Marnus Labuschagne should not have been on strike to face the ball that dismissed him in the Big Bash League on Wednesday night.
The Aussie Test batter was, along with national teammate Usman Khawaja, permitted to play a one-off game for the Brisbane Heat during the break between Australia’s series win over Pakistan and the first Test against West Indies next week.
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And his stay at the crease for his domestic franchise was going well, too, until he got a thin edge through to Josh Inglis behind the stumps, attempting to late cut Perth Scorchers quick Lance Morris, and had to go for a well made 45 from 33.
But he shouldn’t have even been on strike.
As picked up by 7Cricket’s commentators at the time, Labuschagne took a single off the last ball of the previous over, meaning he should have been on strike to face the first ball of Morris’s over.
Inexplicably, though, his partner Sam Billings was on strike for the first ball in what could only be explained as a blunder by the players that was also missed by the umpires.
Billings took a single off the first ball of the Morris over, switching the strike back to Labuschagne, who was then dismissed that ball.
“How did that happen?” Jason Richardson said on commentary.
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Marnus Labuschagne was dismissed when he should not have been on strike. Credit: Albert Perez/Getty Images
It mattered little for the Heat in the end as they stayed unbeaten at the top of the BBL table, and booked a home qualifying final with a 23-run win over Perth on the back of a stunning all-round Michael Neser performance.
Neser’s unbeaten 64 from 30 deliveries, his highest score in the BBL, was the match-turning innings at the Gabba on Wednesday that lifted the Heat to 6-191 after they had been 5-91 in the 13th over and in dire trouble.
Allrounder Neser (2-31) then shone with the ball and in the field. He removed the dangerous Zac Crawley (13) early and topped it off with a brilliant running catch at deep mid-on to dismiss Josh Inglis (28 off 20) just when he was looking dangerous.
The Heat fast bowlers turned the screws to restrict the Scorchers to 9-168 despite the best efforts of Laurie Evans (51 off 20). Heat speed demon Spencer Johnson (2-23) bowled at 140 kph in a fiery and productive spell.
The Heat moved to 16 points, five clear of defending champions Perth and in an unassailable position.
They will now host the BBL qualifier on the Gold Coast on January 19 against the team that finishes second, with the winners going through to the final.
Michael Neser blasted a half-century in the BBL clash at the Gabba between the Heat and Scorchers. Credit: AAP
Their tactic of delaying the power surge until the 18th over reaped rewards, with Neser and Billings plundering 30 in 12 balls.
Neser walloped 20 off the last over from Jason Behrendorff, including three sixes.
The Heat batted first after skipper Usman Khawaja won the bat flip.
Khawaja, displaying the dove and olive branch of peace on his bat and shoes to draw attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, raced to 14 off eight deliveries. He broke his first bat after just facing four balls.
The Heat were unable to break away early, losing wickets at regular intervals on the back of disciplined bowling early from the Scorchers.
Spinner Ashton Agar (2-29 off four) showcased his class to restrict the Heat batters, picking up Matt Renshaw (18 off 15).
The Heat will be without their Test stars in the finals, along with batters Sam Billings and Colin Munro, who will join their International League T20 teams in the United Arab Emirates.
– With AAP