Heat Brave But Beaten by Strikers | Brisbane Heat - BBL
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Heat Brave But Beaten by Strikers

23 December 2020

Classy half-century against all odds from stand-in skipper Jimmy Peirson in vain as Brisbane Heat fall three runs short of miracle victory against Adelaide Strikers at the Gabba

Adelaide Strikers 6-150 (Renshaw 32, Wells 31; Bartlett 3-24) beat Brisbane Heat 9-148 (Peirson 69no, Cooper 22; Briggs 3-20) by two runs

The injury: On a horror night for the Heat Chris Lynn was ruled out pre-match with a hamstring strain suffered in warm-ups. With four matches in the next 12 days, the winless Brisbane side will be desperately hoping the news from their skipper's scans is positive. 

The plot twist: This was a match that was following a rather mundane and – at least from the Heat's perspective – sadly predictable path until near its closing stages. After the Strikers knocked up 6-150 courtesy of a strong performance from their middle order, their super bowling attack combined to run through the Heat to the tune of 8-68. Then a feisty wicketkeeper, an excitable Afghan and an errant metronome conspired to bring the Gabba to its feet… 

The captain's knock: Jimmy Peirson, take a bow! The Heat 'keeper-batsman clearly relishes having the little 'c' next to his name – he's a Sheffield Shield winning skipper with Queensland and tonight, in the absence of Lynn, he was the architect of one of the most remarkable turnarounds in BBL history. With his side 8-68 and only Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Ben Laughlin for support, Peirson went to work, busily accumulating initially before exploding in line with the Power Surge. From one Peter Siddle over, the right-hander blazed 23 runs. Consecutive fours from the first two balls of the next over and Peirson had flown to a 25-ball 50, turning the contest on its head in the process. 

The finale: From the final over, the Heat need 13 with one wicket in hand. Peirson is on strike, Laughlin at the non-striker's end, and Dan Worrall has the ball. His first delivery is too full and too wide and Peirson swings lustily, steering the ball through fine leg for four. Nine from five. Peirson takes two through mid-wicket. Seven from four. From the next two balls, Peirson picks out fielders deep in the leg side and declines to run. Seven from two. Incredibly, it happens again – fielder picked out, no run taken. Seven needed from one. Six for a Super Over. It's an all-or-nothing gamble from Peirson. He faces up to the final ball … and hits it for four. Game over.

The other power surge: With the Strikers innings stalling at 4-104 after 16 overs, middle-order pair Harry Nielsen and Jonathan Wells made the most of one of the new rules for BBL|10, taking 24 from the Power Surge. With the field up, Wells carved two fours from the first two balls of the 17th over and then Nielsen got in on the act, sending Mark Steketee for six from the first ball of the 18th. It added some much-needed impetus to the innings and allowed the Strikers to hurry towards what proved a competitive total.

The (eventual) heroes: The Strikers bowling attack ticks a multitude of T20 boxes, and until Peirson intervened, they were ruthless in their defence of 150. Worrall set the tone with a scintillating opening over, in which he took the wicket of Sam Heazlett, and then it was the turn of left-arm English spinner Danny Briggs to get in on the act. Siddle and the brilliant Rashid Khan were devastating through the middle overs as the Heat lost 6-43.

The controversy: The score read 5-58 in the 12th over and Tom Cooper, unbeaten on 22, was desperately trying to keep the Heat in the contest. He tried an awkward-looking switch hit against the spin of Danny Briggs, only for the ball to hit the toe-end of his pad and deflect onto pad. The Strikers appealed, the umpire raised his finger, and Cooper was incredulous. 

The prospect: Young Heat quick Xavier Bartlett continued to impress with pace, swing and accuracy. The right-armer took the new ball and claimed the wicket of Jake Weatherald in his first over, then bowled at the death as well, finishing with an excellent return of 3-24. 

The stat: Peirson and Mujeeb's ninth-wicket stand of 60 is the highest in the history of the Big Bash, surpassing the 48 shared between the Sixers' Jordan Silk and Nathan Lyon back in January 2015. 

The next stop:
The Heat return to the Gabba in three days' time to take on the Hurricanes (Dec 27), while the Strikers are back to Adelaide for a clash with the Scorchers on the 28th.