1st Match (N), Brisbane, December 07, 2023, Big Bash League
(15.1/20 ov, T:215) 111

Heat won by 103 runs

Player Of The Match
99* (61)
Cricinfo's MVP
106.4 ptsImpact List

Colin Munro 99* leads Brisbane Heat to massive opening-day win over Melbourne Stars

All eyes were on Glenn Maxwell after his heroics at the World Cup, but he could produce only a brief flurry in visible discomfort

Colin Munro hit 99* off 61 balls  •  Getty Images

Colin Munro hit 99* off 61 balls  •  Getty Images

Brisbane Heat 214 for 3 (Munro 99*, Labuschagne 30, Coulter-Nile 1-35) beat Melbourne Stars 111 (Cartwright 33, Swepson 3-23, Bartlett 2-8) by 103 runs
Opener Colin Munro smashed an unbeaten 99 before Brisbane Heat overcame a brief flurry from an injured Glenn Maxwell to thump Melbourne Stars in the BBL season opener at the Gabba.
After a gutting defeat in last season's BBL final, Heat produced an almost flawless performance in front of 20,000 satisfied fans. Munro gave them the perfect start by batting through the innings in a belligerent 61-ball knock that lifted Heat to a massive total of 214 for 3.
But Stars couldn't be discounted of producing a record chase on the ground with a powerful batting line-up led by Maxwell. All eyes were on him after his heroics at the World Cup, and he came to the crease early after openers Tom Rogers and Sam Harper fell to quick Michael Neser in the first over.
Heat were suddenly anxious after Maxwell produced an extraordinary attack on left-arm quick Spencer Johnson in the fourth over. He smashed 18 runs in the span of four deliveries, but a wispy whip to the boundary caused him visible discomfort, although he hit the next ball for six over backward square leg.
Maxwell sort medical attention twice, and had his forearm taped. He eyed producing another match-winning knock while batting in pain, but fell on his first attempt of the reverse sweep when he hit legspinner Mitchell Swepson straight to deep cover. The pressure fell on Marcus Stoinis, who had played in the first three T20Is against India in the aftermath of the World Cup, but he hit left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann to short extra cover.
The dismissal left Stars in tatters at 52 for 4 in the seventh over, and they never recovered despite some lusty hitting from Hilton Cartwright. It was a forgettable start for Stars, who have been determined to rebound from last season's wooden spoon as they bid for a drought-breaking title. The result leaves Stars already on the back foot, and they will be sweating on Maxwell's fitness.
Stars must have entered the game confident, with Heat heavily impacted by the Prime Minister's XI ongoing match against Pakistan in Canberra. They were without wicketkeeper Jimmy Peirson and top-order batters Nathan McSweeney and Matthew Renshaw, but had the services of Neser, who had pulled out of the Prime Minister's XI line-up due to soreness.
Maxwell elected to bowl, but expectations of a two-paced surface didn't eventuate as Munro and captain Usman Khawaja tore into Stars' attack in perfect batting conditions. Khawaja, in what will likely be a rare appearance this season, had a let off in the first over after a leaping Rogers dropped a rocket at point.
It was a bitter disappointment for England quick Olly Stone, who was a late addition to the Stars squad. Left-arm quick Joel Paris, recruited from Hobart Hurricanes, fared worse and was belted for 13 runs in his first over. With pace bowling having no impact on a hard surface as the batters looked to go aerial on almost every ball, Maxwell brought himself into the attack in the fourth over, something he has sometimes been reluctant to do in the BBL.
But Munro was ruthless, and treated Maxwell's offspin with disdain in an over leaking 19 runs as Heat ended the powerplay at 43 for 0. However, Maxwell provided a much-needed breakthrough when Khawaja holed out on 28 in the seventh over. Munro then took over with muscular batting and reached his half-century in style with a six off Pakistan legspinner Usama Mir.
Stars were left to rue Rogers dropping another catch when he fumbled a high ball after running in from the boundary when Munro was on 58. Marnus Labuschagne, also playing a sporadic BBL match this season like Khawaja will be, was intent on turning the strike over to Munro, who continued to successfully target the straight boundaries.
Labuschagne never quite got into rhythm, unable to enhance his reputation in a format he has been least successful in, but it didn't affect Heat, who were aided by wayward bowling from Stone and quick Nathan Coulter-Nile at the death.
Max Bryant finished with three straight boundaries, but Munro was left agonisingly short of his second BBL century. Heat posted their second highest total, and the momentum carried over in the field.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

Win Probability
BH 100%
100%50%100%BH InningsMS Innings

Over 16 • MS 111/10

Olly Stone b Swepson 2 (3b 0x4 0x6 5m) SR: 66.66
Heat won by 103 runs
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