Heat beat Hurricanes in a thriller

BRISBANE Heat staged a thrilling upset to record their first victory in the KFC T20 Big Bash League on Friday, edging league leaders Hobart Hurricanes by three runs.

The hosts won the toss and chose to bat at the Gabba, where openers Andrew Robinson (44) and Matthew Hayden (76) fired their team toward a commanding total.

The Heat finished up on 4-201, posting a challenging target for the visitors from Tasmania.

Hobart’s run chase began steadily enough thanks to the efforts of Jonathan Wells and Phil Jaques.

But when both openers fell in quick succession in the fifth and seventh overs, doubt was cast on the Hurricanes’ capacity to threaten the Brisbane total.

Jacques was stumped by wicket-keeper Chris Hartley for 27 in the fifth over.

Wells followed two overs later, caught and bowled by the Heat’s New Zealand import Daniel Vettori for 24.

The latter’s departure left Hobart 2-57, and seemingly ill equipped to challenge in the 12 overs remaining.

But if any Brisbane player thought a first victory in the competition was in the bag, Travis Birt and Owais Shah would make sure they earned it.

The pair posted a dynamic partnership of 141 runs for the third wicket, with Birt blasting his way to 74 off just 36 balls.

His swashbuckling knock included eight fours and three sixes, with two of the latter coming in successive balls off a dumbfounded Vettori.

Shah fell just short of his partners’ high-speed innings, bringing up 69 runs from 44 balls.

Their exploits kept the Hurricanes in contention right until the death, but the challenge faltered when Birt was run out by McDermott off the penultimate ball of the match.

Shah still had a chance to win it, and needed four runs off the last ball from McDermott to do so.

But the England import could only find Daniel Christian in the deep, with the last-ball wicket providing genuine cause for celebration from the Brisbane players.

Earlier, Robinson and Hayden put on 100 runs for the first wicket opening the batting for the Heat.

Both men made their intentions clear from the off, with Hayden smashing the first of his three sixes in the second over.

The veteran finished up with six fours, a tally matched by Robinson before he was run out by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

South African Roelof van der Merwe then arrived at the crease and Brisbane’s progress continued, as the all-rounder notched 24 from just 19 balls.

He fell caught and bowled to Jason Krejza and Christian could only succeed in adding eight, but stand-in captain Peter Forrest did contribute a valuable knock of 33.

Hayden was the last wicket to fall, caught by Matt Johnston at deep square leg after attempting a pull off the bowling of Rana in the final over.

Rhett Lockyear (1-13) had been the man to remove Christian, joining Rana (1-42) and Krejza (1-36) as the only Hobart players to take a wicket.

Johnston (0-35) endured an evening to forget, conceding 12 runs off the first over of the match after bowling four wides and a no-ball.

He finished empty-handed after leaking 35 runs in his three overs.

Despite suffering their first defeat from five matches, Hobart remain top of the ladder with eight points.

Brisbane’s victory sees them move on to two points, level with the Melbourne Stars, who take on cross-city rivals the Melbourne Renegades on Saturday.

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