County cricket fans will be no strangers to the rare, special talents possessed by Somerset batsman Tom Banton, but even they might not have seen anything quite like his six-hitting bonanza for Brisbane Heat in their latest BBL game.
Batting first against Sydney Thunder in a fixture reduced to eight overs a side due to rain, a player who never needs much invitation had complete licence to tee off from ball one, and duly did so. Banton pulled the first delivery of the match, bowled by fast bowler Daniel Sams, for six, and after three balls had 14 runs, having audaciously reverse-swept the third ball of the innings for four as well.
Meanwhile, in Australia…pic.twitter.com/2wrjmuERyg
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 6, 2020
He and opening partner Chris Lynn were soon matching each other shot for shot, but in the fourth over of the game, Banton pulled away, smashing off-spinner Arjun Nair for five consecutive sixes. The 30 runs conceded off the over were a joint-record for the most expensive over in the BBL.
The final blow took Banton to his half-century, off just 16 balls, meaning he claimed second place in the list of fastest fifties in the BBL, behind Chris Gayle’s 12-ball effort for Melbourne Renegades against Adelaide Strikers in 2016, and joint-second in the list of fastest fifties by an Englishman, behind fellow Somerset favourite Marcus Trescothick, who made a 13-ball half-century for the Taunton club against Hampshire in 2010.
Brisbane Heat finished on 119-4 in eight overs, a run rate of 14.87 runs per over. Only three times before has a team scored as quickly in the first innings of a T20 game, and only once has such a high run rate been achieved in the BBL, when Max Bryant and Ben Cutting knocked off Melbourne Stars’ target of 157 in exactly 10 overs.