BBL 2016/17, Match 2 Review: Brisbane Heat sneak past Strikers in a last over thriller

Alex Ross
Alex Ross of the Brisbane Heat bats during the Big Bash League match between the Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Brisbane Heat, led by Brendon McCullum, overcame the tough challenge by Adelaide Strikers to kick off their BBL campaign in style, defeating closely by 10 runs in a last over thriller. The Heat rode on the brilliance of openers Jimmy Peirson and skipper Brendon McCullum who together smashed 90 from the opening wicket before Alex Ross gave the finishing touches with his blazing 36 balls 64. Later, fast bowler Mark Steketee produced an economical bowling effort of 3/32 to help the Heat restrict the Strikers for 196/6 in 20 overs.

New Zealand batting legend McCullum celebrated his comeback in grand style with a ripping 21 ball 42 including 4 boundaries and 3 sixes. His batting partner, wicket keeper, Peirson was also in the same mood, cracking 46 off just 29 balls. It was unfortunate that both the batsmen missed their respective fifties but their efforts gave a successful start to the match after they were put on to bat first by the Strikers.

Breakthroughs came in a lump for the Heat as they West Indian all-rounder, Kieron Pollard removing both the openers off back to back deliveries in the 9th over. The duo’s departure did not do any harm as Chris Lynn and Alex Ross then carried forward the innings. Lynn looked in full flow but could make only a short but useful contribution of 29 from 20 balls but Ross capitalised his start and went on to hammer 6 fours and 4 sixes adding runs at a strike rate of 177.77 before getting bowled by Chris Jordan of the final delivery of the innings.

In response, the Strikers opener went cruising towards the target with openers Jake Weatherland and Ben Dunk putting up 133 runs in just 11.1 overs to pivot the chase smoothly. The dominance of the duo saw Strikers sit at 117/0 mid-way through the second inning at a staggering runs rate 11.70 way above the required run rate of 9 runs per over at that moment.

It was thorough dominance from the Strikers in the first half. The Strikers were really in no mood to back down as the openers started a flurry of sixes and boundaries straightway. The duo threatened to take away the match on their own before the crunch moment came in the 12th over as Weatherland miscued a pull shot and handed a catch Floros off Mark Steketee.

A ball later, the Heat could have got another breakthrough but when Dunk drove in the straight to the mid on. However, the simple waist high catch was dropped. Dunk, unfortunately, could use the opportunity and inflict more damage as he lost his wicket in the very next very next over to Ben Cutting ironically getting caught by Steketee himself just after dispatching one for a maximum. These two wickets slowed the momentum of the chase for a while as two new batsmen – Brad Hodge and Travis Head – came in together.

Head and Hodge started off on a promising note. Stitching a 40 run stand between them in 5.2 overs. The Heat bowlers did not allow the Strikers make a comeback. This turned out to be the difference between both the team as the Heat also found themselves in a similar situation earlier in the afternoon but made a roaring recovery.

leg spinner Swepson got rid of Head in the 18th over following over by Cutting saw Pollard walk back to the pavilion. The equation was eventually reduced to 17 runs off the last over by Steketee which the batting side was unable to get.

Brief Scores:

Brisbane Heat 206/5 (Alex Ross 64; Kieron Pollard 2/27)

Adelaide Strikers 196/6 (Ben Dunk 85; Mark Steketee 3/32)

Man of the match: Brendon McCullum