Heat v Strikers
Wednesday 19 December
The Gabba, Brisbane – 6:15pm local (6:45pm ACDT)
Head to head
Adelaide Strikers: 4
Brisbane Heat: 3
Last season’s New Year's Eve blockbuster saw the Strikers beat the Heat by 56 runs in a packed-out Adelaide Oval.
Allrounder Micahel Neser proved crucial in his player-of-the-match performance as he blasted a quick-fire 40* off 26 balls, including two sixes, as well as tidy figures of 2/7 from his two overs with the ball.
The Heat struggled to build partnerships in reply to the Strikers’ total of 147, as leg-spinner Rashid Khan (2/19) removed big-hitter Chris Lynn for a duck while Ben Laughlin (3/11) ripped through Brisbane’s middle order.
Cameron Gannon was the only batter to score more than 15 in the Heat’s chase as they were bowled out for 91 in the 17th over.
Can the Strikers start their title defence with a win on the road?
Adelaide turns from the hunter to the hunted this summer after last season’s breakthrough championship win. With a largely similar squad, can the Strikers continue their winning momentum from BBL|07 or will Brisbane make an early statement and down the reigning champions?
Both teams are loaded with match-winners. It’s the perfect recipe for a blockbuster BBL|08 opener.
The Gabba holds no fears for the Strikers, who are undefeated in all three matches between the two teams at the venue. The most recent meeting came in BBL|05 in which the visitors claimed a convincing eight-wicket win.
Can Strikers seamer Laughlin become the first player in Big Bash history to claim 100 wickets? The crafty fan favourite heads into BBL|08 with 85 Big Bash scalps to his name and is every chance to reach the magical milestone before season’s end.
Striker to watch – Rashid Khan
Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan has returned to Adelaide and will again feature prominently for the Strikers in BBL|08.
The young Afghan quickly became a cult figure for fans of all allegiances after finishing BBL|07 as the competition’s leading wicket-taker (18) boasting the best economy rate of any player to bowl more than four overs (5.65).
Rashid missed the Strikers' BBL Final triumph due to international commitments but has confirmed he is available for the entire BBL|08 tournament. Can he begin with a bang on Wednesday night?
Danger man – Chris Lynn
Newly-appointed Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn can take a game away quickly if not contained.
The Heat’s all-time leading runscorer with 1,560 BBL runs, Lynn’s big-hitting power will need to be nullified to give the Strikers the best chance of another victory at the Gabba.
Former skipper Brendon McCullum is another obvious danger in the Heat’s stacked batting order but the Strikers will back their bowlers to get the job done.
Adelaide Strikers squad
Colin Ingram (c)
Brisbane Heat squad
Chris Lynn (c)
Mujeed Ur Rahman