BBL: Heat win thriller over Stars by 4 Runs in Big Bash 2023, Match 51

Brisbane’s late-season march towards the KFC BBL|12 playoffs has continued with a dramatic four-run triumph against Melbourne Stars at the Gabba. Spencer Johnson bowled the last over of the contest for the second time in as many games, and with the Stars requiring 14, he kept Marcus Stoinis (36no) and Hilton Cartwright (33no) at bay with steely nerves.

BBL12, Johnson does it again as Heat win a thriller

BBL Heat win thriller over Stars by Runs in Big Bash 2023, -1

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It comes after his last over against the Hurricanes and Tim David on Friday night, which yielded just five runs. The Heat’s victory was set up by an unbroken 133-run partnership between wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson (57 not out off 43 balls) and English import Sam Hain (73 not out off 41 balls), which pushed the home side to 4-188 batting first. Cartwright and Stoinis were both caught off full tosses that were properly judged above the waist for the last-placed Stars with 14 deliveries to play.

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The two smashed sixes and fours to set up a last-ball battle, but Johnson delivered a near-perfect yorker to keep Stoinis at bay. With a victory against the Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on Wednesday, the Heat can secure a top-five finals spot. Because the standings are so close, the Heat might finish as high as third or miss the finals entirely, depending on the outcomes. In an inning that featured three big sixes over the leg side, Stars opener Tom Rogers hammered 41 off 20 balls to get the visitors going fast in pursuit of the score.

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Mitchell Swepson (2-23 off four) was instrumental in the Heat’s early momentum, with his crisp leg spinners. Earlier, at 4-55 in the seventh over, Hain and Peirson timed their liaison to perfection by taking 30 runs off the two power surge overs to boost the ante. Peirson was an abrasive square of the wicket in his 101st BBL game for Brisbane, while Hain unleashed a slew of strokes, including a reverse ramp for six. It was a rescue operation that might still prove vital in assuring the Heat’s participation in the playoffs.

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In a scary opening period for the Stars, England international Luke Wood came out spitting fire and brimstone. In his first two overs, he dismissed Josh Brown (four) and Marnus Labuschagne (one), and he almost dismissed Matt Renshaw first ball. Renshaw was out for seven when he faced mid-off Adam Zampa and lost. After skipper Usman Khawaja won the toss, Nathan Coulter-Nile cleaned up Usman Khawaja (24) to put the hosts in difficulty.

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