Brisbane Heat skipper James Hopes has turned in a man-of-the-match performance to lead his side to an upset 24-run win over the Melbourne Stars at the Gabba tonight.
Hopes (49 off 40 balls) top scored as the home side set the second-placed Stars 172 for victory. He then took 3 for 28 with the ball as Brisbane recorded their first home win of the season.
Dan Christian (27 off 23) and Chris Lynn (26 off 17) sparked the Heat into action late in their innings after runs dried up in the middle overs. That was due largely to the bowling of Lasith Malinga, who had figures of 3-1 off his first two overs.
20th: McDermott bowls the last over and Stars tailenders Malinga and McKay are under no illusions of pulling off a miracle win. The Heat quick rattles Malinga's stumps with the last ball of the match. Heat skipper Hopes (49 runs off 40 balls and 3 for 28) named man of the match.
19th: WICKET Faulkner's not throwing in the towel. He takes Roach over the mid-wicket fence on the first ball of the over. But the West Indian gets his revenge two balls later when he slips one through Faulkner (18 off 11) and lights up the stumps. Malinga to the crease with Warne still sitting on the sidelines.
18th: McDermott to bowl the third last over for the Heat. He starts off with a bouncer that's called a wide. He persists with the short length though and the rest of the over is frugal. Just four off it. Stars need three a ball.
17th: WICKET Crowd officially announced at 24,570 and they are in for a hell of a finish here with the visitors needing a touch over two runs a ball. Perera bowling again and he watches his second delivery rocket off Hastings' bat and fall over the rope just in front of the sight screen. Just as Hastings (22 off 11) is looking terrifying for the Stars, Perera slips a yorker through him and rattles his stumps.
16th: Hastings gets a lucky boundary over the keeper off a Cutting short ball. Cutting over-pitches and Hastings launches it into the stands over long-on.
15th: WICKET Perera comes into the attack with immediate effect. White (3 off 5) tries to club one over the infield and it's taken by Pomersbach at mid-off. Faulkner comes to the crease. And now it's Hussey (17 off 15) who dishes up an easy catch to Roach at backward square leg. Heat sniff their first home win of the season now. Faulkner to the crease.
14th: Hussey swings a Christian delivery square. It looks like it may carry to one of two fielders in the deep but falls short. His cross-bat slog off the next ball produces an edge to the third-man boundary. Stars bring up their 100 off 13.4 overs. Interestingly, Brisbane were also on 100 at that point of their innings, but had an extra wicket in hand.
13th: WICKET Hopes resumes bowling duties and gets Maxwell (13 off 9) to have a crack at the square leg boundary. He skies his shot and Lynn has a sandwich waiting for it to come down and finally takes the catch. White comes to the crease.
12th: Christian to bowl for the Heat as Hopes comes off the field. Not sure what the problem is there. Matt Hayden still a popular face in these parts. He gets a round of applause as his face flashes up on the big screen. Christian almost snares a miracle caught and bowled off Maxwell, but his diving effort goes to ground. Hopes back on the field. Comfort stop?
11th: WICKET Wright (34 off 30) holds out to Christian on the mid-on boundary off the bowling of Hopes. The skipper has bowled well for the Heat and they will be glad to see the back of the Englishman. Maxwell comes in for the Stars. He plays a copybook pull shot over the fence behind square. Effortless stroke.
10th: Cutting changes ends and takes the ball from the Vulture Street end. Hussey and Wright settling for singles off cut shots behind square as Cutting keeps a tight line. Hopes almost takes a screamer in gully off the last ball.
9th: WICKET Forrest redeems himself after dropping a tough one off Hodge, by swallowing one off the bowling of Hopes. Hodge (21 off 18) is a key wicket for the home side and Hussey comes to the crease.
8th: Change of pace here with Hauritz into the attack. Wright gets hold of a full toss but it's cut off at the straight boundary by Roach. Hodge comes down the wicket and clubs the last ball of the over past the rope at mid-on.
7th: Hopes draws Wright into a lofty on-drive and it drops frustratingly close to Hauritz and Christian. Wright then pulls one out to Hauritz's neighbourhood at mid-wicket but once again it falls just short. And now it's a diving Forrest in gully who drops a well-hit Hodge cut shot.
6th: Wright survives a very vocal appeal after he stepped inside a Roach short ball and the Heat thought he'd feathered it to Hartley. Umpire doesn't agree. Wright responds by pumping the next ball over covers to the fence with a horizontal bat. The over ends with Hodge surviving an LBW shout.
5th: Wright late cuts Cutting to the fence. He tries the same shot again but finds Perera on the third-man fence. Hodge stands and delivers a brutal cut shot through point. Minimum footwork and maximum power from the Victorian. Cutting digging in short and straight to round out the over and he has more success wit hthat wit hthree dot balls.
4th: McDermott on for his second over and Hodge flicks him fine to the fence through fine leg. He then tries to put one over the long boundary at mid-wicket. He gets a top edge but it falls safe between two fielders.
3rd: Roach comes on for his second over and Wright almost throws his back out trying to put the first delivery over Stanley Street. Roach responds with a nasty short ball. Good over from Roach.
2nd: WICKET McDermott takes bowling duties for the Heat and Quniey (10 off 9) puts his first delivery over mid-off. It's not cleanly hit but it had enough muscle to reach the rope. The Victorian tries to swing one off his hip but skies it behind square and Roach makes no mistake with the catch. Hodge comes in for the visitors.
1st: Quiney and Wright open the batting for the Stars. They face Roach from the Stanley Street end. The West Indian quick straight into the mid-140s, but Quiney seeing it well after 20 overs behind the stumps. He launches one to the fence over covers.
Innings end: If the Heat get run down in this chase, they will likely look at the early part of the innings when the Stars tied them down, mainly through some torrid bowling from Malinga (3 for 26), who had 3 for 1 off his first two overs. Great comeback from Christian (27 off 23) and Lynn (26 off 17) gave the Heat bowlers something to defend though. Hopes finally among the runs as well, hitting 49 off 40 balls.
20th: WICKET Both Lynn and Christian getting clean bat on Malinga but unable to find the rope. Christian run out trying to stretch a single into two. Forrest comes to the crease. Then Lynn gets onto one and puts it over mid-wicket - halfway into the second tier. Massive shot (they're calling it 100m) and he's making a mess of Malinga's figures.
19th: Faulkner watches Christian get a life after an off-drive rockets to mid-off and pops out of the fielder's hands. Laughter around the ground as teh big screen reveals that fielder is Shane Warne. Christian hits a couple of boundaries, the second of which comes on an edge that almost turned into an acrobatic catch for Quiney. Would have been all over the highlight packages for a long time but it flies off the glove to the fence.
18th: And it's that man Malinga with the ball in his hand again. He'll bowl two of the last three overs. Lynn has done the seemingly impossible and sent him to the fence through covers. Crowd appreciates the achievement. Lynn and Christian don't push their luck for the rest of the over, taking runs one at a time apart from a single they took off a wide.
17th: Christian finding the fence off McKay now as the pair continue to exchange words. Lynn getting good bat on ball as well but he's cut off at the straight boundary by White and then Hussey on consecutive balls.
16th: Lynn opens his scoring by swatting Warne to the square leg fence. Quiney shows quick gloves again. He looks like he may have taken off the bails with Lynn's foot in the air but replays show the Heat batsman was safe.
15th: WICKET Genuine face-off between McKay and Perera as the Stars stack the fence on the on-side. The Heat batsman, anticipating a short ball stands well back in his crease. The first one is hit hard to the man at mid-wicket, and the next goes over the fence and another goes for four. The whole thing is punctuated by a heated exchange between Christian and McKay, with only the grill on Christian's helmet keeping the pair apart. The over ends with Perera getting glove on yet another short ball and Quiney takes the catch. Lynn comes to the crease and Warne to bowl.
14th: Wright can't find a hole in the ground big enough after a mix-up between himself and Warne gives Perera a life. The Sri Lankan skied one off Hastings and the two Stars players were left looking at each other as the ball fell between them. The Melbourne skipper was none too pleased.
13th: WICKET Malinga comes on for his second over. His figures? 1 for 0 off one over. Make that 2 for 0 after Hartley (24 off 25) pops up a slower ball and White swallows it on the off side. Actually, make that 3 for 0 after Hopes (49 off 41) misreads a slower ball and it cleans up his stumps. Christian survives the hat-trick ball with Perera at the other end. Round of applause for Christian as he finally takes a run off the Sri Lankan, 11 balls and three wickets into his spell. That's the over bowled and Malinga has the figures of 3 for 1 off 2 overs. I am guilty of typos from time to time, but trust me, those figures are correct.
12th: Faulkner on from the Stanley Street end. Hopes still getting no value for good shots. He's finding the middle but also finding fielders. One off-drive picks out Warne just inside the circle. It would just about have put a hole in the fence had it got through. Hartley flicks a ball fine down the leg side to the fence. Similar shot the next ball but a diving Quiney cuts it off.
11th: Hastings back on as the crowd gets into some "YMCA". At least 24,000 through the gates so far, which is a pretty good roll-up. Hartley has a crack at the mid-wicket boundary and skies it. It falls perilously close to Faulkner in th edeep. He survives a run out attempt on a quick single the next ball. He appreciates the lives he's been given and responds by clubbing a straight drive to the fence off a no-ball. He can only manage a single of the free hit. Quiney gets an ugly slower-ball bouncer that reaches him on the half-hop. He covers it well but it's a wide and Hartley takes the next ball to the fence.
10th: Warne on for his second over. He manages to put the shackles back on the Heat. Nine off the over. The Heat really need to hit the gas now.
9th: Hussey comes on to roll in a few off-spinners for the Stars. Hopes finally breaks loose and clubs one over the long-on fence. Runs had been coming in small bites to that point, so the 11-run over will be appreciated.
8th: Cheer around the ground signals Warne has the ball in hand. The "Warnie" chant comes out but it's snuffed out by a well-timed interjection from the ground announcer. Good test for Quiney there as Warne shoots one down the leg side. He fumbles as he whips the bails off, but did well to get glove on it in the first place. Hartley steps across the stumps and spoons one over the top for a boundary at fine leg. Quiney likes his chances of a stumping on the end of the over. It goes to the replay but the big screen shows Hartley got his left foot back in time.
7th: McKay takes the ball again at the Vulture Street end. Hopes hits hard to the straight boundary but it's cut off by Hodge in the deep. Runs really hard to come by for the home side at the moment. Everything seems to pick out a fielder for Hopes. McKay having plenty of success digging short balls in. Brisbane must be getting frustrated. Nine runs off three overs.
6th: Heat trying to create some runs from somewhere after a slow over. Hartley survives an LBW shout but it looks like there was willow on it. The Heat wicket-keeper looking better after a well-timed pull shot is fielded in the deep.
5th: WICKET Malinga comes into the attack for the first time and Heat fans around the stadium shuffle in their seats. And with good reason. Pomersbach (12 off 10) attacks the first delivery and gets a good piece of it, but his on-drive is plucked out of the air by Faulkner at mid-on. Hartley comes in for the Heat. Malinga says hello with a full toss flirting with no-ball status. Safe to say Hartley is awake now. If he wasn't a bouncer a couple of balls later should have done the job. Dot ball maiden.
4th: Hastings gets the ball for the Stars and Pomersbach comes down the pitch to greet him, belting him back over his head to the fence. The Heat opener steps back and guides the next delivery through vacant third slip. Four more. Hopes survives a scare after a late cut goes sour and the ball ends up under his feet. It wobbles around the crease, flirting with the stumps, but the Heat skipper survives.
3rd: Hopes gives himself room and caresses a Faulkner delivery to the fence through covers. Lovely shot. Faulkner ends the over with a slower ball but Hopes sees it coming a mile off and clubs it to the rope over mid-on.
2nd: McKay bowls the second over. He over-pitches and Hopes plays a lovely cover drive to the rope. The Heat skipper chancing his arm early. He survives a caught-behind appeal after trying to cut a ball close to the body, then he charges into a cross-bat shot that flops to the ground just wide of Malinga at mid-off.
1st: Part-time wicket-keeper Qiuiney gets tested with the first ball of the night straying wide down leg side. The Test discard dives full-length to his right and gloves it despite a resume very thin on keeping experience. Faulkner pretty tight early, with Hopes clipping through square leg for three to register the most damage in the first over.
Pre-game: We're just about ready to go here, with a good crowd in for the second last Big Bash game of the season. Shane Warne has just fired up the Stars before they took the field. Stars won the toss and sent in the home side, with Hopes and Pomersbach facing the new ball for the Heat. Faulkner has the new ball.
The Heat look to have their work cut out for them tonight as the second-placed Melbourne Stars come to town looking to draw level with cross-town rivals the Renegades at the top of the Big Bash League ladder. They bring with them the BBL's best bowler in Sri Lanakan Lasith Malinga and veteran spin king Warne, making runs a precious commodity for the sixth-placed Heat.