A TV grab shows Thunder and Strikers players in the smoke at Manuka Oval.
A TV grab shows Thunder and Strikers players in the smoke at Manuka Oval.

Big Bash clash abandoned due to bushfire smoke

Update: Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond said the umpires made the right decision to call off Saturday night's Big Bash match in Canberra because of the hazardous smoke from the deadly bushfires - even though it cost his team a certain victory.

The Thunder captain Callum Ferguson was initially upset that the match was called off with his team on the verge of victory over the Adelaide Sixers - needing to face just four more balls to win under the Duckworth-Lewis system - but Bond said the correct call was made because the conditions were so bad.

"The air quality was poor, clearly, and there were people who went down in the stands, so we were prepared," Bond said.

 

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Smoke haze engulfed Manuka Oval, focing the players from the field in the Big Big clash between Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers. Picture: AAP
Smoke haze engulfed Manuka Oval, focing the players from the field in the Big Big clash between Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers. Picture: AAP

"We'd worked bloody hard, we were probably going to get a win so there's the emotion of it.

"Obviously he's disappointed, as we all are, but you have to stop to take a breath and say 'look, losing a point is not the same as losing your house', so there's some perspective there and there's people doing it really tough."

In scenes rarely ever seen before at a sports event in Australia, Manuka Oval was blanketed by thick haze from the blazes burning out of control at nearby Braidwood and Currowan.

The umpires, Paul Wilson and Sam Nogajski, stopped the match after 4.2 overs with Thunder 1-40 in reply to Adelaide's 5-161, but were unable to resume play because the smoke didn't clear.

 

A TV grab of the match being played in smoky conditions in Canberra.
A TV grab of the match being played in smoky conditions in Canberra.

The match was declared a no result with each team awarded a point and Nojaski explaining the fact Thunder were close to winning was not a factor in stopping the game.

"We were just hard and fast with ourselves in terms of what we felt the visibility and air quality (was) and left it at that," he said. "Unfortunately with another four balls you have a result but we can't take that into consideration."

It's the second time in a year that the Thunder have been denied victory in freakish circumstances after their match against the Brisbane Heat was called off when a power outage blacked out the lights at the Gabba.

 

 

A Sydney Thunder fans dons a face mask. Picture: AAP
A Sydney Thunder fans dons a face mask. Picture: AAP

That split game cost the Thunder a place in the semi-finals but Bond said he had no beef with the decision this time.

"We knew that there was a chance that the smoke was going to come in and we knew there would be some protocols around it and we said that when the umpires made a decision we would respect it," he said.

"There are plenty of people out there who are going through some difficult times so the fact you drop a point is nothing compared to that."

Adelaide coach Jason Gillespie agreed the umpires made the right call.

 

A TV grab of Strikers coach Jason Gillespie.
A TV grab of Strikers coach Jason Gillespie.

"It came in quick, it was a matter of deliveries," Gillespie said.

"'At the end of the day it's the players' safety we have to take into account. It's pretty unprecedented, and it's not just the players and the umpires and the like but we've got a lot spectators in here as well.

"It' is a bit unprecedented but these are the playing conditions that are in place and the umpires are just applying that.

"Being able to see the ball is pretty fundamental in our sport but also I think the respiratory situation is something that needs to be considered."



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