It was billed as AB de Villiers home debut, but James Pattinson stole the headlines with a five-for to bowl the Strikers out for 110.
The South African played his part in Brisbane Heat’s win with an exquisite innings of 40 before falling in an idiosyncratic Heat fashion at deep mid-on.
Just under 20,000 fans came to witness de Villiers’ home debut at the Gabba.
For Adelaide, they could not recover from losing wickets early when batting. They failed to take wickets early when bowling and slipped to a seven-wicket defeat.
Adelaide Strikers won the toss and, unsurprisingly, batted first. Heat’s disappointing home form when chasing would have been the reasoning.
However, an impressive bowling display saw the Strikers bowled out for 110. Pattinson’s five-wicket haul was the highlight, but Josh Lalor and Mujeeb ur Rehman ably supported it.
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Pattinson produced a superb spell of bowling in marked contrast to his performance against the Scorchers on Saturday. He took the first four wickets as Adelaide struggled to 4/35. All four victims were caught behind as Pattinson’s length and pace proved impossible to resist.
Phil Salt’s inconsistent summer continued when he departed, for seven, before Travis Head top-edged the ball. It was almost a fielding disaster, with a collision, but Jimmy Peirson held onto the catch.
The key wicket of Jake Weatherald fell with the score on 25 when the batter played an expansive drive but could only nick the ball. Harry Conway’s waft down legside, reminiscent of Salt’s dismissal, put the Strikers in trouble.
It was clear that AB de Villiers was not at the Heat just for his batting as he, at times, organised the field. It was noticeable that captain Chris Lynn was happy to take the advice of the vastly experienced South African. Whatever the dynamic is between Lynn and de Villiers, it works as the Heat looked sharp with the ball and in the field.
Adelaide continued to lose wickets as Brisbane continued to exert pressure. Mujeeb, playing his first game in BBL09, proved elusive and conceded 14 runs from his four overs.
The pressure led to wickets with Lalor and Cutting picking up two wickets each. Rashid Khan played a few lusty blows, but he fell as the Strikers slumped to their lowest total of the season.
It wouldn’t be a Brisbane Heat run chase without some sort of disaster, and so it turned out. Chris Lynn decided that he was going to hit his first ball down the ground but could only give mid-on a simple catch.
Max Bryant was next to go when he was deceived, or just missed the ball, and his drive was down the wrong line and was bowled by Rashid Khan.
Enter AB de Villiers. He drove his first ball, off the bowling of Rashid Khan, for four in masterful fashion. A series of shots on the offside, from de Villiers, showed that you don’t have to smash every ball to score from it.
Heat batters have tried to do that in BBL09, and it has failed more times than not. In the space of eight balls, de Villiers provided something that has been sorely lacking from Brisbane’s batting unit.
Adelaide needed wickets with such a low total defend. They were not forthcoming as Brisbane became serene in their run chase. Both de Villiers and Matthew Renshaw were happy to find gaps in the field, rather than dally with jeopardy by trying to hit towering sixes, as the Strikers failed to build pressure.
Strike rotation, with runs down to third man and punches into gaps, saw the scoreboard tick over without alarm for the home side.
With 23 runs to get, de Villiers played a shot more becoming of Heat batters and picked out the fielder on the boundary. His score of 40 from 32 balls placed his new team in a position to win.
Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann will be pleased to see Renshaw take up the mantle and see his team to victory. It was no more than the Heat batter deserved as he played a mature innings. Renshaw brought up his fifty, and won the match, with a top-edge over the wicketkeeper.
The two teams meet again on Friday at Adelaide Oval with Strikers coach Jason Gillespie looking for a much better display from his team.
The win put Brisbane into fourth place, overtaking their opponents, with second-placed Sydney Sixers two points away. Strikers are one point further back with all team having played nine games.