Peirson Pilots Heat Home as Strikers Eliminated | Brisbane Heat - BBL
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Peirson Pilots Heat Home as Strikers Eliminated

29 January 2021

Another heart-in-the-mouth run-chase had a packed Gabba on the edge of their seats until Jimmy Peirson steadied the ship to help the Brisbane Heat advance

The scores: Adelaide Strikers 7-130 (Weatherald 32; Labuschagne 3-13, Swepson 2-23) lost to Brisbane Heat 4-131 (Peirson 47no, Denly 41; Siddle 1-14) by six wickets with seven balls remaining

The pitch: The first Final of BBL|10 was far from your typical 20-over contest, and the Gabba wicket played a massive part in that. After batting for the Strikers, a mic'd up Matt Renshaw said it was a much slower surface than he was used to at the venue he calls home with Queensland. And that was evident throughout, as even Australia reps Alex Carey and Marnus Labuschagne struggled to find any timing or rhythm, while Test squad members Mitch Swepson and Michael Neser benefited from some variable bounce and seam movement. It all made for a fascinating low-scoring contest, but the sixes and all-out attacking batting synonymous with this tournament was notably absent.

The run-out: Jake Weatherald (32) was well set and looming as the man most likely to push the Strikers to a 150-plus score when he inexplicably risked a second run that never appeared to be there. A good pick-up and throw from Marnus Labuschagne followed and Weatherald was well short of his ground, and from there Adelaide lost 6-59 as the Heat seized the momentum.

The partnership: The Heat were wobbling badly at 3-23 when Joe Denly was joined by Jimmy Peirson in the middle. In a TV interview during the run chase, Darren Lehmann revealed Peirson's promotion had been about bringing a calm head to a crisis, with a steadying stand the desired outcome. And that's exactly how it unfolded, as the pair put on 69 in around 10 overs to account for more than half the required runs. Denly was highly impressive in making a crucial 41, and never more so than when he crashed Wes Agar for a straight six and a stunning pulled four, while Peirson accumulated industriously all the way to the close, adding a couple of clever boundaries at the death to seal an impressive run chase.

The catch: Ben Laughlin has made a habit of taking hangers over the years. And tonight, he did it again…

The drops: The Heat were guilty of spilling several return chances but given the result it will be Strikers pair Weatherald and Briggs who will be left stewing on what might have been, as both Burns and Peirson enjoyed lives in the final stages of the run chase. One more wicket and things might have been very different.

The stat: Spin twins Labuschagne and Swepson have now taken 15 wickets between them in four matches since their return from the Test squad.

The Gamble I: The Heat dumped their second-highest run-scorer for BBL|10, Max Bryant, and replaced him with Sam Heazlett, who averages 16.25 in T20 cricket but, as the batting group's only left-hander, was backed by the Brisbane Brains Trust as a good match-up against the Strikers, particularly given their two spinners, Danny Briggs and Liam O'Connor, turn the ball into him. In the end, Heazlett faced three balls – all from right-arm seamers – before exiting for four, trapped plumb lbw by Peter Siddle.

The Gamble II: In commentary, Mark Waugh called it "mystifying", and that seemed to be the prevailing sentiment when the Strikers opted to sub out Dan Worrall in conditions that seemed ideally suited to the in-form paceman. While the man who replaced him, Jon Wells, made an important 21no late in the Strikers innings, the shrewder sacrifice might perhaps have been one of spin pair Briggs or O'Connor, given the part-time turn of Travis Head was also an option. On the flipside, Jason Gillespie might well argue that spin did the damage for the Heat, so why not for his side?

The next stops: That's it for the Strikers – season over. For the Heat, they're off to Canberra to take on the Thunder – and a grudge match with former Brisbane boy Ben Cutting – on Sunday night.