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Munro 98 in vain as Thunder hold nerve at the death

Brisbane Heat opener Colin Munro put on a superb batting display, but it wasn’t quite enough to save the bottom-placed club from another BBL loss to Sydney Thunder. Thunder triumphed once more at Metricon Stadium on Thursday, defeating Heat by 11 runs despite a spectacular 98 from Munro, two days after defeating Heat by 10 wickets.

Heat later regretted their choice to bowl first as Thunder amassed their highest season total. Gurinder Sandhu, the Thunder’s strike bowler, suffered a left calf injury when delivering the opening ball of the Heat’s inning, which casts question on his fitness to play against the Hobart Hurricanes on Saturday.

Things seemed grim when the Heat were down to 14 for 2 in the second over, but Munro stayed calm and ensured the Heat continued moving forward at a good rate with great hitting while wickets dropped all around him.

Munro only batted once for Heat, hitting three sixes and nine fours while maintaining a strike rate of 185 over the course of his 53-ball innings. Unfortunately for the New Zealander, not many of his colleagues remained to assist in the run chase.

James Bazley (29 off 24 balls) was the only one to offer significant assistance, partnering with Munro for a 48-run sixth-wicket stand. Heat went 26 balls without a boundary until spinners Chris Green and Usman Qadir applied the brakes between the 13th and 16th overs, raising the needed run rate over 12.5.

Additionally, Heat’s task grew exceedingly challenging when Qadir had Bazley plumb lbw with 16 balls remaining. One of three wickets fell in the span of five balls after a contentious ball change in the penultimate over, when Munro was caught by Nathan McAndrew at deep midwicket.

Daniel Sams, Alex Ross, and Oliver Davies’ late pyrotechnics contributed to Thunder’s intimidating score. Sams was especially deadly, hitting four sixes, two of which against Mitchell Swepson went into the second tier. Sams also smashed two sixes in quick succession.

A 57-run second-wicket stand between Rilee Rossouw and Matthew Gilkes earlier in the innings helped Thunder get off to a strong start. The best bowler for the Heat was James Bazley, who was the lone addition to the lineup for this game. He finished with 4 for 22 from his four overs and completed a hat-trick in the last over.

When Jimmy Peirson, the captain of the Heat, attempted to hook McAndrew down the leg side, wicketkeeper Gilkes made one of the catches of the year by diving to his left at full stretch and making a magnificent one-handed hold.

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