A BBL 9 clash between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder was abandoned due to poor air quality on Saturday, December 21, with four balls remaining in the second innings for it to have constituted a match.

Thunder were 40-1 in 4.2 overs in their chase of 162, when play was suspended at the Manuka Oval in Canberra due to heavy smoke. Callum Ferguson, the Thunder captain, who was in the middle on a 14-ball 27* wasn’t happy with the decision, but the air quality had significantly worsened since the beginning of the match, and the umpires believed the conditions weren’t safe to play in.

Shane Bond, the Thunder coach, said he “absolutely” understood the need for play to be suspended. “We’ve got four balls to finish the game, and we were hoping to get the game done,” he told Fox Cricket before play was abandoned.

Over half an hour after play was stopped, there was no change in the conditions.  At 9.15 pm local time, the match was called off, with both teams sharing a point each, the same as a rained out fixture.

The smoke is a result of wild bushfires across New South Wales and South Australia that, along with a heatwave crisis, has plagued the country this summer.

[caption id=”attachment_131908″ align=”alignnone” width=”800″]BBL poor air quality A member of the crowd wears a breathing mask at the BBL due to poor air quality[/caption]

“I absolutely understand, air quality is poor – and it’s easy for us.”

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“We were just hoping the umpires would push through to finish the game.”

Sam Nogajski, one of the umpires, said the suspension was due to problems with both “visibility and air quality”.

His colleague Paul Wilson told Fox Cricket: “I understand that the Thunder have four balls to go. We can’t take that into consideration. It’s about air quality. We would not have started (the match) like this.”

A statement issued by BBL after the game’s abandonment said: “The league and all clubs wish to reiterate that our thoughts and best wishes are with the people and communities affected by the current bushfire emergency.”