After no wins in four matches, Perth Scorchers put in a clinical performance to win five games in a row, before Sydney Sixers ended their streak. Brisbane Heat too have been in terrific form of late, having won four out of their last five matches. If Scorchers win, they move to second position. But if Brisbane get maximum points in this encounter, it will be the Chris Lynn-led side that will move to second, behind Sydney Sixers. Safe to say, a lot is at stake in this match.
Heat have looked a different unit since Chris Lynn has returned, having won three out of their four matches in the period, in which the Heat captain has registered scores of 30, 48, 56 and 50. The Scorchers, on the other hand, are heavily dependent on their middle-order (Average 62), who have performed admirably in their wins and it is their poor performance that leads to their losses (Average 16.6).
Mitchell Marsh could return for this match purely as a batsman and if he does, he would be a handy asset as he has scored 187 runs in eight innings in the middle-order (4-7), with the likes of Ashton Turner and Josh Inglis too chipping in with vital runs.
For both teams, the bowlers have played a huge part in the tournament. Jhye Richardson is the leading wicket-taker with 19 scalps, just one wicket more than Mark Steketee. The duo are going to be crucial once again in this encounter. However, Heat were without the services of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman in their last match as he has been called-up for national duty and given that the pitch at the Docklands Stadium is conducive for spinners, he will be a huge miss.
A lot will depend on left-arm orthodox Matthew Kuhnemann’s performance, considering that he is one of the few spin options left in the team, along with part-timer Joe Denly. However, Heat could consider bringing back chinaman Jack Wood back into the XI to give them depth in the spin department, in place of pacer Xavier Bartlett.
Heat likely XI: Chris Lynn (c), Max Bryant, Joe Denly, Joe Burns, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Lewis Gregory, James Bazley, Jack Wildermuth, Mark Steketee, Matthew Kuhnemann, Morne Morkel, Xavier Bartlett/Jack Wood
Marsh’s return to the XI will no doubt be a huge boost for the Scorchers, who missed his services dearly in their seven-wicket loss to Sixers. With his imminent return, it will be Cameron Bancroft making way. If Marsh cannot bowl, Scorchers will perhaps have to look to Liam Livingstone or Ashton Turner to be their sixth bowler, if needed.
Scorchers likely XI: Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Colin Munro, Josh Inglis (wk), Cameron Bancroft/Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Turner (c), Aaron Hardie, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff, Fawad Ahmed
Match: Perth Scorchers vs Brisbane Heat, BBL 2020-21, Match 44
Venue: Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
Date: January 19, 2021 (Tuesday)
Time: 1:45 PM IST