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Prior insists he's no cheat as Heat win
By Joe Barton
23:05 AEST Fri Dec 28 2012

Sydney Thunder import Matt Prior insists he'd never "cheat a player out" as the England wicketkeeper avoided controversy over a dubious catch in Friday's five-wicket loss to the Brisbane Heat at ANZ Stadium.

Dan Christian starred for the Heat, taking five wickets as the home side were bowled out for just 126 before the runs were chased down with 20 balls remaining.

But much of the talk post-match surrounded the dismissal of Brisbane skipper James Hopes, which sparked a loss of 4-31 and threatened to turn the match before Chris Lynn smashed an unbeaten 51 off 38 balls to guide the visitors to just their second win of the season.

Prior, normally a wicketkeeper, was in unfamiliar territory at wide first slip when he claimed a catch off Dirk Nannes (2-31), though replays suggested Hopes was unlucky as the ball appeared to hit the grass before it reached Prior.

The jovial 30-year-old admitted he cringed when replays flashed up on the big screen but insisted he'd spoken to the umpires and that it was most certainly a fair catch.

"I looked up and thought `ooh, crikey, it doesn't look good'," Prior said afterwards.

"But I do think the cameras can sometimes make it look a little bit dodgy.

"I genuinely felt I caught it. I felt my finger underneath the ball and that's the thing you can't pick up on camera.

"I spoke to the umpire immediately and he agreed it looked absolutely fine to him. That's good enough for me."

It's not Prior's first controversial moment on Australian soil.

In 2011 he claimed Australian batsman Mitchell Johnson had been clean bowled in a one-day clash, despite knocking the bails off with his gloves.

"Ultimately you have to trust each other," he said.

"I'm not going to try and cheat someone out. That's the last thing I want to do."

Hopes queried the validity of the catch on the field before accepting Prior's word and trudging off while replays were shown on the big screen.

"He told me he caught it out there," Hopes said.

"... I've been playing this game a long time where replays can be deceiving, the best judge is normally the player, and if he says he caught it, that's good enough for me ... He's probably got his right hand under it."

The loss keeps the hapless Thunder, who slumped to their 10th defeat on the trot dating back to last season's horror show, rooted to the bottom of the ladder.

Even the free-hitting Chris Gayle, despite top-scoring, failed to reach any great heights scoring 28 at a run a ball, a relatively pedestrian rate for the man proclaimed as the best Twenty20 batsman in the world.

He put on 35 with Prior (18) before both were dismissed in Christian's first over - a massive turning point in the game.

Christian's figures of 5-26 are the best ever by a Heat bowler and the second-best from anyone this summer, trailing only Melbourne Stars firebrand Lasith Malinga's exceptional 6-7 against Perth.


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