Having lost their first two encounters, Brisbane Heat will be looking for their maiden win of the season when they take on Adelaide Strikers in Match No. 13 of the Big Bash League 2020-21 at the Gabba on Wednesday (December 23). They were thumped by Melbourne Stars in their opening game, but put in a much better performance against Sydney Thunder before Daniel Sams' ferocious 25-ball 65* took the game away from them.
Meanwhile, Adelaide too have been very inconsistent so far. They lost to Hobart Hurricanes in their first game of the season before outclassing them a few days later. The Alex Carey-led side however couldn't keep the momentum going and were taken out by Sydney Sixers in their last fixture. The two teams have looked far from their best and would be eager to hit the ground running before it's too late.
HEAT'S BOWLING ATTACK NEEDS A BIT OF REVAMP
Brisbane dominated the majority of the game against Thunder and also got the Bash Boost point before they threw the game away in the second half of the innings. After posting 178/6 in 20 overs, Brisbane reduced Sydney to 82/5 at the end of 11 overs but that's when Sams and Ben Cutting joined hands and took the game away from them. While Sams was outstanding, the likes of Matthew Kuhnemann, Mark Steketee and Ben Laughlin were "horrific" and "pathetic". "This has been absolutely pathetic bowling. Pathetic planning and pathetic bowling. They've bowled exactly where he wants them," said Ricky Ponting.
Laughlin, who conceded 56 runs in 3.5 overs, looked completely out of place and kept feeding freebies to Sams. Meanwhile, Mujeeb Ur Rahman looked a bit rusty but still did a pretty solid job. Brisbane have the option of bringing in Morne Morkel who could prove to be handy at the Gabba. If available, Mitch Swepson too will come in place of left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann. Swepson was brilliant in the T20I series against India and will form a solid spin combination with Mujeeb. The Heat might have to wait for one more game before England's Lewis Gregory is available for selection.
The team management however would be delighted with the way Jack Wildermuth performed in the last encounter. The allrounder had solid outings for Australia A against the "Indians" and managed to carry forward that form into the BBL. After smoking 31 off just 11 deliveries, Wildermuth took three wickets with the new ball against Sydney and had them on the mat before Brisbane messed everything up. The Heat rely a lot on their top-order - Max Bryant, Sam Heazlett and Chris Lynn - but they will need more contributions from Daniel Lawrence and Tom Cooper in the middle-order.
OVERSEAS STARS GOT TO STEP UP FOR STRIKERS
Adelaide have five points against their name but they have been far from consistent. Their overseas stars - Philip Salt, Rashid Khan and Danny Briggs - haven't yet set the stage on fire and would be eager to prove their mettle in the next encounter. Salt has only managed 42 runs in three innings but looked good during his brief stay in the middle against the Sixers. Meanwhile, Rashid has leaked runs at an economy of over eight and has only taken three wickets. Then there is Briggs who has only bowled 4.1 overs despite featuring in all three matches.
They had the upper hand over the Sixers in the last game before Daniel Christian smashed 50 off 16 deliveries and took the game out of their reach in the last few overs. The Strikers don't have a star-studded line-up and will have to click as a unit if they want to do well this season. Peter Siddle and Daniel Worrall have been impressive so far but Adelaide would need their batting group to be more consistent and aggressive.
Brisbane Heat: Sam Heazlett, Max Bryant, Chris Lynn (c), Daniel Lawrence, Tom Cooper, Jack Wildermuth, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Morne Morkel, Mitch Swepson, Ben Laughlin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Adelaide Strikers: Philip Salt, Jake Weatherald, Matt Renshaw, Alex Carey (c & wk), Jonathan Wells, Matthew Short, Rashid Khan, Daniel Worrall, Liam Scott/Cameron Valente, Danny Briggs, Peter Siddle, Wes Agar.