The Brisbane Heat will play finals this year after locking in a top four position following their seven-wicket win over the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Tuesday night.
Despite missing Bash Brothers Chris Lynn and skipper Brendon McCullum as well as Samuel Badree, the Heat bowled strongly and chased down Melbourne’s total with relative ease to move back into first position on the ladder with just one round to go.
The Stars elected to bat and the decision backfired immediately for the home side, as Mark Steketee was on a hat-trick with just the third ball of the match.
Rob Quiney and Kevin Pietersen went in the first two legal deliveries (first ball of the match was a wide), and the Stars were already under the pump at 2/1.
Wicketkeeper Seb Gotch joined opener Luke Wright at the crease, and the pair put on 55 before Gotch fell to spinner Mitch Swepson, who would follow in Steketee’s footsteps eight overs earlier.
Swepson bowled Marcus Stoinis for a golden duck the next ball to find himself on a hat-trick as well, but he was unable to convert.
David Hussey added 29 for the Stars as he joined Gotch and Wright as the only batsmen to make more than three runs, but Wright was carrying the side no matter his partner at the other end.
The Englishman finished unbeaten on 60 in his 50th BBL appearance for the Stars, and he led his side to a total of 7/138 at the end of their innings.
Without their batting superstars Brisbane knew they needed to get off to a strong start, and while it was better then Melbourne’s, they were still up against it after four overs.
Jimmy Peirson and Nathan Reardon fell early, but fortunately for the Heat Alex Ross and opener Sam Heazlett linked up to get Brisbane back in control of the contest.
Heazlett was dismissed on 39 with his side at 3/65, but former Test batsman Joe Burns came to the crease and put on a winning stand with Ross, as the pair combined for 74 runs to chase down Melbourne’s total with 11 balls remaining.
Zero Wicket’s votes
3. Alex Ross (Heat)
Ross top scored for the Heat with 46 from 40 and was the main factor with the bat as he led his side to an important victory.
2. Mitchell Swepson (Heat)
Just days after his surprise inclusion in the Test squad, Swepson put on a masterful display, taking 2-14 from his four overs with the wickets of Gotch and Stoinis even seeing him on a hat-trick.
- Joe Burns (Heat)
Fought hard alongside Ross to help the Heat chase down the total, and his 16 from three balls at the start of the 18th over saw the game put out of reach for the Stars late in the contest.