For the Brisbane Heat, it was the constant pressure from the bowlers that delivered them the win at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon. Taking wickets consistently was the Heat’s method, leaving the Strikers 17 runs short of their total.
The key to victory for the Heat was knocking over the batters cheaply, especially the strong batting line-up that the Strikers possessed. They did this successfully, having knocked over the top four (Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Alex Carey and Matt Short) inside of 13 overs having made only 82 runs between them.
The batting performance of the Strikers was typified by the fact that they only reached 50 runs in the ninth over with three key wickets in the shed (Lynn, Head and Carey).
From the outset the Adelaide Strikers looked shaky in their batting innings, with Head being bowled by Matthew Kuhnemann off his fourth delivery. Pacer Michael Neser followed this first over with a tight over himself with the Strikers only managing nine runs off the first two overs.
Kuhnemann was the best bowler on Saturday, taking the crucial wickets of Head and leading run-scorer Short. Only conceding 26 runs, he played a vital role in the chokehold that the Heat had on the Strikers batters which saw them fail to chase the smaller total.
This pressure was built up and capitalised on by young quick Spencer Johnson who bowled the third over of the innings which was a maiden. Johnson flourished playing at his home ground taking his first BBL wicket of Wes Agar while bowling at an economy of seven.
The only Strikers batter that was able to get somewhat ahold of the Brisbane Heat bowlers was Short, unfortunately it was left to the job of too few to chase down the total. He top scored with 39 off 30 featuring three fours and one six.
With the bat Australian star Marnus Labuschagne was the best for the Heat, hitting 46 runs off 33 balls which included five fours. He joined Josh Brown at the crease after the fall of Usman Khawaja (2 runs) and was vital in getting the strike rate going for the Heat.
Brown was another player who had a solid innings considering the conditions, scoring 26 off 16 deliveries which included three fours and one six. He was the reason that the Strikers did not go back to bowl Short who has been relatively successful in the first over as it was him that conceded 12 runs in the first over.
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Sitting at 7-144 after the wicket of James Bazley fell, Brisbane collapsed to be all out as Johnson, Mitch Swepson and Neser all fell for just 10 runs. At the conclusion of their batting innings the Heat made 154 runs, which looked like they had not batted as well as they could have on the Adelaide Oval surface which is usually made for batting.
The bowlers that were effective for the Strikers were pace bowlers, with the exception of Cameron Boyce. He chipped in with 2/19, taking the crucial wickets of Brown and Matthew Renshaw.
Peter Siddle looked like he might be back to the form he’s shown in the competition in the past, taking 2/24 off his four overs, including the wickets of Swepson and Jimmy Peirson. Agar continued to show he is in the Strikers’ top pace attack, taking 2/27.
Although he was expensive initially, Harry Conway was the best of the bowlers for Adelaide taking the wickets of Khawaja, Labuschagne and Neser. Bowling Khawaja and knocking over Labuschagne, Conway looked like he made the difference in the first innings if not for the superb bowling of the Heat.
All in all, the Strikers will rue a missed opportunity to beat a lower-ranked side on their home ground considering they have to beat the Scorchers and Sixers to likely make finals. This makes it a fourth time losing to the eighth ranked side, being beaten by the Heat and the Melbourne Stars twice this season.
The Brisbane Heat will travel to Melbourne to play the Stars on Monday night at the MCG while the Adelaide Strikers face a red-hot Sydney Sixers in a must-win match at Coffs Harbour on Tuesday night.
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