Sydney Thunder opener Alex Hales has refuted suggestions his back-tracking fielding on the edge of circle is against the spirit of the game, as his side eliminated Hobart from the BBL.
The Hobart Hurricanes snuck into the Big Bash League finals after a comprehensive 40-run win over the Brisbane Heat on Thursday at Bellerive.
The Hurricanes will finish fourth, despite just three wins from their eight games, and meet the Melbourne Stars in a semi-final at the MCG next month.
A washout at home against the Adelaide Strikers provided the Hobart side with the crucial extra point.
Queenslanders proved the Heat’s chief tormentors with BBL leading run-scorer Ben Dunk (87 from 53 balls) making his third half-century of the season and spinner Cameron Boyce taking 3-21.
Needing to make a BBL record total to win after the Hurricanes made 7-209, the Heat finished on 8-169.
The Hurricanes exacted their revenge after the Heat knocked them out of finals contention last year before going on to win the trophy.
For the Heat, Luke Pomersbach kept hopes alive while he remained at the crease before falling for 60 from 32.
His side appeared to be setting themselves up at 0-50 but were suddenly 3-53 after a double strike from Englishman Dimitri Mascarenhas (2-42) in the sixth over and a wicket to Boyce in the seventh.
It was 5-85 when Ben Laughlin (2-38) removed Pomersbach before a Ben Cutting (35 from 21) rearguard action was ended by Boyce.
Earlier, Dunk continued his superb Big Bash form as the Hurricanes fell one short of the tournament record.
The former Queenslander hit six boundaries and three sixes, getting his side off to a flyer with Tim Paine (47 from 28) before the skipper fell in the 10th over at 1-98.
Dunk is the competition’s leading run-scorer with 338 at 56.33 and a strike rate of 146.32.
Dunk said his side would be undaunted by the Stars’ undefeated season so far.
“You have to beat the best at some stage to win the trophy,” he said.
“If we can take that sort of performance into next week we’ll give the semi-final a really big shake.”
Heat skipper James Hopes said his side’s season had been one of missed opportunities.
“It came down to tonight, which it shouldn’t have, and we got outplayed by a better team,” he said.