Bring on the BBL Heat, says Brisbane
CRICKET: Brisbane Heat will welcome the challenge of needing to win their final two home-and-away games of the BBL to reach the semi-finals.
Fifth on the table, their mission begins tonight when they are hosted by the resurgent Sydney Sixers at the SCG.
"Our backs are against the wall,” keeper-batsman Jimmy Peirson told News Regional.
"But, I think most Queensland teams play at their best when their backs are against the wall.
"We'll come out strong tomorrow night.”
The Heat were competition frontrunners after upstaging reigning champions and current ladder leaders the Perth Scorchers last week but have dropped their past two games, both to the Hobart Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes and the Adelaide Strikers squared off last night, the winner joining the Scorchers at the top of the table on 12 points.
The fourth-placed Melbourne Renegades lead the Heat by net run-rate (8 points each). Those two will play on Saturday, January 27.
"We've been a bit inconsistent and been a bit disappointed with that,” Peirson said. "But we know if we can play our best cricket we'll win these next couple of games.”
Peirson declared the Heat would not be taking the Sixers lightly after last year's runners-up trounced the Melbourne Stars on Tuesday night.
"I think they're really dangerous at the moment,” he said of the side now featuring Test tweaker Nathan Lyon.
"They've got a really good, strong list with a lot of big names on it.
"They can come out on their day and beat any team in the competition.
"Having said that, we're also very confident that if we play our best cricket we'll be good enough.”
The Heat will again look to the 'Bash Brothers', Chris Lynn and skipper Brendon McCullum, to lead the way.
Lynn has a competition- high strike rate of 162 while McCullum is fifth on the runscorer ladder with 262.
"Baz (McCullum) talks a lot about when you have the opportunity always taking the aggressive option,” Peirson said. "As a team when we're doing that.
"I think when we haven't won games of cricket, we almost second guessed ourselves, rather than taking the game on.
"If we can stick to that (aggressive approach) these last couple, we'll definitely get a couple of good wins under our belts.”
Peirson, who is enjoying a new role in the batting line-up, coming in at No.6 instead of opening, said young spinner Mitch Swepson would also play a crucial role as the Heat looks to finish on a high.
"I think he's the best leg spinner around the game,” Peirson said.
"He's getting better and better the more he bowls.
"The best thing about him is he doesn't try to flatten his speed out, and lock players up, he tries to take wickets, which is really important
"If he stays true to that I think he'll be really successful.”