Cricket fans have taken to social media in anger and disgust after Friday night's Big Bash League finals match between the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder was decided by the DLS method due to rain in Sydney. The Heat eliminated the Thunder from the BBL finals after posting 5-203 with the bat, before inclement weather ruined the home side's run chase.
An Usman Khawaja batting masterclass propelled Brisbane to their total, with the Test opener belting 94 from 55 deliveries to hoist the Heat into another sudden-death clash with the Melbourne Renegades on Sunday. Ably assisted by Test teammate Marnus Labuschagne (73), Khawaja shook off his previously lukewarm run of form in the BBL to lead his side to victory.
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However, fans were left seething about the nature of the Heat's win, with rain wrecking any hopes the Thunder had of making a late charge to chase down the Heat's victory target. Friday night's game ended a tumultuous season for the Thunder, who had defied a run of injuries and their historic thrashing from the Adelaide Strikers to qualify for the finals.
After the Heat posted the highest total for a BBL game at Sydney Showground Stadium (5-203), David Warner had the Sydneysiders off to a strong start (1-52) with his best knock of a lucrative BBL cameo. But the Thunder were still eight runs behind the DLS par score when showers forced the covers on in the seventh over.
Play was set to resume 45 minutes later, with the Thunder requiring 38 runs from 13 balls in a rain-reduced match, before more bad weather forced the finals match to be abandoned and Brisbane declared winners.
The farcical scenes sparked outrage from cricket fans, with many questioning why the match couldn't either finish later or even resume the next day. Others claimed the DLS method favoured the side batting first, with calls to change the situation after supporters branded it a "pathetic" way for a finals match to be decided.
What a farce. Pretty well sums up the whole competition. The BBL is a classic example of unrealised potential.
— Appsee 🌈🚴 (@Appsee) January 27, 2023
— LostIn84 (@DavidNeyland2) January 27, 2023
Just when everyone was raving about the #BBL
What a farcical eliminator.
Way too many matches then come finals no reserve days
And THAT !!!
— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) January 27, 2023
Pathetic. I can understand why the stands are empty at most games.
— JC (@mycrouch) January 27, 2023
Time and time again the DLS favours the team who bats first. In the case of a washout the result should be decided on each teams score at the over/ball the game was abandoned. An utter farce!
— No 1 Vernon Circle (@tonyreeswoods) January 27, 2023
@BBL Real shame with the rain that was shaping up to be a ripper game.
— Rick Appleby (@2apples65) January 27, 2023
"I think it was quite achievable," a dejected Warner said about the adjusted target after the match. "But it is what it is. It's unfortunate there was a bit of rain but Ussie (Khawaja) and Marnus (Labushagne) played exceptionally well."
Usman Khawaja hits best knock in BBL for seven years
Khawaja's innings was his best in the BBL since the summer of 2015-16 and ensured he would finish the night as the tournament's highest run-scorer in finals - despite playing only eight innings in the post-season. He and Labuschagne initially ticked along at a steady rate with the bat after the early loss of Josh Brown (3) but the veteran cut loose with five boundaries from the first 10 balls after drinks.
Grade cricketer and BBL debutant Ross Pawson was Khawaja's favourite target, copping five boundaries off his bat. Spinner Usman Qadir (0-50) was also expensive as the Thunder struggled for a breakthrough in the absence of injured quicks Gurinder Sandhu and Brendan Doggett.
Ben Cutting finally dispatched Khawaja, who edged to Matthew Gilkes in the 17th over, just after Labuschagne brought up his maiden BBL half-century. "Marnus batted beautifully," Khawaja said.
"It's really nice working with someone of his class, obviously he's the number one Test batter in the world, you know if you need a single or if you need to manipulate, he'll do it for you."
A late cameo from Matthew Renshaw (24 off eight balls) kept the Thunder scoring rate going after the loss of Khawaja, with the Heat setting their rivals a tricky 204 for victory.
Warner (36 not out) looked more comfortable than in his five previous BBL innings this summer after the Thunder lost Matthew Gilkes (3) cheaply. However, the Test star's effort was in vain as the rain thwarted the Thunder and brought his BBL summer to an end.
"Even if it was DLS, it's still really nice to get that victory," Khawaja added. "We've been playing some really good cricket lately, the last five or six games we've been on a bit of a heater, excuse the pun.
"So I think things are really tracking the right way."
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