McCullum and Lynn blast Heat to Duckworth-Lewis win over Thunder
Brendon McCullum finally rediscovered his form in the Big Bash League with a half-century as Brisbane Heat defeated Sydney Thunder by 15 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Brisbane had lost three of their opening four games, with McCullum amassing a combined 30 across those matches, but his 56 was the top score in an imposing 186-8 at Spotless Stadium on Tuesday.
McCullum had enjoyed fruitful partnerships with Max Bryant (36) and captain Chris Lynn (54), though the Heat's early momentum did not last as they lost six wickets for just 11 runs having been 155-2 in the 15th over.
Jonathan Cook's 3-27 aided Sydney's cause but the Thunder were always up against it when they lost Jos Buttler in the second over of their innings.
The forecasted rain arrived soon after and became so heavy that play had to be stopped with the hosts 34-2 after 5.3 overs - well shy of the DL par score at that stage, ensuring Brisbane picked up just their second victory of the competition.
McCULLUM MAKES HIS MARK
Only Chris Gayle has scored more Twenty20 runs than McCullum, who is closing in on 10,000 for his career, but the New Zealander had struggled in the opening games of the BBL.
The 37-year-old had reached double figures just once in his previous four innings and took some time to get going in this game as he contributed only six from the first 12 deliveries he faced.
However, he cleared the ropes at the end of the fifth over and kicked on from there in a 35-ball knock that included four maximums and three fours.
One of those sixes saw him bring up his fifty and though he was caught soon after when trying to guide Gurinder Sandhu down to the third-man region, this was a timely return to form for McCullum.
BUTTLER FAILS TO FINISH WITH A FLOURISH
One man who had not struggled in his first few matches was Sydney opener Buttler, who came into this match with more runs than anyone this season.
However, having smashed 268 in six appearances, Buttler could only muster five before he displayed indecision over whether to come forward or back and was out lbw to James Pattinson.
This was Buttler's final match before he departs for England's tour of the West Indies and he would surely have loved to sign off with a more significant contribution.
WATSON SMASHES MAMMOTH SIX BEFORE RAIN ARRIVES
Sydney's defeat would have been even heavier had Shane Watson not launched a monster maximum off Mujeeb Ur Rahman from what turned out to be the final ball of the game.
Watson clubbed a brutal blow that went a staggering 110 metres over the deep midwicket region and out of the stadium.
The umpires called a halt to proceedings at that point but at least the home fans could take some consolation in having witnessed Watson's huge hit.