Hobart hurricanes 120 for 9 (Wright 56, Neser 4-35) beat Brisbane heat 118 for 8 (Peirson 39) by two runs
The Heat, meanwhile, ended up in the Eliminator against the Thunder on Friday after calling a 121 chase. On a two-speed surface, which proved difficult for batting, they appeared on course at 103 for 4 in the 17th left.
But they stumbled and it came down to a dramatic final where Heat needed 10 runs to secure third spot and a knockout final at home. David did enough against James Bazley, but Hurricanes knew they needed another result to go their way. And in the end it didn’t.
Meredith and Ellis play before David’s belated exploits
Hurricanes’ final chances were all but dead and buried, as their hopes rested on star quicks Riley Meredith and Nathan Ellis.
They obliged in menacing early bursts with Meredith Usman removing Khawaja and then Ellis knocking over Marnus Labuschagne’s stump with a jewel of a delivery to revive Hurricanes.
Hurricanes were suddenly in the stands as Heat lost wickets in successive deliveries in the sixth over as Matthew Renshaw was knocked out by a brilliant collection and direct throw from Zak Crawley.
After Meredith’s initial three-over spell, Hurricanes weren’t as threatening and clearly missed left arm spinner Paddy Dooley, who starred in a breakaway season but missed due to a groin injury.
With their front liners knocked out, the Hurricane’s fortunes rested on David and he made accurate full deliveries to baffle Bazley. He helped non-striker Matthew Kuhnemann run away on the third pitch before the twists and turns continued as David rolled a full toss that Bazley hit for six. He rebounded to thwart Bazley on the last two deliveries to keep the Hurricanes season alive at least temporarily.
Heat disintegrates at death
Heat will ruin letting third place slip through their fingers. They struggled early on before a composed Peirson and Hain came together for a 73-run partnership to dig Heat out of a hole.
Peirson, who was the Heat’s most reliable hitter during their early season struggles, gathered his wealth of experience as Hain showed why he has become an important part of the midfield with clever moves on the leg side.
Hain also showed his toughness after Meredith’s hit and stayed with the crease, but still fell 18 runs short moments later with Heat. Peirson and Bazley couldn’t be the hero as Heat will now finish fourth or fifth.
Swepson continues strong recovery ahead of India tour
Legspinner Mitchell Swepson was dropped earlier in the season and failed to take a wicket in his first five innings bowled.
But he’s been hitting back hard lately, bowling particularly cleanly in a much-needed tonic ahead of a defining test tour of India for Swepson. He continued his strong rebound with a menacing spell to tie down Hurricanes’ powerful batters in the middle overs.
Swepson conjured a sharp turn, although his only wicket was rather accidental when a long jump snagged the struggling Ben McDermott, who was brilliantly caught by a diving Marnus Labuschagne.
He conceded just one boundary in his four-over spell to finish with 1 for 17 to play his part in a disciplined attack that saw sailor Michael Neser claim the spoils with a four-wicket haul.
Hurricanes’ changed batting order struggles
Hurricanes on paper may have the most explosive batting order in the league. But they underperformed badly and Hurricanes went into the fray on the brink.
Opener McDermott, another out-of-form batsman, moved to No. 4, replacing skipper Matthew Wade who moved to No. 6 – a position he holds for Australia, but had not batted for Hurricanes since BBL07.
The changes failed to create the necessary spark as Hurricanes regularly lost wickets. McDermott and Wade both fell cheap, with only Wright saving Hurricanes from embarrassment with a run-a-ball 56 after a watchful start.
He dwarfed his more high-profile teammates and his knock proved the highlight in a low-scoring game.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist from Perth