Perth Scorchers 6/173 (20 overs) Defeated by Brisbane Heat 2/175 (15.3 Overs)
Heat Surge to Top of The Table
The Brisbane Heat have put down a marker to the rest of the competition after a thumping 8-wicket win over the Scorchers at the WACA. Rarely have Perth been beaten, let along been obliterated, on their home turf, however that was the case last night as Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn went berserk in front of a shell shocked but captivated crowd. The Heat's two big names mowed down the Scorchers 6/173 inside 16 overs, lifting the side to 4-1 and a place atop the BBL6 table for the moment. The Heat now look certain to end a four year final's drought and will instead have their eyes firmly locked on securing a Top 2 finish with 3 rounds to play. The Scorchers suffered their first home loss of the season, however are still well placed to qualify for the Top 4 sitting at 3-2. The home side were once again well served by the excellent batting form of all rounder Mitchell Marsh, who bludgeoned 70 from 41 balls, however their total was made mincemeat of by the Heat's dynamic duo. The Scorchers get the chance straight away to inflict revenge on the Heat when the sides meet again on Wednesday at The Gabba.
Heat Greatest Show On Turf
Brendon McCullum and his side are the box office smash hits of BBL6. The Gabba has already had two large crowds and I have no doubt the place will be a sell-out for the Heat's final two home games against the Scorchers and Renegades. Yesterday we witnessed one of the greatest displays of ball striking I can remember from Chris Lynn as he pulverised 98 not out from 49 balls, to flatten the home side. Lynn was unstoppable, belting 11 sixers, many of them that didn't just go over the rope but many miles into the stands. Lynn now has an astounding 26 sixers for BBL6, which is more than each opposition team has as an overall team total. He is a one man wrecking ball, capable of even putting his more revered team mate Brendon McCullum in the shade. McCullum was at his belligerent best as he bludgeoned his way to 50 from 31 balls, however was consigned to the role of sub plot as Lynn took centre stage. Lynn is taking the BBL by storm for the second straight season as he runs away with the leading run scorer title once more. Lynn has the ridiculous figures of 309 runs at an average of 154 and a strike rate of 177 - wow! Lynn would certainly be raising eyebrows among the national selectors who may decide to take a punt on him into the Australian 50-Over team as well as being a lock for the Australian T20 team. For now, opposition teams will be scrambling for plans to stop the Heat's dynamic duo.
The Heat Can Win The Title
Coming into BBL6 I liked the Heat to make the finals, however I wasn't so convinced they were a genuine title threat. We knew the Heat had an explosive batting line up capable of blowing sides away, however there remained genuine question marks over a relatively inexperienced and little named bowling unit. Last night, in the absence of Samuel Badree, the Heat put in their best bowling display of BBL6 to date, by limiting a strong Scorchers' batting line up to 6/173 from 20 overs in their own backyard. Young leg spinner Mitchell Swepson was outstanding, claiming 2/27 from 4 overs, taking on the role of senior spinner in the heat line up. While Mark Steketee, Jake WIldermuth and Ben Cutting all did a really steady job going at around 8 per over and picking up a few key wickets on a fast outfield and good batting pitch. Those three quicks would have taken a lot of confidence from that outing, as they have gone around the park at various times early in the BBL. Captain Brendon McCullum appears to be getting a feel for his bowlers, and the Heat are improving as a bowling and fielding unit with each game. With their batting ceiling so high, if the Heat keep improving with the ball, there is no doubt in my mind they are the new favourites to win BBL6.
Scorchers Remain Well Placed
No team likes getting beaten at home, let alone thumped, so expect a reaction from Justin Langer's men when they head to Brisbane on Wednesday. Langer is a proud, fiery, combative character and he won't allow his team to go down in the limp fashion they did yesterday. Expect an ambush from the Scorchers and them to make some adjustments to ask the Heat a few different questions. I reckon they might give Mitchell Johnson first crack at Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn, rather than wait until after the Power Play to bring him in. Ashton Turner bowled an excellent first over conceding just 3 runs to McCullum, so it was a bit perplexing that he wasn't used more as the Scorchers' quicks all went the journey. I don't think they will change their batting approach, however Langer will know scores of 170 odd are not good enough against a side as explosive as Brisbane, so Perth may have to go a little harder up front in the Power Play.
The Lurker Is Faltering
I'm starting to worry about the Lurker and his longevity. After starting a remarkable 10 from 11, The Lurker looked bullet proof as he sauntered his way from one victory to another. However, as soon as 2017 came along he went stone cold. The Lurker is now a dismal 2 wins and 4 losses in 2017 and will be having some deep introspection right now. Despite being right in telling us Shaun Marsh would score 25 +, the Scorchers were never in the contest as The Lurker dropped back-to-back games for the first time this BBL. It's a mini crisis for The Lurker as he faces up to 3 straight defeats when the Hurricanes visit the Strikers tonight. Which way will be lean?