The Big Bash League continues on Saturday and it does so with a double header of action which begins in Perth as arguably the two best teams in the competition meet when the Perth Scorchers take on the Brisbane Heat.
The Heat know that they will host the first qualifier in the finals no matter what happens here but Perth are battling to be their opponents in the match which will give them two goes at making the final. A win here would put them in the box seat for that spot.
I think it is fair to say that the Perth Scorchers haven’t been the commanding and authoritative side that we have become accustomed to seeing them be over the course of this season but they still sit third in the table heading into this match and if they win this one they will go into their final match of the regular season knowing that victory will secure second spot in the table. They will actually be in that position anyway because they face the Sydney Sixers who are currently occupying second but they would need a result and not a rained off game.
I think we have generally seen enough from the Perth Scorchers batters to suggest that they have another title run in them over the next couple of weeks but their top order has been guilty of failing them a little more than we are used to seeing recently. They could do with that unit coming to the party if they are going to make a title challenge easier for themselves. They are missing one or two bowlers but in the main they have an attack to win this competition.
The Brisbane Heat have been the best team in the competition by some way so far. They have dominated to the extent that they finish their regular campaign in this match and go into it unbeaten and already knowing that they will top the table and will host whoever comes second in the standings on the Gold Coast on Friday. They will want to carry as much momentum as possible into that match with them but this is also a chance to lay a marker down should they meet the Scorchers in the postseason.
The Heat have dominated this competition through the strength of their bowling attack. No team has been able to get after it regularly. They have taken wickets with the new ball and shown a real ability to squeeze teams in the middle overs through two quality spinners that they have. They have also batted well throughout the competition and where they have done well is when they have got into trouble an all-rounder down the order has got them out of trouble.
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Laurie Evans has probably been the Perth Scorchers batter that has shown the most form in this competition so far. Some of his innings have been brutal blitzes and the champions could do with another one of those here.
Michael Neser has excelled with the ball throughout this tournament and he has come up with the goods with the bat when it has been needed as well. If he can deliver an all-round showing in this match the Heat will be in with every chance.
The Perth Scorchers are all the rage for this match and I get why because they tend to play their home conditions very well but even though the Brisbane Heat don’t need to win this one they have a few players who will be playing their final match of the tournament and might well feel that they need to go out on a high. Perth don’t need to win this either really. There isn’t likely to be any rain around on Tuesday so their match with the Sydney Sixers will be a play-off for second spot regardless of what happens here.
Perth are just starting to miss a player too many for my liking with Jhye Richardson and Zak Crawley now done for the season and while they are bringing in local quality players they are not of the standard that the Heat have. Brisbane have lost Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja to the Test squad now but Matt Renshaw has been allowed to play this match before he leaves. The Heat haven’t seen much of the other two anyway so I don’t feel that is as detrimental to them as it might have been. At the prices I fancy the Heat in this one.
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