Well it all comes down to this. The final chance to secure a place in the BBL10 final is here as the Perth Scorchers take on the Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval.
After 59 matches across two months, we are down to just three remaining teams as both these sides look to join the Sydney Sixers in the Final on Saturday Night. The Scorchers come into this off the back of a tough loss in the Qualifying Final where they were beaten by 9 wickets by a rampant Sixers’ side. That loss will have hurt after playing so well in the lead up to the finals and they will be itching to make amends here.
Brisbane on the other hand, pulled off a miraculous comeback in their do or die clash against the Thunder. The Heat were 3/70 after 12 overs, still needing 48 off 88 balls and had lost Chris Lynn early. Enter Sam Heazlett (74 off 49) who played the innings of his life to steer home an incredible chase and earn his side a spot in Tonight’s match.
Manuka Oval, Canberra. 4th February 2021, 7:40pm AEDT
Perth Scorchers Squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Jason Roy, Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Agar, Liam Livingstone, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Gannon, Jason Behrendorff, Matthew Kelly, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Colin Munro, Joe Clarke, Liam Guthrie, Corey Rocchiccioli
Brisbane Heat Squad: Chris Lynn (c), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Laughlin, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Jack Wildermuth, Lewis Gregory, Morne Morkel, James Bazley, Daniel Lawrence, Sam Heazlett, Jimmy Peirson, Mark Steketee, Xavier Bartlett, Matthew Willans, Lachlan Pfeffer, Simon Milenko, Jack Wood, Connor Sully, Joe Denly, Jack Sinfield
Looking across the history between these two teams will tell you all you need to know about how tight this match is going to be. The head to head record currently sits at 8-7 in favour of the Scorchers. They met twice in BBL10 with the Scorchers winning the first match and the Heat winning the rematch a week later. The fact the Scorchers, who most would agree were the better of the two team’s throughout the tournament, come into this off the back of a loss may just open the door for the in-form Heat to carry momentum to an upset victory.
With that in mind, I am going to side with Brisbane tonight to come out on top after showing a massive amount of fight to win the elimination final the other night. The biggest positive out of the match was their high quality bowling, who kept the Thunder to just 158 runs. The ‘spin twins’ Mitch Swepson and Marnus Labuschagne were again instrumental in the performance and have been a massive reason for the form of the Heat recently.
I also like the fact that skipper Chris Lynn struggled again the other night and his side still managed to pick up the pieces and come out on top. Their middle-order depth will need to shine again tonight against a Scorchers bowling lineup full of world-class talent. I think Lynn will bounce back in the biggest match of their season but it will give his team extra confidence to know that they can still score plenty of runs when he doesn’t contribute.
The Scorchers were shot to pieces by a clinical Sixers team in their last match where they looked flat and never really looked a winning chance at all. Their normally strong bowling cohort could only manage a single wicket as Sydney chased down 167 with three overs to spare. I have mentioned the importance of momentum all tournament and the Heat are the ones who will be flying high coming into this one.
Interestingly enough if you are one to look into superstitions, the first and only time the Heat won the BBL title back in 2013, Perth finished second at the end of the home and away season, while the Heat finished 4th. Let’s hope history can repeat itself!
As mentioned earlier, I am confident that Chris Lynn can put it all together when it matters. Lynn has been in good form for most of the tournament and fell to a rush of blood in their last match after looking good early. As the skipper he will know he needs to do better and will be keen to post a big score as they search for their first BBL title since 2013.
In their last meeting Lynn took the Scorchers bowlers to all parts, smashing 51 off 25 as he lead his side to a big win. In their biggest match of the season, the Heat will need their main man to stand up if they are to topple a desperate Perth team and I am confident that Lynn can play a major role tonight.
The skipper has been a touch disappointing in their last couple of matches where he has hit a boundary or two and then looks for the big shot again and gets out. If Lynn can settle himself early and get through the opening few overs, it will go a long way to posting a big score.
As I’ve mentioned a few times throughout the season, the Scorchers have such a deep batting lineup which makes it hard to focus on one player to top score. We haven’t had much luck with my mate Jason Roy so I think it’s time to look at the bowlers.
Jhye Richardson arguably was in the top three players in BBL10 across the whole tournament where his performances earned him a well-deserved call up to the Australian T20 squad. Richardson has taken a massive 27 wickets across the season and has taken three or more wickets on five occasions. He has easily been Perth’s best bowler and will need to be at his fiery best if his side are to win tonight.
Obviously you would expect Richardson and his fellow bowlers to still be hurting a little after their 9-wicket thrashing the other night so I think the youngster will be keen to bounce back in a big way. In a side where no batsmen really stands out, Richardson is the obvious top bowler and I am keen on him to show that tonight.
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