The BBL final will be one of contrasts. On the one hand you have the powerful Perth Scorchers who, barring the occasional blip, have looked the best team (again) this season. On the other, you have Brisbane Heat who were bottom on January 14 but have now strung together seven wins in eight matches to reach the final – their first since 2012-13 – the hard way from the Eliminator, Knockout and Challenger.
The final will unfold in front of a bumper crowd. It is on track to be a sellout for the Optus Stadium’s first BBL decider, with upwards of 53,000 people. Expectedly, there won’t be many cheering for Heat.
Previous meetings this season
Colin Munro and Josh Brown gave Heat a rapid start with a stand of 81, and even though the innings faded away, it felt as though they at least had a competitive target. Scorchers quickly proved otherwise, as Cameron Bancroft (76 off 48) and Aaron Hardie (57 off 33) flayed the Heat attack, and victory came with 21 balls spare
The return fixture a few days later was equally convincing for Scorchers despite Heat having regained Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw. Hardie (65 off 45) was again in the runs, this time alongside Josh Inglis (67 off 35), as they hunted down a target of 156 with 22 balls to spare.
Perth Scorchers (probable): 1 Stephen Eskinazi, 2 Cameron Bancroft, 3 Aaron Hardie, 4 Josh Inglis (wk), 5 Ashton Turner (capt), 6 Nick Hobson, 7 Cooper Connolly, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 David Payne, 10 Jason Behrendorff, 11 Matt Kelly/Peter Hatzoglou
Brisbane Heat (probable): 1 Sam Heazlett, 2 Josh Brown, 3 Nathan McSweeney, 4 Sam Hain, 5 Jimmy Peirson (capt, wk), 6 Max Bryant, 7 Michael Neser, 8 James Bazley, 9 Xavier Bartlett, 10 Spencer Johnson, 11 Matt Kuhnemann
There has been help at times for the bowlers this season at the Optus Stadium, but also plenty of runs on offer. The surface for the final will be the same as used in the Qualifier against Sixers. The forecast is for a hot day, and with the 4.15pm local start time, it will likely not have cooled much for the side that has to field first.
“We would love to stick it to the crowd, but it’s not at the forefront of our mind. We just want to play good cricket against a high-quality side.”
Visiting captain Jimmy Peirson isn’t bothered by the Perth crowd cheering on their home team
“We don’t need any more motivation other than lifting this trophy. We’ve had our eyes set on it since we had to hand it back a few days after winning it last year, and we know how special that feeling is.
Scorchers’ Ashton Turner reveals one of his motivations behind winning the BBL