Sam Hain’s fairytale story continues as he prepares for tomorrow’s Big Bash final.
Hain, a Gold Coast native, has returned to Brisbane Heat, the Club he started almost 20 years ago, with instant success.
Waiting in the wings, Hain got his opportunity to replace Sam Billings as an overseas player in early January and is now playing a valuable role in the Heat’s middle order.
After a slow start, Hain’s introduction coincided with a run of four wins from four that catapulted the side into the qualification places and a chance to control their fate.
A disappointing defeat in Hobart subsequently bought them back to earth, but finishing in fifth meant the Heat could still reach the final with away wins against Sydney Thunder, Melbourne Renegades and Sydney Sixers.
Underdogs in all three matches, the Heat ticked off the first two in emphatic fashion with the third looking a formality.
Sixers, with a whole host of international talent, could only reach 116/9, but with the pressure and changing conditions got back in the game by restricting the visitors to 56/5.
Step forward Michael Neser whose 48 (32 balls) was the top score in the match and ensures Hain, alongside some former academy teammates, will face Perth Scorchers in the final.
“It was a weird game to watch, but we’re all buzzing,” Hain said via Zoom after the game. “You’re just sort of hoping for one or two partnerships and that’s what it was.
“At the halfway stage it was hard to tell whether that was a good score and chasing a game, in those circumstances, is always tricky. I got out and you know the next batter is going to face the squeeze and even though it’s just a run-a-ball it’s tough.
“But credit to Michael, what an innings. It was the highest score in the game and his seven boundaries matched the whole of Sydney’s innings. We knew the surge would be important because we’ve talked about it a lot. Early in the competition, we found that we lost wickets to trying to get the run rate, whereas now we’re not putting pressure on ourselves and it won us the game.”
With their win over Sydney coming on Thursday (UK time), Heat checked out of their hotel and headed west to the Optus Stadium.
A sold-out crowd of 53,000 is expected, and with Perth playing on home turf, Hain doesn’t expect too many cheering for Heat.
“My parents are talking about getting tickets, but it’s a six-hour flight,” Hain added. “Perth has been one of, if not the strongest team in the competition, but anything can happen in a final.
“We’ve been pretty similar to the Bears in 2014. We were bottom after five, six, and seven games and then the boys get confidence and people come to the party at different stages. It’s the first experience that I’ve had outside of Warwickshire, but you can tell that same passion is still there because I love winning. I don’t put too much pressure on myself as much as I once did, so I’m trying to embrace it and enjoy it.
“It’s one game, the big dance, and we’re ready. We’ll wait and see.”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.