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BBL10 | Challenger: Bruised Scorchers take on hostile Heat for a spot in the final

Brisbane Heat has been one hell of a story in this year’s Big Bash League as whenever people counted them out, they made a comeback. From shutting critics’ mouth to struggling to find their rhythm to being rejuvenated when a bundle of energy called Marnus Labuschagne joined them to make it to the second biggest match of the season, the Brisbane side has weaved a fairytale whose ideal ending should be a BBL title. 

But in front of the Heat in the Challenger stands a team which has had only two extreme moods, the losing mood and the winning mood and the latter has been ‘on’ since quite a long time as they won eight of their last nine games to make it to the BBL Finals this season. No doubt that momentum would be with Heat with five wins in their last seven games and four of them coming on a trot. They also beat Scorchers in their last game. But Scorchers are by no means to be taken lightly as they have a fantastic lineup which if clicks, could be the most dangerous. 

With Mark Steketee, in the kind of form that he is having picked up 24 wickets in 15 innings, it is never going to be an easy pass for the Scorchers' batsmen. Skipper Chris Lynn is due a big knock much like Labuschagne and Heat will be hoping he gets it on the biggest stage.

Heat look to build on the momentum

The Men in Aqua have found their ‘mojo’ which is to take early wickets and restrict the opposition to a low score. This they do with the help of a brilliant Xavier Bartlett opening over, followed by some great wicket-taking spin from Mitchell Swepson and Labuschagne, get Morne Morkel as X-Factor to bowl at the death and then get a hero in the batting set up who along with Jimmy Peirson would take them home. 

Since they have cracked the code, and they are going with the momentum, it would be very difficult to get them derailed. Labuschange, who has been doing great with the ball, having picked up 10 wickets in just five games, would like to showcase the might of his batting prowess as well, as he hasn’t really been up to the mark as per the expectations from him. This game might just be the one for him. 

Scorchers finding their lost shine

The two main men for Scorchers this season have been Jhe Richardson and Colin Munro with ball and bat respectively. However, both of them haven’t really been up to the mark in the last few three games that the Scorchers have played against the Melbourne Stars, Heat and the Sixers. While Richardson has taken just two wickets in these three games, Munro too hasn’t been on the money in the last four games having scored just 88 runs in total in them. 

Thus along with Josh Inglis, who has carried on his great form, these two need to get going as well, if Perth is to make sure that Heat sweat it out on the pitch. These two back in form can solve a lot of problems for the Ashton Turner’s men as Richardson will get quick wickets for the likes of Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Hardie to bowl freely in the mid-innings. Munro getting runs at the top would once again give an opportunity for the middle order to take it easy as they would have a set platform to launch from. 

Scorchers vs Heat: Match Details

Match: Challenger

Date and Time: Feb 4, 2021, 2:10:00 PM IST, 07:40 PM Local, 08:35 AM IST

Venue: Manuka Oval, Canberra

Broadcast & Live Stream: Sony SIX and Sony LIV

Pitch Report

The game was scheduled to be held at the Optus in Perth, but due to the covid-19 restrictions, it has been rescheduled to take place at Manuka Oval itself, where the last two games took place as well. In the last two games, it was pretty evident that dew plays a heavy role on this ground. It has something to offer to the bowlers in the first innings, especially spinners. In the second innings, the pacers have some help early on till the time dew hasn’t settled down. 

Weather and Bat Flip

It is expected that at the time of the game, there will be almost 100% cloud cover and hence humidity too shall be increased. In the case of cloud cover, the dew might not come in as heavy as it might have had earlier, but its impact cannot be negated.  Thus the skipper winning the bat flip would most likely go for a chase. 

Scorchers Strongest XI

Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Colin Munro, Josh Inglis (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Turner (c), Aaron Hardie, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff, Fawad Ahmed

Heat Strongest XI

Sam Heazlett, Chris Lynn (c), Joe Denly, Marnus Labuschagne, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Joe Burns, Lewis Gregory, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Ben Laughlin, Morne Morkel

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