Pomersbach powers Heat to final
Brisbane Heat 3 for 183 (Pomersbach 112*, Burns 33) beat Melbourne Renegades 9 for 168 (Rohrer 42, Cutting 3-24) by 15 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A powerful unbeaten century from Luke Pomersbach led Brisbane heat to the BBL final after downing the Melbourne Renegades by 15 runs in the first semi-final.
Scarcely at any stage during this BBL was the Brisbane side in the top four in the standings, yet now they have qualified for the Champions League, helped by two stunning Pomersbach innings back to back.
The Renegades were given a boost at the toss when the Heat lost their captain James Hopes in the warm-up to a hamstring strain. Stand-in Chris Hartley elected to bat and cued more pyrotechnics from Pomersbach, following his innings against the Hobart Hurricanes.
In the third over, he opened the shoulders, swinging a Darren Pattinson delivery powerfully to the leg boundary twice in consecutive deliveries. Peter Forrest fell in the same over, trying to clear mid-on. Pomersbach seemed oblivious to the loss of his opening partner, and clubbed four boundaries in the next nine balls. The Renegades turned to their trump cards Aaron O'Brien and Muttiah Muralitharan to put a halt to the easy scoring.
But when Aaron Finch tried to wedge in an over from Pattinson, Joe Burns taxed 14 from it, dispatching a full toss to the cover rope and a length ball to the top tier at square leg, to raise the rate again.
Pomersbach cruised to 50 from 36 balls, and the partnership reached 80 before Burns holed out to Finch in the 14th over. But Pomersbach made Finch pay for it, smashing three fours and a six from the rest of the over.
The left-hand batsman did not just target the pacemen and the part-timers. He audaciously took on Muralitharan, reverse sweeping him to the rope, cracking him through cover, and slog sweeping him over the long-on fence. He reached his first T20 century, and just the ninth in the tournament's history, with 11 balls left in the innings, and eventually scored with an unbeaten 112 off just 70 balls. Chris Lynn finished with a flourish to lift the Heat's total to an imposing 3 for 183.
The Renegades started the chase brightly, thumping 34 from the first three overs. Ben Cutting entered fresh from international duties to castle Alex Hales.
The Heat did not field as well as they had batted, dropping four catches during the Renegades chase, but their bowlers were able to complete victory regardless of it. Alister McDermott, Daniel Christian, Kemar Roach, Nathan Hauritz and Cutting all delivered boundary-less overs after the early assault, and Forrest held a chance to remove Alex Doolan. Finch fell two balls later to an unlikely conqueror in Lynn to leave the Renegades reeling.
But again Ben Rohrer emerged from the wreckage to play another wonderful hand and keep the home side in the hunt. His 42 from just 22 balls featured three magnificent sixes. He and Tom Cooper assaulted Christian in the 12th over, clearing the rope three times between them.
Cutting returned to shatter Cooper's stumps. Rohrer then launched Lynn into the stands, before holing out trying to repeat the stroke. A Renegades wicket fell in each of the last five overs as they pursued the 61 runs still required in that period. It was a target they fell 16 runs shy of to end their hopes of tournament success.
The Heat will either remain in Melbourne for Saturday's final, or travel to Perth, to meet the victor of Wednesday's second semi-final.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth