James Hopes
James Hopes

Overseas import Matt Prior has come under fire for claiming a dubious catch as Sydney Thunder slumped to their 10th straight defeat in the Big Bash League, soundly beaten by Brisbane Heat at ANZ Stadium.

Fielding at first slip in his BBL debut for Thunder, Prior collected an edge low to the ground and immediately celebrated in a clear indication he believed the ball had carried.

But replays suggested the ball may have hit the turf a split second before the Englishman wrapped his hands around it.

Hopes, who made eight, momentarily stood his ground before accepting Prior's word he caught the ball.

The third umpire could have reversed the decision if he believed the ball had not reached Prior on the full but he strangely declined to review the incident.

The England keeper-batsman is no stranger to controversy, having removed Mitchell Johnson's bails before claiming the Australian had been bowled during a one-day international two years ago.

The Heat's top order wobbled after Hopes' exit but soon recovered, with the visitors coasting home with five wickets and 20 balls to spare.

Chris Lynn (51 not out) starred with the bat after Dan Christian (5-26) set the Thunder on their heels with the best bowling figures in Heat's history.

The win keeps Brisbane's slim finals hopes alive while the Thunder have now lost 10 games in a horror run stretching back to last season.

The end of their campaign can't come quickly enough after yet another dismal performance.

The Thunder won the toss and chose to bat first but the drop-in pitch, a seaming greentop, made life difficult for the top order.

Chris Rogers (five) came and went early after taking up plenty of deliveries and it was left to imports Chris Gayle and Prior to try and build something substantial.

After a run of outs, Gayle appeared to set himself to bat through the innings and started cautiously before exploding with a pair of sixes to get his dig going.

But just went he looked in the groove in reaching 28, the big West Indian slapped a lazy cut shot off Christian straight to Peter Forrest at point.

Four balls later Prior (17), who had hit two big slog sweeps for six, was caught by Kemar Roach (0-26) at mid off attempting to blast Christian down the ground.

As has happened so often in the past, the Thunder innings fell away dramatically.

They were bowled out on the last ball of the innings, Gayle's modest 28 the top score.

It was never going to be enough against a Heat side that bats well down the order.


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