By Dejan Kalinic, Omnisport
The Brisbane Heat and Perth Scorchers have both won one game this season, making this clash at the Gabba on Tuesday night vital.
Bowled out for 69 against the Melbourne Stars in their second match, the Scorchers bounced back with a seven-wicket win over reigning champions, the Sydney Sixers, the team which beat Perth in the final last season.
Perth's bowlers did the damage with Alfonso Thomas, Michael Beer and Hilton Cartwright picking up two wickets apiece.
Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-9 off four overs) also impressed as the Scorchers held the Sixers to 9-113 from their 20 overs.
Shaun Marsh (83 runs) has been the pick of Perth's batsmen this season, while Adam Voges (72) is their next highest scorer.
The Heat got on the winners' list with a last-ball victory over the Adelaide Strikers, which came largely thanks to a 65 from Luke Pomersbach.
Joe Burns has been reliable with the bat, scoring 44 and 37 in his two matches for the Heat this campaign.
The Heat's preparations for the tournament were marred by several injuries and withdrawals, but they appear to be settling.
Alister McDermott, Ben Cutting and Thisara Perera look strong with the ball, while one of their solid top order can be expected to produce some fireworks.
West Indian Kemar Roach missed the match against the Strikers last week but is likely to face the Scorchers this time around.
Roach v Marsh
The left-handed opener has struggled for Western Australia this season but is slowly finding form and looks capable of dominating the KFC Big Bash League. He is likely to come up against West Indies speedster Roach in the early overs at the Gabba, a battle which could be crucial to both sides. Without Marsh, the Scorchers were ripped through by Lasith Malinga and the Stars, and they could face a similar fate if they are unable to keep Roach at bay.
Cutting – with all eyes likely to be on Roach, the 25-year-old Queenslander may sneak under the radar and surprise the Scorchers. Cutting has three wickets at an average of 18.66 this BBL season and a respectable economy rate of eight runs per over. He is unlikely to open the bowling but may be the difference through the middle overs.
The Scorchers recorded a 10-run win at the WACA thanks to strong batting from their top order, which helped them to 8-162 after they elected to bat.
Marcus North (40), Herschelle Gibbs (38) and Mitch Marsh (33) saw the Scorchers to the total, which proved too much for the Heat.
Peter Forrest managed 59 and Matthew Hayden scored 33 but when Ben Edmondson (2-33) removed Dan Christian (nine off eight), the Scorchers were home.
Heat: James Hopes (captain), Alister McDermott, Nathan Hauritz, Dan Christian, Ben Cutting, Luke Pomersbach, Joe Burns, Chris Hartley, Peter Forrest, Chris Lynn, Cameron Gannon, Thisara Perera, Kemar Roach
Scorchers: Simon Katich (Captain), Michael Beer, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Herschelle Gibbs, Brad Hogg, Shaun Marsh, Joe Mennie, Marcus North, Marcus Stoinis, Alfonso Thomas, Tom Triffitt, Adam Voges.
Facts and figures
The Brisbane Heat have won just two of their five Big Bash League matches at the Gabba.
This season, all nine teams who have batted second have gone on to win.
The Scorchers had two of the top three leading run scorers of last season, with Mitch Marsh (309) and Gibbs (302) second and third respectively behind Travis Birt (345).
Three of last season's top four team totals were scored at the Gabba, two of which were by the Heat.