The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for the first match of the playoffs, a sudden-death clash between Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers.
History: Played 13: Strikers 8 V Heat 5
Last meeting: January 21, 2021: Strikers d Heat by 82 runs at Adelaide Oval
Final Thoughts: Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers get the BBL|10 playoffs underway at The Gabba on Friday. The winner of the Eliminator advances to face Sydney Thunder on Sunday; the loser is gone.
The Strikers won both games between the teams this season, including an early-season thriller in Brisbane. The visitors scratched their way to 6/150, despite Matt Renshaw top-scoring with a modest 32 off 28. Number seven Jimmy Peirson scored a blistering 69 not out of 36 balls as the Heat fell two runs short.
The result was far more emphatic in Adelaide last week, the Strikers powering to an 82-run victory. Alex Carey (101 off 62) blasted a brilliant century in their total of 5/197. Wes Agar (4/27) was the chief destroyer as the Heat crumbled to 115 all out.
But the Heat recovered from that beatdown to win their last two games and scrape into the finals. Chris Lynn half-centuries underpinned solid first-innings totals in defeats of the Renegades (26 runs) and Scorchers (6 runs).
Lynn has top-scored in six of the Heat’s last seven games, including five scores of 48 or more. Meanwhile, Test star Marnus Labuschagne has been a valuable late-season addition with bat and ball. In three outings, he has scored 28, 49 and 46, while also taking six wickets. Mitchell Swepson has also made an impact with the ball since returning from Test team duty.
The Strikers finished fifth after losing their last game to the Thunder by nine wickets. In a rain-shortened 14-over allotment, the Strikers made 4/115 on the back of Jake Weatherald’s sizzling 80* off 47. The Thunder cruised to the target with 11 balls to spare.
Despite playing only 10 games, Lynn (420 runs at 42) edged past Carey (412 runs at 34.33) into third on the BBL|10 runscoring charts.
The Heat’s Mark Steketee is second in the BBL with 22 wickets, but he is one of the competition’s most expensive bowlers (9.44 economy rate). Agar and Peter Siddle have 39 wickets between them for the Strikers.
Adelaide boast more batsmen with a penchant for going on to make a big score. But Brisbane have several players contributing handy runs of late, while Labuschagne’s dynamic all-round performances have provided the Heat with an extra edge. I’m leaning towards the hosts in a thriller.