Axed Test opener Joe Burns released the shackles with a match-winning innings for the Brisbane Heat as they kept in touch with the BBL’s top five and snapped the Sydney Thunder’s five-game winning streak.
Dropped ahead of this week’s Sydney Test after a horror run of form, Burns (52 off 38) seized control after Chris Lynn’s (30 off 16) exit as they chased down the Thunder’s 8-174 with five balls and five wickets to spare.
Burns peppered the long-on boundary with two early sixes at the Gabba then batted with composure to earn the Heat (3-4) a second-straight win after making just one in his BBL return on Saturday.
As Lynn departed following his injection into the game as an X-factor after missing four games with a hamstring injury, Burns and Joe Denly (50 off 36) ensured they collected all four points with a 90-run partnership.
Denly had some luck, Chris Green ducking under a would-be catch that went for six.
He hit 10 off his next two balls to swing the odds dramatically in the Heat’s favour, only to be stumped playing a rash shot from the next delivery.
Lewis Gregory then fell first ball but it brought in captain Jimmy Peirson, who eased his side home despite the loss of Burns just six runs from victory.
Earlier Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2-26) put the breaks on the Thunder’s promising start, collecting two tough catches and a run-out as well as taking the key scalps of Alex Hales (46 from 26) and Callum Ferguson (35 off 34).
Daniel Sams (37 off 18) tormented the Heat for the second time in three weeks, joining former Heat allrounder Ben Cutting (24 off 15) to boost the Thunder’s total.
Cutting was booed in his return to the Gabba after nine seasons with the Heat but shrugged it off as he and Sams took 20 off the 18th over.
Sams was hit on the helmet during his innings and, despite batting on, was substituted out at the break with concussion symptoms.
The victory means the Sydney Sixers remain on top of the ladder ahead of the Thunder, while the Heat jump the Perth Scorchers into sixth, one point behind Adelaide Strikers.
And it sets up a crucial clash with the Melbourne Stars on Thursday on the Gold Coast after the Stars moved into fourth after collecting maximum points in their upset of Hobart Hurricanes earlier on Monday.