The Brisbane Heat hit their highest BBL11 total to date when they beat the Adelaide Strikers with 39 runs at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.
Although the main attraction didn’t fire Chris Lynn for the Heat again, the crowd was spurred on by the damaging stints of Ben Duckett and Sean Heazlett.
The Strikers have only taken one win in their first five games while the Heat are now 2-3.
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Heat skipper Jimmy Peirson won the bat-flip and chose to hit first for a match where both sides came up with a 1-3 record.
Star Heat opener Chris Lynn was again unable to fire for his team and was sacked for 10 in the first over of the game. Lynn already had a subpar record against the Strikers, averaging just 16.5 of his 13 games – his lowest batting average against any BBL team in his career.
First-drop Tom Cooper had a brilliant start to his innings with 16 runs from his first four balls before being caught by Peter Siddle LBW to exit Heat 2-34.
Despite the two early wickets, Max Bryant found his rhythm during the power play and particularly liked George Garton when the heat reached 2-64 after six overs.
Bryant worked his way up to 32 before being caught in the deep middle of the wicket in front of Rashid Khan’s bowling, although the Strikers-spinner looked “headstrong” at times, according to Fox Cricket’s Brendon Julian.
After his second over, Rashid hobbled off the field for medical help. He seemed to prefer a left finger during his bowling spell, while also coming into play with a slight knee problem, but returned to the field shortly afterwards.
Fawad Ahmed, the leg spinner of the other strikers, slowed the heat’s scoring rate, conceding just 15 runs from his first three overs before finishing 0-25.
But with every over, Ben Duckett’s confidence grew. That confidence grew to a new level when the Strikers made a “brave” move, according to Julian, and selected part-time Matt Short at 13th. The result was the Heat put down a whopping 20 runs from the over, including three limits for the Englishman Duckett when he put up his first 50 for the BBL summer.
“What an over this is for the Brisbane Heat, a big momentum changer,” Michael Vaughan told Fox Cricket as the heat jumped from 13 overs to 3-129.
Frugal overs by Rashid (only three runs conceded) and Wes Agar (five) slowed down the innings of the Heat until Garton came back to bowling – and the Heat fell. Duckett and Sam Heazlett combined a whopping 26 runs from Garton’s Over. It was Power Surge’s second over, reaching 42 for the Heat in the end – the biggest ever by BBL11.
But just as the heat was buzzing, Rashid joined them and removed both Duckett (78) and Heazlett (49) thanks to great outfield catches. The 114-person partnership between Duckett and Heazlett was the third-highest in BBL11 to date and the sixth-highest fourth wicket partnership in BBL history.
Outside of Peirson’s two boundaries, the Strikers bowled well in the last three overs to ultimately narrow the heat to 7-208 – the third highest total for BBL11 to date.
A great start for Matt Short included back-to-back sixes in the opening before Matthew Kuhnemann footed him two balls later as Short again failed to convert an impressive opening into a lengthy stay.
Next up was Mark Steketee’s turn to compound the Strikers’ troubles when Jake Weatherald’s third ball rammed the ball into the stump.
“It’s just one of those formats when it starts to run against you, all you have to do is play your punches … with a few early wickets it gets so difficult for the Strikers,” said Vaughan.
While the wickets dried up for a while after that, the Strikers were still struggling to collect enough runs to threaten early, with 40 runs from their first five overs.
Liam Guthrie had Jon Wells beg for an upside strike as Wells continued to build his overall build, breathing life into the Strikers’ hopes.
“You have to be careful here at the Brisbane Heat – I know they have 208 on the board but they don’t want to get too sloppy,” said commentator Brendon Julian.
Wells kept firing, scoring 50 of 37 balls, including five fours and one six.
He was a lone hand for the strikers, however, with Matt Renshaw sacked for 22 by a ball from James Bazley and a catch from Ben Duckett.
Thanks to solid teamwork in the field, Wells went after 55 runs.
As the pressure on the Strikers to catch up on runs increased, Harry Nielsen was the next to cross the finish line after just eight deliveries.
George Garton stunned the Adelaide Oval crowd with three straight sixes but was sent over LBW when the heat calmed down and looked confident of victory.
“You just go back to the Strikers with the ball in hand, they weren’t nearly as good as they can get,” Vaughan mused.
Thomas Kelly showed some good omens late on with a solid stint on the archway, 27 balls out of 22, but it couldn’t change the outcome of the game as the Heat led to a win in 39 runs.
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Adelaide Strikers XI: Jake Weatherald, Matt Short, Matt Renshaw, Jon Wells, Thomas Kelly, Harry Nielsen (WK), George Garton, Rashid Khan, Wes Agar, Peter Siddle (C), Fawad Ahmed, Henry Hunt (X-Faktor), Daniel Worrall ( X Faktor)
Brisbane Heat XI: Max Bryant, Chris Lynn, Ben Duckett, Sam Heazlett, Tom Cooper, Jimmy Peirson (C und WK), James Bazley, Mark Steketee, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Matthew Kuhnemann, Liam Guthrie, Jack Wildermuth (X-Faktor), Xavier Bartlett ( X Faktor)
Recap the game on the blog below! Can’t see the blog? Press here
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