After winning the thrilling match against Perth Scorchers, Brisbane Heat locked their spot in the playoffs. They will combat Adelaide Strikers in the eliminator on January 29 (Friday) to lock their space in the knockout. The Gabba will host the decider.
In the last three editions of the BBL, Brisbane Heat have not qualified for playoffs. 2016-2017 was the last season when they enter the playoffs and ended up as the second semi-finalist.
This time they have a good team with power-hitters and a good bowling attack. If they tick all the boxes right, they are favourite to win the match against Adelaide Strikers. But notably, the Strikers have won their past three clashes against the Heat including earlier this month when an Alex Carey century propelled them to an emphatic win at Adelaide Oval.
Here, let’s take a look at Brisbane Heat’s predicted XI:
Chris Lynn (c):
Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn goes into the match, having scored 420 runs so far, the most in a single BBL season for the club. He is currently the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament.
Lynn also became the first Heat player to score five half-centuries during a BBL season with his 50 against the Perth Scorchers on Tuesday.
Max Bryant will look to set up a good partnership with Chris Lynn against Adelaide Strikers. The opener hasn’t been able to play a big knock in the last couple of matches. In 14 matches, he has amassed 302 runs at the strike rate of 127.42.
Marnus Labuschagne returned to the Brisbane Heat squad after the conclusion of the four-match Test series against India. He played the first match of the season against Adelaide Strikers where he could not contribute much.
In the last crucial match against Perth Scorchers, he missed another half-century by four runs but he was amazed at his bowling. The part-time spinner picked three important wickets in his four overs.
The English batsman has chipped in times of need. Against Sydney Thunder, he stitched a match-winning partnership with Joe Burns and in the process, registered maiden half-century of the season. Against Melbourne Renegades, he scored 31 runs off 25 balls while chasing 150 runs.
However, in the last couple of matches, he has not given significant contribution. Joe Denly needs to return well in the eliminator for Brisbane Heat.
Joe Burns, who is finding his lost confidence in the Test series against India, has also not been effective in the last four matches, being out for 2, 1, 7 and 2 runs respectively. He will look to bounce back against Adelaide Strikers.
Jimmy Peirson (wk):
Jimmy Peirson, who was leading the team in absence of Chris Lynn, managed to charge up the innings against Perth Scorchers. He scored unbeaten 16 runs in nine-ball.
Brisbane Heat will hope that he replicates the knock as he played during the group stage match against Adelaide Strikers, scoring unbeaten 69 runs in 36 balls.
The all-rounder Lewis Gregory has given useful contributions with both bat and ball. Being in the lower-middle order, he hasn’t got much time to spend in the middle but has capitalized on the opportunity to accelerate the innings. At the strike rate of 133.59, he has scored 171 runs in 11 matches. He has also seven wickets in his name and his best figure being 3/22.
The all-rounder Jack Wildermuth has not been much effective but he has played some crucial knocks in this season. Although in the last match, he could not churn out run and didn’t pick wickets. Brisbane Heat will back him because they want to strengthen their batting line up.
The right-arm pacer Mark Steketee has got the knack of picking wickets but he needs to learn the art of control the run rate.
In 13 matches, the 26-year-old pacer has picked up 22 wickets but at the poor economy rate of 9.44. He had leaked 54 runs in his 4 overs in the last match against Perth Scorchers.
Mitchell Swepson has also returned after being released from the Australia national team following the completion of the four-match Test series against India.
In the last match against Perth Scorchers, he picked two crucial wickets of Jason Roy and Liam Livingston to bring back Brisbane Heat back in the game. Moreover, he was economical. In his four overs, the leg-spinner conceded only 20 runs.
Bartlett has given breakthroughs in crucial situations. In 12 matches, he has picked up 12 wickets at an economy rate of 8.08. To fulfil Brisbane Heats’ dream to enter the finals, he needs to pick quick wickets against Adelaide Strikers.