The score: Brisbane Heat 7-181 (Lynn 51, Labuschagne 46; Tye 2-23) beat Perth Scorchers 6-175 (Marsh 54no, Roy 41; Labuschagne 3-35) by six runs
The summary: Brisbane's 7-181 was their biggest total of BBL|10 and could not have been more timely given their need to win their last game of the regular season to steal a finals berth. The Heat were also aware that it was not an unsurpassable score, given that - of the three occasions teams had successfully chased scores of 180 or above at Adelaide Oval – Brisbane were responsible for two of them. Perth's pursuit was floundering until Mitchell Marsh stepped up to bludgeon 54no from 26 balls to carry the Scorchers to the brink of a stunning win. But needing six from the final ball to force a Super Over, Marsh was unable to crown his innings with a maximum and the Heat celebrated their final-five finish.
The flip: Assured of finishing in the top two regardless of today's other outcomes, Scorchers skipper Ashton Turner opted to change tactics and bowl first upon winning the bat flip. The Scorchers late-season run has been fuelled by their ability to defend totals, but the lure of the Bash Boost point and the chance to host the title decider by finishing top of the table meant Perth wanted to know what they were chasing.
The Heat hero: Marnus Labuschagne's re-inclusion to the Brisbane line-up has bolstered their batting, but it was also his efforts with the ball that proved game-changing today. After posting 46 to underpin the Heat's late-innings charge, the Test batter claimed three vital wickets – Colin Munro (7), Josh Inglis (12) and Ashton Turner (0) with his leg spin in addition to a well-judged catch on the boundary to remove Perth's top-scorer Jason Roy (41) to place his bid for player-of-the-match.
The counter-punch: Perth looked to be out of the game when Aaron Hardie was run out and they needed 56 from the final 21 balls with four wickets in hand. If anyone could pull off a miracle, it was Mitchell Marsh. And the former Test all-rounder took it upon himself to win the game and break the Heat's heart. Marsh belted 30 off the next 12 balls he faced to reduce the Scorchers' requirement to 17 from the final over, bowled by all-time leading BBL wicket-taker Ben Laughlin. It came down the final ball, a low full-toss that Marsh toed to deep mid-wicket and couldn't bring himself to run a single, such was his disappointment.
A touch of Lynn-sanity: After a season characterised by solid starts but without the sizzling finish, Heat skipper Chris Lynn signalled from the outset his intention to crown the regular season with a big score. Lynn threw the bat with devastating effect, especially against the leg spin of Fawad Ahmed to reach 50 from 24 balls with four sixes and as many boundaries. But as has been the case throughout BBL|10, that's as far as he went having top-edged a pull shot on 51 that was well caught by Hardie scampering in from deep square leg.
The becalming after the storm: Prior to Lynn's dismissal, the Heat were sizzling at more than 10 runs per over having blasted 73 from their first seven. But the captain's demise brought a marked change as the Heat's next seven overs yielded just 45 runs for the loss of three vital wickets – Lynn, Joe Denly and Joe Burns.
The late surge: With the Scorchers bowlers turning the screws, the Heat needed a flurry in the final overs and found it through a fifth-wicket stand of 56 from 36 balls between Labuschagne and England import Lewis Gregory. Labuschagne has proved a huge inclusion for Brisbane since returning from Test duties, and added 46 (from 38 balls) to his scores of 28 and 49 in his three BBL|10 knocks to date. Allrounder Gregory picked the perfect time to post his highest score of the season (36 from 23) to propel their team to a sizeable score.
The gamble: With Labuschagne and Gregory on the charge, Turner went with a fourth and final over – the 16th of Heat's innings - from leg spinner Fawad Ahmed whose first three had cost 40 runs. That was despite having seam options Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye and Hardie available to deploy, with all three having proved more economical in their early overs. The move backfired as Fawad went for a further 12 to finish with his most expensive four-over (0-52) spell in eight summers of BBL bowling, having averaged less than eight runs per over across the rest of BBL|10.
The unfriendly fire: If Jason Roy wasn't smarting when he lost his place in England's Test team to Joe Denly during the 2019 Ashes campaign, he was after finding himself on the end of one of his compatriot's stinging shots today. Roy was fielding at backward point for Perth Scorchers when Denly slapped a short ball low to the right of his England squad mate. Roy was only able to get a finger to the ball as it flashed to the fence, but it caused sufficient damage for the Scorchers opener to wring his hand for the remainder of the over before leaving the field for further medical attention.
The lone hands: Perth were handed a couple of crucial breaks at the start of their chase when the Heat failed to hang on to a couple of tough chances from consecutive deliveries. The first flew from Roy's bat above the head of Labuschagne on the edge of the fielding circle at backward point. Despite an athletic leap, the ball bounced from Labuschagne's outstretched right hand and a possible 'catch of the summer' instead became a missed opportunity, Next ball, Roy's opening partner Liam Livingstone aimed a big drive at luckless Jack Wildermuth and found a thick edge to keeper Jimmy Peirson. But his instinctive movement saw the ball strike him on the wrist of his right keeping glove, and another chance to break Perth's prolific opening partnership was lost.
The prized pair: Perth Scorchers' surge to the top of the BBL|10 ladder has been fuelled partly by their all-England opening combination of Roy and Livingstone. The right-handers have proved the most potent partnership in BBL|10 and are the only pair to have posted more than 500 runs batting in tandem so far in the tournament. They rode their luck to notch another 50 stand today (from 31 balls) before Livingstone lost his off-stump trying to bludgeon Mitchell Swepson on to Montefiore Hill.
The big boost: If Brisbane were to storm from sixth into the finals, it was crucial they claimed the Bash Boost point as well as victory over the competition pacesetters. Courtesy of their blazing start from Chris Lynn, the Heat reached 2-96 halfway through their innings and – having broken the Scorchers' opening partnership – kept Perth to 2-67 at the comparable point to complete the first part of their assignment. They then faced increasing anxiety as Marsh swung the game back towards the Scorchers.
The next stops: Brisbane's brave win, complete with Bash Boost point, vaults them into the finals with the possibility of hosting next Friday's Eliminator if they hold on to fourth place after today's two other games. By tumbling to a narrow defeat, Perth Scorchers loosened their grip on top place with Sydney Sixers able to wrest the minor premiership – and favouritism to host The Final – if they pick up points against Melbourne Stars tonight.