A Big Bash League game between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder had to be bizarrely called off after the stadium lights at The Gabba stopped working. Sydney had put up a score of 186/4 thanks to skipper Shane Watson’s whirlwind 100 off 62 balls and had Brisbane tottering at 10/2 after the third over of the match when the players were taken off due to one of the light towers switching off.
Soon, there were more towers blacking out as it emerged that the entire city of Brisbane was under a power cut. The two umpires had a conversation with Watson and his counterpart Chris Lynn and the match had to be called off with no result.
Thunder coach Shane Bond was left fuming after the incident and the team itself lodged a formal protest against the incident. “There are grounds around the world that have worse lighting even with this light tower out, so that was disappointing,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“It’s a bad look for the competition and I think there needs to be some reflection or review … particularly when you have the ability to finish a game of cricket.” Bond said the match could have been reduced to a 15-over game “which I think everyone would’ve been happy with. We made an offer. We said we would in good faith play the entire (rest of the) game and bowl only our spinners. But then the excuse from the match referee and umpires was that conditions were now unsafe.”
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) 17 January 2019
The Thunder and Heat coaches (and former Black Caps teammates) address the contentious end to last night’s @BBL clash at the Gabba.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) 17 January 2019
Cricket New South Wales chief executive and Thunder’s general manager Lee Germon said that the venue had a responsibility to present the stadium for play because of which Thunder should get the points. “My view is that we should get the points, that’s my view,” Germon told the Sydney Morning Herald. “That’s based on the fact the venue has a responsibility to present the stadium for play. This is different from pouring down with rain for three hours or 15 minutes. This is about a fit-for-purpose stadium needing to be provided, and it wasn’t, obviously, because the lights went out.”
Germon said that events at the conclusion of the game appeared to run contrary to Cricket Australia’s own stated desire to “put fans first”.
“The thing for me that I’m struggling with is that we had 26,000 people in the stadium,” he said. “Big Bash goes to great extremes to always provide entertainment, and we saw that when we played through three overs of pouring rain at Spotless Stadium a couple of weeks ago against the same opposition.
“It was deemed safe then, so I can’t understand why it would not be deemed safe here when the lights were partially on. I have already made a phone call to Cricket Australia and I will be escalating that to Cricket Australia in terms of determining why this happened and what should be the outcome. It’s unacceptable this has happened.”
The venue is set to host a day-night Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia starting on the January 24 and Queensland Cricket chief Max Walters said the safety of patrons at the game was their key concern in areas of the stadium with no lights. “Queensland Cricket will continue to work with the venue to ensure patron comfort and safety for all of our events in the future,” he said. It was also announced in a statement thta Queensland Cricket and CA will offer fans free tickets to the first Test to be held at the venue.