- Sanjay Sanapoori | February 4, 2023 | 12:41 pm
On January 7th, when Brisbane Heat suffered defeat to the Perth Scorchers the playoffs, let alone the Finals were nowhere near their reach. They had only two wins in eight games and were at the bottom of the table. Come Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw, and Brisbane Heat managed to start a transformation.
A win in the Finals now will help them complete what could be the biggest turnaround in BBL History. Franchise Cricket often sees some interesting turnarounds with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016 or Kolkata Knight Riders in 2021, doing a similar one too. How did Brisbane manage the turnaround though. Down and out, a change in leadership and an addition of experience bought them up.
Seniors back, Brisbane found their strength, although with the ball. Usman Khawaja, back as skipper, assisted his troops well and the bowlers delivered in each of their wins, as Brisbane found their way back. The batting too did a decent job in getting the side runs on the board, but it was the bowling attack which took a step forward despite the return of some of their best batters.
Brisbane Heat though did not have it easy despite a win streak. A two-run loss to Hobart Hurricanes in their last game had them struggling again. Their dream turnaround threatened to derail. The batting still looked unimpressive, especially with the team failing to chase down a mere total of 120 to secure qualification.
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The loss resulted in them having to go through the hard way. They were left with five wins needed to get the title. They now have four and are chasing a fifth. The first three had the seniors in the side, and they were able to carry their momentum forward for each of the three. The fourth game, against Sydney Sixers, proved that they are still a force without the senior players.
With Khawaja, Labuschagne and Renshaw back on national duty, the rest of the team was put up against Sydney Sixers, last seasons Finalists, and a team that has been pretty consistent all season. Michael Neser, one of their few remaining seniors players though came good. He stepped up with the bat, his lesser skill, and changed the game on its head to take his side to the Finals. Knowing the top-order is light, he stood up, and played a really good knock on a slow pitch.
Now, with the Finals against a stronger Perth side, Brisbane Heat will need to look for heroes yet again. They start as undergods, but were underdogs for most of the second half. Without their experienced players though, and in a packed Perth stadium, the task ahead looks like a huge mountain to climb for them.
Their bowling looks good but they know their batting needs to stand-up, as that is the aspect which has been an issue for them all season. It’s T20 Cricket though, and one good moment, one good innings, one good over, or one good spell is all it takes. Brisbane Heat has already produced a miracle to get here. They will come to Perth hoping for another Miracle from one of their players as they look to seal a BBL Title, 10 years after their last one, which incidentally was the last time they made the Finals too.