Not much went right for Gabba organisers but Chris Lynn still rode his luck to guide Brisbane Heat to a stirring three-wicket win over Perth Scorchers in their Big Bash League opener on Sunday night.
Lynn was dropped on 46 and caught off a no-ball on 70 but deservedly earned man-of-the-match honours with a blistering 53-ball 81 that helped Brisbane to 7-152 with two balls to spare in reply to Perth’s 7-151.
Lynn’s luck ran out when he was spectacularly caught on the boundary by the evergreen Brad Hogg (3-21) off Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-37), leaving Brisbane with four runs off three balls for victory.
Ben Cutting (15 not out) then leg glanced the next ball for four to seal the win and a perfect start to their title defence in the BBL grand final rematch in front of 19,264.
Brisbane’s winning hopes appeared to nose dive like the ground entertainment, “the Rocketman“, who plummeted to earth when his jet pack failed.
He gingerly got up and left while Gabba staff filled the healthy divot in the turf he created but there was more trouble when the Heat began their run chase.
Brisbane were reeling at 3-22 and 4-63 as the 42-year-old Hogg showed age had not slowed him down by ripping through the middle order.
And the Gabba faithful were again kept on their toes when Dan Christian (13) walked after being stumped off Hogg despite the third umpire mistakenly flashing “Not Out” on the big screen.
Christian - who was correctly not recalled by officials after the third umpire gaffe - also featured in another off-beat incident in what was an unusual night’s cricket, even for Twenty20.
Scorchers spinner Michael Beer tried to 'Mankad' Christian - trying to run out the non-striker as he backs up - not once but twice in an over as Perth appeared to buckle when Lynn applied the blowtorch.
Beer also dropped Lynn on 46 at fine leg off Coulter-Nile.
Lynn completed the over by thrashing three straight sixes.
Earlier, Mitch Marsh lifted the Scorchers with an unbeaten 57 off 35 balls in his first BBL match for Perth in more than a year due to injury.
Cutting (3-31) and Alister McDermott (3-38) impressed for Brisbane.
Brisbane looked on track for a perfect start to their title defence after reducing Perth to 6-94 in the 15th over in their BBL grand final rematch.
However, Marsh thrashed an unbeaten 57 off 35 balls including five fours and a six to guide the visitors out of trouble and to a competitive total.
Perth coach Justin Langer had expected big things from Marsh who was back in the BBL side after more than a year out of the side due to injury.
He missed all of last summer’s BBL plus the team’s recent sorry Champions League campaign in India due to a hamstring complaint.
At one stage it looked like his brother Shaun Marsh would be the Perth dangerman on Sunday night.
Last season’s BBL leading run-scorer thrashed three boundaries in quick time after the early loss of captain Simon Katich (10) and Sam Whiteman (six) to Alister McDermott (3-38).
But when he was brilliantly caught at midwicket by a diving Dan Christian off Ben Cutting (3-31) for a 30-ball 37, it sparked a slump of 4-23 that reduced the visitors to 6-94 before his sibling fired up.
The Scorchers cut left-arm quick Ryan Duffield and named one of their four spinners Ashton Turner 12th man.
The Heat were without Test players Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris.