Brisbane Heat’s Big Bash horror continued as repeated mis-fielding, mis-throws and a bizarre gamble by Marnus Labuschagne cost them any chance of victory against top-flight Perth Scorchers.
After setting a competitive 6-155, the Heat were their own worst enemy in an eight-wicket loss on Wednesday night with their tactics pushed wide by Fox Cricket’s Mark Waugh.
In terms of the competition’s worst bowling attack, the Heat have found a positive in debutant Spencer Johnson (0-6 from his first two overs) – a player who has excited former Australian pacer Brett Lee.
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MATCH CENTRE: Heat vs Scorchers Teams, Scoreboard, Videos, Updates
And it was Johnson who put the brakes on Perth early at the Gabba as the visitors went down 2-25 on the powerplay with Josh Inglis and Aaron Hardie newly in the crease.
But a bizarre gamble with Marnus Labuschagne in the fifth over backfired spectacularly as the Scorchers piled on 20 runs – effectively turning the match around.
“This is a gamble from (Heat captain Usman) Khawaja,” Fox Cricket’s Mark Waugh said.
“I do not make.”
Hardie sent Labuschagne off the first ball before Inglis inflicted further pain with back-to-back sixes and fours.
“All of a sudden it just took a little bit out of the situation for the Heat,” Waugh said.
“I just don’t see the logic in it. There was no need to gamble when you had the Scorchers 2-25.
“It just changed the whole dynamic.
“They got a gift.”
Fox Cricket’s Brett Lee agreed that the momentum had shifted after Labuschagne’s expensive over.
“They had them on the grill,” he lamented.
And from there, Inglis (67* off 35) and Hardie (65* off 45) took control, producing a superb unbeaten 132-run stand to see Perth home with over three overs to spare.
Earlier, although Usman Khawaja returned as the opener, it was newcomer Josh Brown – recently retired from premiership cricket – who continued his rich run of form as he took charge of Scorcher Matt Kelly in the opener.
Fox Cricket’s Brett Lee praised Brown’s attacking mindset as he played the “duck, duck, goose” game early in the game, smashing boundaries at will.
“He doesn’t want to block anything,” Lee said.
“He was a revelation,” added commentator Isa Guha.
But just three balls after the Fox Cricket commentators were convinced Jason Behrendorff had Khawaja caught behind – which the Scorchers chose not to review – it was Brown (18 off 13) who fell first in bizarre circumstances.
The ball rolled onto Brown’s stumps after he lost sight of it over his shoulder.
“That’s tough,” Fox Cricket’s Mark Waugh said.
“He went over his shoulder and turned on his stumps.
“We thought Usman Khawaja was caught behind and then Joshua Brown is very, very unlucky.
Labuschagne (10 off 9) came and went in his first BBL match of the tournament, with Khawaja and his returner Matt Renshaw remaining at the crease.
At 2-80 at half-time, the Heat decided to use their powerplay but the move backfired immediately when Khawaja (28 off 23 balls) picked out man in the deep Andrew Tye.
“There’s a field out there! Area available,” Waugh said.
Tye then produced an absolutely classic catch to send Renshaw for 27 off 21, with a one-handed screamer at mid-on.
“He’s like a polar bear with salmon!” complimented Lee.
“That’s a ripper.
Jimmy Peirson was caught on the boundary by Agar on 17 but was given a reprieve as the beam was ruled an off-ball due to height.
Max Bryant was then tackled by Ashton Turner on this loose tackle as the drama continued.
A quick change of bat by Bryant paid off immediately as Tye launched for six but fell for 36 off 26 off the first ball of the final over.
Matt Kelly then completed a hat-trick in the final after he bowled Ross Whiteley for a golden duck.
“He was completely out of his mind!” complimented Lee.
“That went straight to the stumps. Good night.”
Whiteley hung around and indicated that he wanted the umpires to check the full height of the throw in a move that Mark Waugh was not impressed with.
“How can you check? He was bowling. It doesn’t matter the height (of height), it’s a ball with him,” he said.
The Heat finished their 20 overs with 6-155.
Attackers too silky for Renegades | 02:51
Heat: Xavier Bartlett, Josh Brown, Max Bryant, Spencer Johnson, Usman Khawaja (c), Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Matt Renshaw, Ross Whiteley
Burners: Ashton Agar, Cam Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Stephen Eskinazi, Aaron Hardie, Peter Hatzoglou, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis (wk), Matt Kelly, Ashton Turner (c), Andrew Tye
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