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13th Match (N), Brisbane, December 23, 2020, Big Bash League
(20 ov, T:151) 148/9

Strikers won by 2 runs


Strikers survive Jimmy Peirson blitz in cliffhanger to snare two-run win

Stand-in captain Peirson's quickfire 69 was in vain as Strikers defended 17 off the last two overs

Alex Malcolm
Adelaide Strikers 6 for 150 (Renshaw 32, Bartlett 3-24) beat Brisbane Heat 9 for 148 (Peirson 69*, Briggs 3-20) by two runs
The Adelaide Strikers have survived an extraordinary innings from Jimmy Peirson to pull off a nail-biting win at the Gabba and ensure the Heat remain winless after three games.
The Heat were 8 for 68 needing 83 to win from 40 balls. But Peirson nearly stole the game, smashing 69 not out from 36 balls with seven fours and two sixes. He got great support from Mujeeb Ur Rahman but when Mujeeb fell he had no margin for error.
Peirson and Ben Laughlin needed just 17 runs off the last two overs but faced eight dot balls between them as Laughlin couldn't get off strike in the penultimate over and Peirson was unwilling to risk him getting on strike in the last.
The result came at a huge cost for both clubs with Chris Lynn and Rashid Khan suffering hamstring injuries. Lynn damaged his left hamstring running to catch a high ball during the warm-up and was unable to play. The injury occurred after the toss but the Strikers allowed the Heat to change their team as per the BBL guidelines. Simon Milenko came into the side and Peirson took over as captain for the first time in his T20 career.
Rashid injured his right hamstring chasing a ball in the 18th over and limped off in some discomfort having earlier taken 2 for 30.
Renshaw returns
Matt Renshaw was one of a number of players who left the Heat during the off season and he returned to have an impact early. He entered at 1 for 2 in the first over after Jake Weatherald fell. The standard of umpiring in the lack of DRS in the BBL has been a significant issue this season and Weatherald's dismissal only added to the dismay. Batting well out of his crease against Xavier Bartlett, he was struck well above the knee roll and was adjudged lbw. Ball tracking had it going well over the stumps. Renshaw and Phil Salt put together a 60-run stand which took 53 balls. But in the context of the game on a two-paced surface, it was a significant stand. Salt nearly ran himself out three times but Renshaw looked composed punishing anything short. But both men fell to Mark Steketee in consecutive balls in the 10th over to leave the Strikers vulnerable.
Understudy Nielsen steps up
Harry Nielsen only got his opportunity because Alex Carey was ruled out due to the Queensland border closure. But he played a brilliant innings to help the Strikers reach 150. He found the rope more than any other Strikers batsman, hitting three fours and a six on the Gabba's expansive boundaries. Nielsen and Jonathan Wells combined for 57 in just six overs including 25 off the Power Surge overs. Nielsen holed out in the 19th over to Jack Wildermuth and Wells fell in the 20th to Bartlett. The Heat quicks completed outstanding spells taking 4 for 49 from their combined eight overs and conceding just one boundary each.
Heat horror show
It was always going to be a challenge without Lynn but the Heat top order did themselves no favours as they collapsed to 8 for 68. Sam Heazlett guided a catch to backward point second ball to start the rot. Daniel Worrall had the ball swinging late away from the right-handers but stand-in captain Peter Siddle turned to his spinner Danny Briggs for the second over, despite the fact he had been subbed out of the last two games. Briggs bounced back in a big way. He picked up Milenko before Rashid Khan completely deceived Max Bryant and Dan Lawrence with neither able to pick him. Briggs picked up two more in the collapse although one would have been overturned had there been a DRS in place. Tom Cooper was given lbw when he got a huge deflection from a reverse sweep onto his pad. The decision could be the most definitive case yet for the introduction of the DRS in the BBL.
Peirson Power Surge pyrotechnics
All hope looked lost for the Heat when they took the Power Surge in the 15th over but Mujeeb did what the top order of his side could not, clobbering Rashid Khan for two reverse-swept fours and a six. Peirson then clubbed Siddle for 23 with two attempted yorkers sailing over fine leg's head into the crowd. Suddenly the Heat needed just 37 from 24. Peirson should have been run out diving for two but a poor throw and the rule change that allows for the bat to bounce once it had been ground behind the line meant he survived. He clubbed two more boundaries off Wes Agar to reach 50 and reduce the equation to just 23 from 18 balls. But Siddle made up for his mistakes in the Power Surge nailing a yorker to clean bowl Mujeeb.
That left Peirson will no room for error. A well-placed two off the last ball of the 18th over was the nail in the coffin. Ben Laughlin faced five dot balls in the 19th over from Agar. It left Peirson needing 13 in the last to win. He paddled Worrall's first ball for four and found a gap at midwicket to run two and leave just seven to get from four balls. But Worrall hit three yorkers in a row that Peirson hit straight to fielders in the deep. He turned down the single on each occasion knowing that an attempt at two would have resulted in a certain run out. It meant he needed six off the last ball to send it to a Super Over but could not get any elevation, slumping to his knees after finding the rope to leave the Heat two runs short.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne

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