Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan took three wickets to bowl Brisbane Heat out for 146 before Alex Carey smashed a fifty as the defending champions Adelaide Strikers won by five wickets in the season opener of Big Bash League’s eighth edition.
South African Colin Ingram led the defending champions in the absence of their regular skipper Travis Head, who is with the national side, and asked the home side to bat first after winning the first-ever 'bat flip' at the Gabba.
Brendon McCullum was out on his second ball after smashing a boundary on the first off Billy Stanlake. Skipper Chris Lynn and Max Bryant added 46 runs for the second-wicket partnership before Lynn fell for 33. Bryant (22) and Joe Burns (20) also departed soon after off Matthew Short and Stanlake before Rashid Khan ripped apart the lower-middle order. Heat went down from 2-78 to 9-101 in the middle overs. But a 45-run last wicket partnership between Jimmy Perison and tail-ender Mujeeb Ur Rahman helped the home side post a respectable total of 146 all out.
There was a controversy in the 13th over when James Pattinson was given run out by the third umpire. The bat appeared was slid in with the back of it on the ground but the umpire believed it was not grounded. Pattinson started walking off amid boos from the crowd before he returned to the middle. Commentator Adam Gilchrist later clarified that Strikers withdrew their appeal.
Rashid Khan returned with the figures of three for 19, while Short and Stanlake shared two wickets each.
In reply, Alex Carey provided a blazing start, with the Strikers scoring 57 runs in the Powerplay. Carey opening partner Jake Weatherald (17) and skipper Colin Ingram (1) departed in quick succession in fifth and sixth overs. Weatherald was caught at short fine-leg trying a paddle sweep of Joe Burns, while Ingram picked out deep square leg.
Carey continued to accumulate at the other end, reaching his fifty in 35 balls. He smashed a couple of boundaries off James Pattinson before he missed a googly from Mitchell Swepson and was bowled for 70 off 46 balls in the 14th over.
With 39 needed in six overs, Jonathan Wells and Jake Lehmann relied on rotating the strike for the next four overs and took the equation to 12 off 12 with Wells scoring a couple of boundaries off Mark Steketee. Lehmann was caught at backward point in the penultimate over before Wells stroked the winning single on the first ball of the 20th over.
Wells remained unbeaten on 24.
Pattinson was the pick of the bowlers for the Heat with the figures of two for 23 while Burns, Swepson and Cutting shared a wicket each.
Rashid Khan was declared player-of-the-match for his brilliant bowling spell.
This is the fifth straight loss in BBL for the home side, equaling their previous worst run in 2014-15 season.
Heat next host previous season’s runner-ups Hobart Hurricanes on December 22, while Strikers will play hosts to Melbourne Renegades a day later.