Brisbane Heat 7 for 206 (Ross 51, Burns 50, Stoinis 3-38) beat Melbourne Stars 6 for 191 (Stoinis 99, Faulkner 47*, Shadab 2-41) by 15 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
No Chris Lynn, no worries for Brisbane Heat.
Last season’s semi-finalists threw down a marker in their opening match against Melbourne Stars with a win that was more comprehensive than the scoreline suggested. They destroyed the Stars’ well-balanced attack and dismembered the Star-studded top order to show that Lynn is a value add to the Heat rather than an irreplaceable member of the Bash Brothers two-man band.
But the Stars have so much talent that they never gave in thanks to a remarkable innings from Marcus Stoinis, who made 99 off 51 balls to take the game to the last over.
Stars’ captain John Hastings gave the Heat a leg up early, making the curious decision to bowl first on a superb pitch for batting. He would have felt good after two overs when the Heat were 1 for 10 with Jimmy Pierson back in the shed and Lynn absent as he continues to recover from his shoulder injury.
But Hastings’ mood soon soured when Brendon McCullum lit up the Gabba. Scott Boland’s first over, the third of the innings, went for 24. McCullum found the rope three times and cleared it once. He raced to 40 off 22 balls before he was deceived by a Stoinis slower ball.
But the Heat never lost momentum despite McCullum’s exit. Joe Burns (50 off 28 balls), Alex Ross (51 off 36 balls) and Ben Cutting (35 off 18 balls) climbed into the Stars’ seamers to keep the run-rate above 10 an over through to the end of the innings. Hastings and Boland gave up 96 runs from six combined overs, including 10 fours and six sixes.
Strangely, James Faulkner opened the bowling and conceded just seven runs in the opening over but did not bowl again. By contrast, the spin of Michael Beer and Adam Zampa took 2 for 45 from seven overs. Beer did not concede a boundary and McCullum scored just nine runs off 10 balls against Beer in the Powerplay.
The Heat’s plans for the Stars’ world-class top order worked a treat. Josh Lalor lured last year’s leading scorer Ben Dunk into a thick outside edge that was caught on the second bite by a perfectly placed Mitch Swepson at deep gully. The plans to remove Kevin Pietersen and Glenn Maxwell cheaply were cold, calculated and perfectly executed.
Full report to follow
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.