T20 Big Bash League - KFC

Heat grind to glory

21/1/2013 11:27 AM
Heat celebrate
By Ben Waterworth

It was not the glamorous, extravagant BIG FINAL we had expected.

Boundaries were scarce, risks just as limited. There were no standout, match-defining solo efforts from any player on either team.

It was a BIG FINAL grind. A T20 arm wrestle.

But the Brisbane Heat would not have had it any other way, wrestling their way to a sensational win.

Darren Lehmann's men produced a gutsy, workmanlike 34-run victory over the Perth Scorchers at the WACA on Saturday night to secure the coveted BBL|02 title.

Little had separated the two teams throughout the match. Momentum shifts were frequent, yet not momentous. 

But ultimately, the best (team) won.

Over their previous six wins, the Heat had been playing as a united front. And that attitude and playing style fittingly filtered into the match that mattered most.

No Heat batsman tore the game to shreds in the first innings. Runs were tough going against the Scorchers' tight bowling, so a few handy partnerships and some late Dan Christian hitting guided Brisbane to 5-167.

But once the Heat stepped onto the WACA turf to defend their par total, barely a centimetre was conceded.

Every Brisbane bowler was disciplined, bowling with brilliant control and angle. They bowled to their fields and executed their plans to perfection.

Interestingly, over half of the Heat's deliveries were pitched in the first half of the wicket. Ironically, a number of the dismissals were catches in the deep off slower-ball bounces. 

That is what you call a plan coming together.

There was no definitive individual difference between the two teams, such was the nature of the Heat's performance.

But the efforts of the Man of the Match could not be underestimated.

Nathan Hauritz did not take a wicket for the match. He did not even face a delivery with the bat.

But his tight bowling and Velcro-like hands were invaluable.

Hauritz was entrusted with opening the bowling - and he was a raging success.

He finished with the economical figures of 0-11 from three overs. No wickets, yet no doubt he created many for his teammates.

The off-spinner used the Fremantle Doctor superbly, bowling with outstanding drift and drop to make it frustratingly difficult for the Scorchers' batsmen to score freely. He also bowled with impeccable accuracy and guts, fearlessly tossing the ball up and forcing the Scorchers to make their own pace.

However Hauritz's sticky "dukes" were show-stopping.

He claimed a hat-trick of catches for the match to finish with nine takes for the KFC T20 Big Bash League.

Hauritz's first catch was a diving, Nick Riewoldt-like chest mark down at third man. His second was a Matthew Pavlich-like pluck in mid-air on the square-leg boundary. His third  was a comfortable take on the boundary, yet it somehow triggered a passionate, Alan Didak-like celebration.

Perhaps AFL recruiters will be calling Haurtiz following his "dukey" display.

Nevertheless, this victory was never about Hauritz. In fact this victory was never about any individual Brisbane player.

For the Heat, this victory was always about the team - the 11 players who proudly donned the blue shirts.

This was a championship victory that epitomised selflessness and teamwork.