Blackout keeps Heat in the light
THE Brisbane Heat have abandoned plans to sign an international star for a Big Bash cameo and instead have another ace in their corner - the Gabba's lights.
Despite producing a mostly terrible BBL season, the Heat are remarkably still in finals contention ahead of Friday night's final match of the regular season against the Melbourne Stars.
Test duo Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne have returned to BBL duties after featuring in Australia's dominant series win against Sri Lanka.
But it is the Gabba's dodgy power supply which has kept Brisbane in the hunt for an appearance in the BBL finals.
The Heat are sitting in sixth spot on the BBL ladder with 11 competition points and a net run rate of -0.1
The Sydney Thunder are fifth, also on 11 points, with a superior net run rate of -0.029.
The reason the Heat and Thunder have an odd number of points is because their January 17 match at the Gabba was abandoned after an external power outage caused a light tower to fail.
The Heat were sitting precariously at 2-10 after three overs, with star batsmen Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum already out, in reply to the Thunder's 4-186.
Despite the likelihood of the Thunder winning, the two points were split for that match given the Thunder were yet to bowl five overs.
The livid Thunder appealed the decision, believing they deserved two points, but were rejected by Cricket Australia.
That slice of fortune for the Heat could prove crucial in their quest to finish in the top four.
The Heat must beat the fourth-placed Stars (12 points) Friday night and then hope the Thunder lose to the table-topping Hobart Hurricanes on Saturday night.
If the Stars lose to the Heat, they still have another chance to scrape into the finals given they will play the last match of the tournament against the Sydney Sixers on Sunday.
The equation is not great for the Heat, but Twenty20 cricket can be unpredictable and Brisbane has found some form late in the tournament.
The Heat secured their first win at the Gabba for the summer last Friday against the last-placed Scorchers and Matt Renshaw's excellent unbeaten 90 (off 50 balls) guided them to a comprehensive win over the Strikers on Sunday.
The Stars game will potentially be Kiwi star McCullum's last in Heat colours after he announced his retirement from the BBL on Monday.
The Heat were on the lookout for an international gun to boost their line-up following the early departure of Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, but have decided to stick with their current squad.
While the Heat have welcomed back Burns and Labuschagne, the Thunder will be boosted by the return of Test trio Usman Khawaja, Pat Cummins and Kurtis Patterson when they face the Hurricanes.
If the Heat and Thunder both win their final matches, net run rate could decide who sneaks into fourth position if the Stars lose both their games.
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