The Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for the Challenger – a do-or-die showdown between Perth Scorchers and Brisbane Heat for a place in the Final.
History: Played 15: Scorchers 8 V Heat 7
Last meeting: January 26, 2021: Heat d Scorchers by 6 runs at Adelaide Oval
Final Thoughts: It’s the penultimate match of the BBL|10 season. Brisbane Heat are aiming to continue their sudden-death charge against the second-seeded Perth Scorchers in the Challenger, with the winner to face Sydney Sixers in Saturday’s Final.
The Heat are on a four-match winning streak, including a clutch six-run victory over the Scorchers on the last day of the regular season to scrape into the playoffs.
Chris Lynn (51 off 25) and Marnus Labuschagne (46 off 38) laid the platform for Brisbane’s first-inning s 7/181. Lewis Gregory (36 off 23) also chipped in handily in the middle order.
The Scorchers made an excellent start before the spin of Labuschagne (3/35) and Mitchell Swepson (2/20) turned the match on its head. In a seemingly hopeless spot at 5/94 in the 14th over, Mitch Marsh (54* off 26) went agonisingly close to extinguishing the Heat’s campaign.
Perth powered to a 59-run win over Brisbane a week earlier. Colin Munro’s fourth half-century in five games – a sizzling 82 off 54 balls – steered to 5/174. Brisbane crumbled to 115 all out with Fawad Ahmed (3/24), Jhye Richardson (3/10), Jason Behrendorff (2/17) and Andrew Tye (2/12) all cashing in.
Playoffs form: Heat hot, Scorchers fizzle
The Heat have disposed of the Strikers (6 wickets) and Thunder (7 wickets) in the playoffs. Labuschagne and Swepson again combined for five wickets to help restrict the Strikers to just 7/130, before Jimmy Peirson (47* off 44) successfully steered a shaky chase home with seven balls left.
Sam Heazlett (74* off 49) and Peirson (43* off 24) put on a blistering, unbeaten 92-run stand off just 43 balls to run down the target of 159 set by the Thunder.
The Scorchers lost the Qualifier to the Sixers by nine wickets. Josh Inglis (69 off 41) and Ashton Turner (33 off 22) lifted them to a decent 6/167, but none of the Scorchers bowlers could make an impression as the Sixers reached the target with three overs to spare.
The form surge of Peirson and Heazlett to complement reliable top-order stars Lynn and Labuschagne is a huge boost for the Heat. Labuschagne and Swepson have also added a new dimension to the Brisbane attack since returning from Test duty.
The Scorchers, $1.70 favourites, have no shortage of batting firepower – including imports Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone and Colin Munro. They’ve also got the BBL’s top wicket-taker in Jhye Richardson.
But momentum counts for plenty and it looks a great chance of carrying the underdog Heat into their first Final since winning BBL|02.