Australian international Spencer Johnson is toasting his performance as player of the match in Brisbane’s victory over the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash final.
But the champagne has been held and replaced by… fried chicken.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Spencer Johnson receives ‘KFC Medal’ as player of the final.
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Johnson took the best ever figures in a BBL final with 4-26 to wipe out any hope of the Sixers chasing down the 167-run target.
For that the late-blooming left-armer was announced as the best performer on Wednesday night — and his reward was unusual to say the least: a KFC-branded medal.
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The physical award didn’t seem to bother the 27-year-old but it did raise a few questions from fans, including whether it came with any perks.
“This is the most wonderful trophy in world sport and we must properly honour the KFC Medal,” journalist Josh Butler wrote.
“You’d hope it comes with a voucher for a few Zinger boxes.”
Spencer Johnson took home two medallions from the Big Bash final. Credit: Jason McCawley/Cricket Australia via Getty Images
Economist Greg Jericho added: “Goes into nearest KFC, slaps the medallion in the counter — ‘give me all the chicken I can eat’.”
Another fan said: “If that medal got me free KFC for the rest of the year I’d wear it every day.”
Johnson’s sponsored award did include a donation in his name to the KFC Youth Foundation.
The medal itself was described as ‘absolutely hideous’, ‘embarrassing’ and ‘the lamest medal I’ve ever seen’ but there were others who saw some fun in it.
“Honestly if you’re my friend and a KFC Medal isn’t my 37th birthday present this year, are you really my friend?”
“That KFC medal is objectively hilarious. I would also like to purchase one.”
Johnson, who only debuted in the Big Bash last summer, paid tribute to the Heat for putting him on his current trajectory.
“You’ve changed my life,” he said.
“Thank you for everything.”
His effort with the ball came after fellow late bloomer Josh Brown hit 53 from 38 balls to set the tone for the Heat.
“I don’t think it’ll sink in for a while,” Johnson said.
“That’s something that you don’t go into games thinking about. You just want to hopefully contribute and hopefully win.”
Brisbane Heat lift the Big Bash League trophy after beating Sydney Sixers in the final at the SCG. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP
Johnson broke the back of the Sixers early when he bowled Jack Edwards for 16 after the Sixers had taken 13 runs from the first five balls of the over.
He also bagged the key wicket of Josh Philippe for 22 when the right-hander was caught at mid wicket, before returning to remove Ben Dwarshuis and Hayden Kerr with his pace and bounce.
Johnson’s wickets stunted any hope the Sixers had of chasing down the target, with COVID-battling captain Moises Henriques the only batter to reach 25.
Mitchell Swepson (2-19) also sent down the best ball of the game, beating Jordan Silk with flight and turn to have him stumped for a fourth-ball duck.
The Heat’s win comes after they were beaten in the last over of last year’s final, while the Sixers remain stuck on three titles from seven appearances in deciders.
Sean Abbott held the hosts together with the ball with 4-32, but they were always facing an uphill battle chasing 167 on what has been a low-scoring ground this season.
“It’s a bit disappointing,” vice-captain Daniel Hughes said.
“We had a great year, so we can’t we can’t be too upset with how we played this year. We just didn’t get it right tonight.”
– with AAP