The points: Scorchers 3, Heat 1
The hero: Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone may be the Scorchers’ box-office men but Colin Munro has quietly become the team’s most reliable top-order batter, and he again delivered with a match-winning hand on a chilly Melbourne evening.
There was beautiful symmetry to Munro’s knock in front of a sparsely-populated Marvel Stadium. From his first 27 balls only 26 runs came as he let Livingstone and Josh Inglis do the attacking. He then exploded over the course of his next 27 balls, bashing 56 runs to lay the foundation for a big first-innings total.
The left-hander hardly seemed to swing at his four sixes, instead relying on his strong wrists to power the Heat bowlers over the leg-side on the way to his fourth fifty of BBL10.
The support cast: It was a typically disciplined Scorchers bowling effort, but Jhye Richardson again stood out as he extended his lead among the leading BBL|10 wicket-takers.
The pacey right-armer is bowling with serious pace at the moment in his comeback from shoulder surgery, and proved too hot to handle as he went for just four from his first two overs before returning to pick up two late wickets.
Those blows came in a startling Heat collapse of 7-19 in just 29 balls.
The consolation act: Munro’s bid for a maiden BBL century (and the fifth of his T20 career) was nixed by his fellow South African native, Morne Morkel, who was outstanding in his first full BBL game.
The 36-year-old may not have the same frightening zip he terrorised Test batters with during his heyday but he is making up for it with guile and a clever knuckle-ball change of pace.
That was exemplified by delivering a terrific penultimate over of the Scorchers’ innings, the first of the Power Surge, that saw him halt Munro in his tracks.
It was no mean feat to out-fox a batter of Munro’s calibre when he had batted batted the majority of the innings and had just two boundary fielders to contend with, but Morkel did exactly that as he conceded just five runs and dismissed Munro on the final ball.
Expect Morkel, who finished with 2-24 from four overs, to play a big role in the Heat’s tilt at a finals berth.
The moment: Chris Lynn shaped as the key to the Heat run chase and there were danger signs for Perth when he pummelled Aaron Hardie for two sixes in an over that went for 20.
But Fawad Ahmed intervened in a match-turning moment. Lynn looked to continue the momentum they had generated in a 38-run Powerplay, smearing him for four over cover.
But the veteran leg-spinner held his nerve, having Lynn stumped the following ball with a wider, quicker ball as Brisbane folded meekly after their skipper’s departure.
The X-factor: Subbed in for Xavier Bartlett at the halfway point of the Scorchers’ innings, James Bazley was thrown straight into the action.
Bowling immediately, he needed just three balls to strike as he had Josh Inglis caught at backward point.
Spare a thought though for Bartlett, who was subbed out after one over having again bowled an immaculate first over with the new ball.
The next stop: The Heat, who remain in sixth after they claimed the Bash Boost point on the final ball of the 10th over, now head straight to Adelaide, where they take on the Strikers on Thursday. The Scorchers meanwhile have another neutral game at Marvel Stadium on Friday, taking on the Hobart Hurricanes. With just four points separating the second and seventh, both games have intriguing finals implications.