Strikers bowl out Heat

BRISBANE Heat’s finals hopes appear to be over after the Adelaide Strikers registered a comprehensive 31-run victory in the KFC T20 Big Bash League match at the Gabba on Tuesday night.

Chasing 167 for victory to keep their slim finals hopes alive, the Heat (0-4) slumped to 6-70 after 10 overs in front of a disappointed 14,397 crowd.

Strikers’ debutant James Muirfield had a field day, claiming the key wickets of Michael Neser (1), off his first delivery, and Chris Hartley (11) as well as taking a sharp catch to dismiss Matthew Hayden (13 off 5), who belted two sixes in his short stay at the crease.

Callum Ferguson also played an important role, taking catches to dismiss Brisbane skipper Peter Forrest and Andrew Robinson cheaply before running out Heat dangerman Dan Christian (16 off 12 balls), who was competing against his Redbacks teammates, with a direct hit.

The night got worse before it got better for the home side, when Chris Lynn was caught at third man for 19 as the hosts slumped to 7-90.

The wickets for the Strikers were shared between Kane Richardson (2-2), Brendan Drew (2-27) and Muirhead (2-17).

Earlier, Michael Klinger (53 runs off 44) and man-of-the-match Tom Cooper (43 not out off 27 balls) combined to steer the Strikers to 4-166.

Alister McDermott (2-31, four overs) and Neser (1-16, three overs) were the best bowlers for the Heat while quick Ryan Harris, named as Australia’s 12th man for the SCG Test against India, was solid with 0-29 (four overs).

Former Test off-spinner Nathan Hauritz had a bad night, conceding 40 runs off his four overs.

The Heat had some issues before the game even began with International all-rounder Roelof van de Merwe receiving a one-match suspension and a “significant” fine on Tuesday after a Queensland Cricket disciplinary hearing.

The South African international had been caught over the legal blood alcohol level limit in a roadside breath-test on New Year’s Day – the day after his 27th birthday.

New Zealand international Daniel Vettori, van de Merwe and possibly skipper James Hopes (knee) return for the Heat’s clash with the unbeaten Hobart Hurricanes on Friday but their team’s finals hopes are done and dusted.

The Heat are already without injured Ben Cutting, who was ruled out before the Big Bash season even kicked off and is considered a huge blow to the attack while New Zealand Test opener Brendon McCullum won’t return until Brisbane’s Jan 17 clash against the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba.

The Strikers (2-2 record) take on Perth Scorchers at the WACA on Sunday.

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