Heat In Must-Win Contest With BBL Frontrunner

Picture: Getty Images/heraldsun.com.au
James Hopes starred in Brisbane's win over the Stars last tournament. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Getty Images

You can consider their first four wins a warning shot; the Stars’ demolition job on Adelaide on Thursday night has now confirmed Melbourne’s green team the side to beat in this season’s Big Bash. To restrict the Strikers to just 90 runs on a pitch which appeared to have few demons when the Stars batted, was a phenomenal effort. To then reach that target with over 12 overs remaining gave an indication of the power this outfit possesses.

It’s not an ideal time for reigning champion, Brisbane Heat , to be playing a must-win match, especially with a couple of injury concerns. Former Australia representative Nathan Hauritz will miss the clash at the ‘Gabba with a calf injury while fellow spinner Daniel Vettori is battling a back problem. In-form batsman Joe Burns is also out with Ben McDermott, the younger brother of paceman Alister, coming into the 13-man matchday squad.

The good news for Heat is that Stars guns James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell and Clint McKay are all on national team duty with the one-day side. Regardless, they’ll still have to deal with a side in red-hot form and a pair of imports starting to warm up. Luke Wright probably would have smashed the fastest 50 in Big Bash history against the Strikers if he hadn’t been dismissed on 49 while Lasith Malinga finally unleashed with a couple of unplayable yorkers in his tally of 2/8 off four overs.

Brisbane kept its hopes of retaining its title alive with a vital victory over hapless Sydney Thunder last round. Middle order batsman Chris Lynn remains in sparkling form after cracking 56 off 35 balls while Ben Cutting was given a long-overdue promotion in the batting order smacking three 6s in hammering an unbeaten 25 at almost two runs per ball. They’re still struggling at the top with Luke Pomersbach and Craig Kieswetter yet to put together a substantial partnership .

Heat won the corresponding clash last season with skipper James Hopes top-scoring as opener before picking up three wickets with the ball . Beanpole Cameron Gannon has been the best of Brisbane’s bowlers this Big Bash with 10 wickets in the tournament so far, including 4/10 in the win over Thunder.

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