were poised to defeat Brisbane Heat.

Smoke covers Canberra

Air Quality Index (AQI) data and players' visibility was discussed at a pre-match medical briefing but officials decided conditions were good enough to play.

That proved the case as Adelaide compiled a total of 5-161, thanks largely to Jon Wells (55 not out), Alex Carey (45) and Jake Weatherald (42).

But winds changed at the innings break and thick smoke soon covered the venue.

"It came in quite quick ... we've got player safety we have to take into account. It's pretty unprecedented," Strikers coach Jason Gillespie said on Fox.

"It's not just players, umpires and the like. We've got a lot of spectators here.

"These are the playing conditions in place, the umpires are just applying that.

"Being able to see the ball is pretty fundamental in our sport, but also the respiratory situation is something that needs to be considered."

Daniel Sams had built a perfect platform for the Thunder to push for their third win of the season.

Sams started the night by delivering the first maiden of the tournament and dismissing English opener Phil Salt with a bouncer.

The paceman returned to the attack and snapped a 60-run stand between Carey and Weatherald, deceiving the latter with a slower ball that skittled the stumps.

Sams, who boasted the remarkable figures of 2-9 from three overs, copped some late treatment from Wells to finish with a haul of 2-21 and a yellow cap as the leading wicket-taker of the competition.