Brutal Banton blast rocks Thunder
IT was almost the night that never happened with rain threatening to wash out Monday night's clash between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder in Blacktown.
Instead, fans were treated to live-action Stick Cricket as English import Tom Banton blasted the second-fastest fifty in BBL history.
The 20-year-old went absolutely berserk in the rain-affected innings, crunching seven sixes and two fours before holing out for 56 from just 19 deliveries as the Heat posted a mammoth 4-119 from their eight overs.
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Banton's swath of sixes included five in a row from Arjun Nair, who could only watch in horror as the Englishman took him to cleaners at Spotless Stadium, while opening partner Chris Lynn continued his strong form with a quickfire 31 from 13 balls.
The pair passed 50 in just 17 balls and posted 90 for the first wicket with Max Bryant (12), Jack Prestwidge (9*) and Ben Cutting (7*) adding valuable runs at the death.
The shell-shocked Thunder were their own worse enemies in the field with Lynn put down by Nair and Daniel Sams early on and Ben Dogget carrying an outfield catch over the rope.
But the class of Banton could not be denied with the Somerset man posting his second BBL fifty after two failures in his past two outings.
"It was good fun, obviously I did the T10 tournament a couple of months ago in Abu Dhabi and it was pretty much the same (as that) just two overs less," Banton told Fox Cricket after his record knock.
"So Lynny was like "have a few balls to look" but I was like "I'm just going to go from ball one"."
"Last two games I haven't done well which has been disappointing but I think with the way I bat that's how its going to go sometimes."
Fox Cricket commentator and former big-hitter Andrew Symonds was in awe of Banton's timely knock.
"This was just the sort of innings that he needed," Symonds said.
"He struggled a little bit in the first part of the tournament and tonight he had no demons in regard to what he had to do.
"He just had to go out there and play freely and he did that and he made them pay, put the bowlers under pressure and they bowled error balls and he hit the error balls a long, long way."
In response, the Thunder posted 1-22 from 2.1 overs with Zahir Khan removing Usman Khawaja before rain forced another delay
Needing another 55 from 17 balls under a revised DLS target, the hosts then couldn't keep up with Ben Laughlin (1-16) and Jack Prestwidge (2-15) picking up the key wickets of Callum Ferguson and Chris Morris as Ben Cutting closed out a 16-run win.