The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips Sydney Thunder and Brisbane lock horns in the Knockout.
History: Played 13: Heat 9 V Thunder 3 (1 No Result)
Last meeting: January 4, 2021: Heat d Thunder by 5 wickets at The Gabba
Final Thoughts: Third-placed Sydney Thunder host the Knockout, but can they halt the bolstered Brisbane Heat’s late-season momentum?
The Heat won the Eliminator against the Strikers by six wickets. Test star Marnus Labuschagne’s late-season arrival has given the Queensland outfit a massive boost – with the ball as much as the bat. Labuschagne took 3/13 as the Strikers limped to 7/130. Mitch Swepson, another Test squad member, has also added plenty and took his third straight two-wicket haul.
Joe Denly (41 off 40) and Jimmy Peirson (47* off 47) then calmly steered the Heat through with seven balls to spare after a very shaky 3/23 start.
The Thunder secured third spot with a comfortable nine-wicket win over the Strikers in a rain-reduced 14-over match. Adelaide made 4/115, before Alex Hales (63* off 29) and Callum Ferguson (46* off 33) powered the Sydneysiders to victory with 11 balls left.
Hales (535 runs at 41.15) finished way out in front in the BBL’s runscoring standings. Ferguson (380 at 31.66) was the Thunder’s next best batsmen during the regular season.
Honours shared so far this season
The teams split their BBL|10 regular season encounters, picking up a home win apiece.
The Thunder prevailed by four wickets with seven balls to spare in Canberra during the opening week of the campaign. Chris Lynn (69 off 44) guided the Heat to 6/178 but Daniel Sams’ (65* off 25) sensational knock got the Thunder home.
The Heat responded with a five-wicket win with five balls to spare in Brisbane as their resurgence gathered momentum. Alex Hales (46 off 26) top-scored for the Thunder (8/174) but a 90-run stand from Joe Burns (52 off 38) and Joe Denly (50 off 36) put the Heat in a winning position.
The Heat will be relying on a bigger contribution with the bat from Chris Lynn and Labuschagne after both went cheaply in the Eliminator. But I’m expecting the Heat’s roll to continue and earn them a shot at a place in the Final.