BBL: Heat ready for battle with Scorchers

BBL: Heat ready for battle with Scorchers

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Brisbane Heat star Nathan McSweeney is adamant his side’s impressive BBL campaign won’t be derailed by having to move from the Gabba to the Gold Coast for the finals series.

The first-placed Heat will welcome back Test pair Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja on Wednesday night when they hope to maintain their unbeaten start to the season against reigning champions Perth at the Gabba.

Such has been the Heat’s form, they have already guaranteed themselves a top-four berth and at least one home finals match despite still have two games of the regular season to play.

However, due to the Gabba needing to be prepared for this month’s Australia-West Indies Test in Brisbane, the Heat’s home finals games will be played at Carrara venue Heritage Bank Stadium,

The slow drop-in wicket used at the Gold Coast arena will be in stark contrast to the fast and bouncy Gabba pitch.

“Naturally it’s probably slightly slower than the Gabba,” McSweeney said on Monday.

“Personally, I love playing the Gabba. It suits my game really well, but (Heat opener) Colin Munro and players like that have really big scores at (Heritage Bank Stadium), so I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue for us.”

However, New Zealand import Munro won’t be available for the finals series due to playing commitments in the UAE-based T20 International League.

Regardless, McSweeney tipped the Heat to embrace their finals’ home ground.

“The fans down there are awesome,” he said.

“The ground is a really nice ground so it shouldn’t make a big difference for us.

“Having a home final is massive for us and for our fans. They’ve been excellent this year at the Gabba and (Heritage Bank Stadium) is a great ground as well, so we’re really looking forward to getting down there and playing.”

Labuschagne and Khawaja are available for Heat selection for just the second time this season on Wednesday night.

Having played in the Heat’s opening match of their 2023-24 campaign, a 103-run win over the Melbourne Stars, the pair then left to represent Australia in the recently completed three-Test series against Pakistan.

Heat coach Wade Seccombe said: “It will be good for the group to have Usman and Marnus back around the team, especially as we get into the business end of the competition/

“They helped us get the BBL season off to a confident start and no doubt they will enjoy the chance to get out in front of the Heat fans at the Gabba before they refocus on the rest of the Test summer (against the West Indies).”

Following Wednesday night’s clash, the Scorchers will host the Heat on Saturday, with McSweeney saying back-to-back games against Perth would serve as an ideal preparation for the finals.

“Perth have been awesome for the past couple of years, so we’re going to have to be at our best,” he said.

“We haven’t quite nailed it. We’ve won the last few games in a row and we haven’t been beaten yet, but I feel like we haven’t played our best cricket, so hopefully we can search for that perfect game, and bat and bowl together in one game.

“We haven’t really nailed both. That’ll be good no doubt, but we’re playing great cricket so no reason why we can’t win.”

Originally published as Brisbane Heat confident of adjusting to new home ground during BBL finals series

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