When one thinks of reasons why a cricket game is abandoned, the common factors are rain, crowd trouble, dangerous pitch and a wet outfield. However, one game in Australia was abandoned not because of the above factors. The game was abandoned because of a power failure! Yes, it is a true story. The Big Bash League game between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder at the Gabba was abandoned because two floodlights and a number of overhead lights surrounding one half of the Gabba went out and could not be fixed in time for play to resume. This has generated plenty of controversy in a match which was shaping up to be an interesting one.
Sydney Thunder were boosted by a brilliant ton from Shane Watson, his first-ever in the Big Bash League. His 100 off 62 balls included eight fours and six sixes and it played a major part in the Sydney Thunder reaching 186/4. In response, Brisbane Heat lost Brendon McCullum (0) and Chris Lynn (4) as they were reduced to 10/2 in three overs. It was at that moment when a grid failure occurred which resulted in the blackout.
The umpires waited but the issue could not be sorted out. In the interim, fans tried to alleviate the problem by collectively shining the torches on their phones towards the middle. However, the umpires decided to abandon play at 9 PM local time and both Sydney Thunder and Brisbane Heat received one point each.
The decision has not gone down well with Shane Bond, former New Zealand pacer and coach of the Sydney Thunder. Bond believes that the conditions were good to have a game and that they had decided to bowl spin only. “We said we'd bowl our spinners because we want a game of cricket - obviously we're in a stronger position (than the Heat). The umpires have said … we think it's unsafe,” Bond told a TV station.
Daniel Vettori, Bond’s former New Zealand team-mate and coach of the Brisbane Heat, said match officials took a pragmatic view. “They used their discretion around what was right and what was wrong, and they stuck to their guns. We understand that facing spinners was not going to be a safety reason, but it's just difficult to see the ball, it wasn't as easy and it's just not consistent conditions for both teams,” Vettori said.
Australia batsman Callum Ferguson, part of the Sydney Thunder squad, also added his disappointment when he told Fox Sports about the decision to call play off. “We've felt like we've dominated the fixture for 23 overs and then the lights go out. It's a pretty frustrating situation,” Ferguson said.
With just one point for both teams, Sydney Thunder remained in third spot while Brisbane Heat were in sixth position.