Final (N), Perth, February 04, 2023, Big Bash League
(19.2/20 ov, T:176) 178/5

Scorchers won by 5 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)


Perth Scorchers' depth, hometown support make them favourites against Brisbane Heat

A sellout crowd is expected at the Optus Stadium, with Heat in their first final since 2012-13

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Captains Jimmy Peirson and Ashton Turner pose with the BBL trophy ahead of the final  •  Getty Images

Captains Jimmy Peirson and Ashton Turner pose with the BBL trophy ahead of the final  •  Getty Images

Big Picture

The BBL final will be one of contrasts. On the one hand you have the powerful Perth Scorchers who, barring the occasional blip, have looked the best team (again) this season. On the other, you have Brisbane Heat who were bottom on January 14 but have now strung together seven wins in eight matches to reach the final - their first since 2012-13 - the hard way from the Eliminator, Knockout and Challenger.
It would, however, still be a huge victory against the odds if they were able to claim the title at the Optus Stadium, although there are some uncanny similarities with their previous success when they had overcome Scorchers in Perth after finishing fourth in the regular season.
Scorchers' depth has always been one of their standout traits, but it has been on display more than ever this season. For various reasons they lost all their initial overseas signings, but secured some shrewd replacements - particularly Stephen Eskinazi and David Payne - even as their local resources have stood up, with Ashton Turner reaffirming his standing as both captain and batter. They have not had Mitchell Marsh all season, while Jhye Richardson has missed the latter half of the tournament, but they still secured straight passage into the final.
Although Michael Neser got Heat across the line in the Challenger against Sydney Sixers in Sydney, they will likely need at least one of their top order batters to produce a substantial innings if they are to prevail. A lot could rest on Sam Hain - who is unlucky not to be in England's white-ball squads - and the captain Jimmy Peirson.
The final will unfold in front of a bumper crowd. It is on track to be a sellout for the Optus Stadium's first BBL decider, with upwards of 53,000 people. Expectedly, there won't be many cheering for Heat.

Previous meetings this season

January 7: Perth Scorchers won by seven wickets, Optus Stadium
Colin Munro and Josh Brown gave Heat a rapid start with a stand of 81, and even though the innings faded away, it felt as though they at least had a competitive target. Scorchers quickly proved otherwise, as Cameron Bancroft (76 off 48) and Aaron Hardie (57 off 33) flayed the Heat attack, and victory came with 21 balls spare
January 11: Perth Scorchers won by eight wickets, Gabba
The return fixture a few days later was equally convincing for Scorchers despite Heat having regained Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw. Hardie (65 off 45) was again in the runs, this time alongside Josh Inglis (67 off 35), as they hunted down a target of 156 with 22 balls to spare.

In the spotlight

Spencer Johnson has been one of the breakout stars of the season, though he may not have the tally of wickets to show for it. He has even been spoken about as a potential successor to Mitchell Starc in Australia T20I's set-up. Johnson was not part of the side when the teams met in Perth during the regular season, but he could be a handful on the Optus surface.
Jason Behrendorff has been a regular source of early wickets for Scorchers this season, with 19 at an average of 18, and will have his eyes on what is a vulnerable Heat top order without the Test players. If the ball is moving, Turner isn't afraid to give him three overs early in the game. Behrendorff's best figures of the season - 3 for 21 - came against Heat itself at the Gabba.

Team news

Scorchers' big selection call is who replaces Lance Morris now that he is with the Test squad in India. It comes down to either another fast bowler in Matt Kelly, who has recovered from concussion, or a specialist spinner in Peter Hatzoglou. "I can tell you it's a really difficult decision," Turner said of the selection call.
Perth Scorchers (probable): 1 Stephen Eskinazi, 2 Cameron Bancroft, 3 Aaron Hardie, 4 Josh Inglis (wk), 5 Ashton Turner (capt), 6 Nick Hobson, 7 Cooper Connolly, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 David Payne, 10 Jason Behrendorff, 11 Matt Kelly/Peter Hatzoglou
It would seem unlikely that Heat will make any changes to the side which overcame Sixers at the SCG, although Mark Steketee remains in the mix.
Brisbane Heat (probable): 1 Sam Heazlett, 2 Josh Brown, 3 Nathan McSweeney, 4 Sam Hain, 5 Jimmy Peirson (capt, wk), 6 Max Bryant, 7 Michael Neser, 8 James Bazley, 9 Xavier Bartlett, 10 Spencer Johnson, 11 Matt Kuhnemann

Pitch and conditions

There has been help at times for the bowlers this season at the Optus Stadium, but also plenty of runs on offer. The surface for the final will be the same as used in the Qualifier against Sixers. The forecast is for a hot day, and with the 4.15pm local start time, it will likely not have cooled much for the side that has to field first.


"We would love to stick it to the crowd, but it's not at the forefront of our mind. We just want to play good cricket against a high-quality side."
Visiting captain Jimmy Peirson isn't bothered by the Perth crowd cheering on their home team
"We don't need any more motivation other than lifting this trophy. We've had our eyes set on it since we had to hand it back a few days after winning it last year, and we know how special that feeling is.
Scorchers' Ashton Turner reveals one of his motivations behind winning the BBL

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Over 20 • PS 178/5

Scorchers won by 5 wickets (with 4 balls remaining)
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