Annabel Sutherland has captained the Stars to an upset win over the Heat after skipper Meg Lanning withdrew from the game for personal reasons.
Heat stumble against Sutherland-led Stars
Brisbane Heat have had a second consecutive stumble in their bid to secure a berth in the WBBL|09 finals, falling to the Melbourne Stars by 15 runs.
The Heat could have locked in their finals spot with victory over the struggling Melbourne side but fell short of their target of 157, with Annabel Sutherland (2-33) and Sophie Day (3-16) doing the damage to restrict the visitors to 7-141.
It leaves the Heat in fourth spot on the table and needing to win one of their two remaining matches against the Sixers and Thunder to cement their top four spot, while their chances of securing a home final are also diminished.
The loss followed the Heat’s defeat to bottom-ranked Melbourne Renegades on Friday evening.
Both teams were missing their captains, with Stars skipper Meg Lanning withdrawing from the match due to personal reasons while Heat leader Jess Jonassen was rested with hamstring soreness.
Lanning, who retired from international cricket earlier this month, will also miss Wednesday’s trip to Perth and it is unclear if she’ll be back for the Stars’ final game of the season next Saturday at the MCG.
"She's taking a few days out for some personal reasons," Stars coach Jonathan Batty told the Seven Network.
"We're reassured she's all OK, which is the most important thing, but we're giving her that time and space and respecting her privacy in what she needs to do.
"We're taking it on a game-by-game basis at the moment and we'll give her all the time she needs to make that decision."
Sutherland led the Stars in Lanning’s absence and also led the way with the bat, scoring 37 off 21 after opting to bat first.
Sophia Dunkley produced her best knock of the season, hammering three straight sixes in a 24-ball 37.
Opening the batting with fellow England batter Maia Bouchier, the pair put on 56 runs in 6.2 overs before the introduction of Kerr into the attack produced the wicket of Dunkley.
Alice Capsey (24 off 36) struggled to score quickly on a challenging surface but Sutherland was able to cash in after a patient start, as the Stars scored 28 runs off the final two overs to post 5-156.
Sutherland was out the final ball of the innings as Grace Harris intercepted what looked to be a certain six on the boundary, hanging onto a brilliant one-handed catch.
Harris carried the momentum into the chase, hitting three early boundaries, but she was bowled by Day for 15 then Georgia Redmayne (32 off 33) was smartly run out by Stars ‘keeper Sophie Reid.
The Heat still had plenty of wickets in hand at 2-107 in the 15th over, but their task became much tougher when they lost both set batters.
First Amelia Kerr (36 off 24) was brilliantly caught behind by Reid off the bowling of Sutherland, before Day bowled Mignon du Preez (17 off 14) a ball later.
Sutherland and Day also accounted for Bess Heath (13) and Charli Knott (6) respectively and with 22 runs needed off the final over, there was too much for Georgia Voll and Mikayla Hinkley to do.