The Brisbane Heat will need to defend 156 to keep their finals hopes alive as the Perth Scorchers head out to bat at the Gabba.
Despite Usman Khawaja returning as opener, it was rookie Josh Brown – recently plucked out of premier cricket – who continued his rich vein of form as he took Scorcher Matt Kelly to task in the opening over.
Fox Cricket’s Brett Lee praised Brown’s attacking mindset as he played a game of “duck, duck, goose” in the early overs, smashing boundaries at will.
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MATCH CENTRE: Heat vs Scorchers teams, scorecard, videos, updates
“He’s not looking to block anything,” Lee said.
“He’s been a revelation,” commentator Isa Guha added.
But just three balls after Fox Cricket commentators were convinced Jason Behrendorff had Khawaja caught behind – which the Scorchers opted not to review – it was Brown (18 off 13) who was the first to fall in bizarre circumstances.
The ball rolled onto Brown’s stumps after he lost sight of it over his shoulder.
“That’s stiff,” Fox Cricket’s Mark Waugh said.
“It’s gone over his shoulder and spun onto his stumps.
“We thought Usman Khawaja was out caught behind and then Joshua Brown gets very, very unlucky.”
Marnus Labuschagne (10 off 9) came and went in his first game of the BBL this tournament, leaving Khawaja and fellow returnee Matt Renshaw at the crease.
At 2-80 at the halfway point, the Heat opted to take their power play but the move backfired immediately as Khawaja (28 off 23 balls) picked out the man out in the deep off Andrew Tye.
“There’s acreage out there! Acreage to spare,” Waugh said.
Tye then produced an absolute classic catch to send Renshaw packing for 27 off 21, with a one-handed screamer at mid on.
“He’s like a polar bear with a salmon!” Lee praised.
“That’s a ripper.”
Jimmy Peirson was caught out on the boundary by Agar on 17, but was given a reprieve with the beamer deemed a no ball due to height.
Max Bryant was then caught by Ashton Turner on that free hit, as the duo were left with three overs to go.
A quick bat change by Bryant paid off immediately as he launched Tye for six, but he fell for 36 off 26 on the first ball of the final over.
Matt Kelly was then on a hattrick after he bowled Ross Whiteley for a golden duck.
“He was absolutely bamboozled!” Lee praised.
“It’s gone straight onto the stumps. Good night.”
Whiteley did hang around, indicating he wanted umpires to check the full toss height in a move Mark Waugh wasn’t impressed with.
“How can you check it? He was bowled. It doesn’t matter (about height), it’s bowled him,” he said.
The Heat finished their 20 overs with 6-155.
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It’s the second straight game the teams have met, as Peirson conceded that last Saturday’s hefty loss to Perth was a blow for the side’s finals hopes.
“This time of year you need to start to get moving. You can’t dawdle … the ladder’s starting to take shape. We have a knack of doing this (winning games late in the season) – we’ve done it before and found our way to the finals. Anything can happen once the finals start.
“If we can just tidy up some things with the ball, I think we’ll be a good competitive side.
“They strangled us a little bit and took wickets (last time they met). The last three games we’ve put together some good competitive totals I feel, we’re not dying wondering.
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“We haven’t put a complete performance together.”
The Scorchers head into Wednesday night’s clash with Ashton Agar returning from his SCG Test duties.
But they still remain without spearhead Jhye Richardson who remains sidelined with his hamstring strain.
Heat: Xavier Bartlett, Josh Brown, Max Bryant, Spencer Johnson, Usman Khawaja (c), Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Matt Renshaw, Ross Whiteley
Scorchers: Ashton Agar, Cam Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Stephen Eskinazi, Aaron Hardie, Peter Hatzoglou, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis (wk), Matt Kelly, Ashton Turner (c), Andrew Tye
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