On this day in 2015: Brett Lee finishes his cricket career in a thrilling fashion

Brett Lee

He was fast. He was brutal. And, when he was at his best, the opposition batsmen shuddered. Brett Lee was a phenomenon in the world of cricket and generated an amalgamation of both fear and respect in the cricketing world. Fear, because he was fast, and could bowl searing bouncers and toe crushing Yorkers. And respect, because he was an important member of the lethal Australian bowling attack, and retired as the leading wicket-taker for Australia in ODI’s alongside Glenn McGrath.

And, on January 28th 2015, Brett Lee played the last professional cricket match of his career, turning out for the Sydney Sixers against the Perth Scorchers in a pulsating final of the 2015 Big Bash League. On the all-important day of the summit clash, the Sydney Sixers won the toss and chose to get their willows out.

After a poor start, where they were reduced to 7/2, skipper Moises Henriques stepped up to the task, scoring a 57-ball 77. Ryan Carters too scored a useful unbeaten 35, as the Sixers put up a fighting total of 147 on the board.

The chase would be a tricky one, as the Sixers had a good bowling attack, in Brett Lee, Nathan Lyon and Doug Bollinger. The Scorchers started the chase in riveting fashion, as the duo of Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger put on 70 runs for the first wicket. Skipper Adam Voges chipped in with a breezy 13-ball 20, and the Scorchers’ scorecard read 113/2 after 16.4 overs when Voges departed.

The equation soon boiled down to 8 runs off the final over. Lee had the ball in hand. Could Lee help his side to a sensational win?

The first ball was a low full toss which was scooped by Michael Carberry for four. Off the next delivery, Carberry picked up a couple. The third delivery resulted in a single. That reduced the equation to 1 run off 3 balls. Easy victory, right?

But then, Lee’s fighting spirit came to the fore. He bowled a toe crushing yorker, and Nathan Coulter Nile’s stumps were uprooted. There was more drama that was awaiting. Sam Whiteman was again cleaned up off the next delivery, and Lee had scalped two wickets in two balls. One run needed off one ball now. But then, off the final delivery, Yasir Arafat scampered through for a single, and the Scorchers reached the target off the last ball of the match.

And, that also meant that it was the final glimpse that the cricketing world would get of Brett Lee. A career that spanned more than a decade came to an end on January 28th 2015. Lee will surely go down as one of Australia’s greatest bowlers ever. Apart from picking up 380 wickets in the ODI format, the pace bowling legend also scalped 310 wickets in Test cricket. Brett Lee was indeed a rare commodity. He was explosive, could make the ball move both ways, had clever variations up his sleeve and was lethal with both the old and new ball. In short, he was a bowler that the cricketing world was privileged to witness.