Brisbane Heat 7 for 181 (Lynn 51, Labuschagne 46) beat Perth Scorchers 6 for 175 (Marsh 54*, Roy 41, Labuschagne 3-35) by six runs
Brisbane Heat survived a late onslaught from Mitchell Marsh to book their place in the BBL finals for the first time in four seasons. Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Swepson shared five wickets to spark a rare Perth Scorchers collapse before Marsh threatened a huge turnaround with 54 off 26 balls.
As has often been the case, the Heat had been set on their way by a blistering half-century by Chris Lynn, before overcoming a mid-innings wobble through a stand of 56 in six overs between Labuschagne and Lewis Gregory. Jhye Richardson and Fawad Ahmed had 96 taken off their eight overs as they both suffered rare expensive outings.
The Scorchers were solidly out of the blocks in the chase as the dynamic pair of Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone opened with a stand of 53 but the game changed after Livingstone missed a wild back at Swepson. However, what appeared a nailed-on Heat victory turned into a nerve-jangling finish with 17 needed off the last over then 10 off three balls but Ben Laughlin was able to close it out.
Lynn's valuable early charge
Lynn has reached double figures in every innings this season with a top score of 69 but it often feels like he leaves a few runs in the middle. That was again the case here when he charged to a 24-ball fifty, which included a monstrous six over cover against the bowler of the tournament Richardson, but then fell the next delivery he faced. However, the innings, which also included back-to-back sixes off Ahmed who conceded his most expensive T20 figures, had put the Heat on track for a strong ten-over score - which ended up being 2 for 96 - that would later enable them to secure the crucial Bash Boost point.
Immediately after the mid-innings point, which also saw the Heat use their X-Factor to bring in Jack Wildermuth for Xavier Bartlett, they suffered a wobble. Joe Denly was superbly caught by Marsh and in the next over Joe Burns edged Jason Behrendorff behind as 2 for 96 became 4 for 100. Three overs passed without a boundary and it appeared the Heat were floundering, but they were put back on track when Labuschagne and Gregory took 19 off Behrendorff's last over to dent what had been exceptional figures. While Labuschagne had been something of an anchor (while maintaining a strike-rate over 100) Gregory provided the major impetus with 36 off 22 balls although the Heat stalled again when the Power Surge, bowled by Richardson and AJ Tye, went for just 11.
Legspin secures vital point
Both Scorchers openers were given lives off consecutive balls in the third over and after Livingstone was defeated by a delivery from Swepson that barely bounced it appeared Roy was given another life when he inside-edged Laughlin although the appeal for the keeper was muted. However, overs six to ten, sent down by a combination of Swepson, Laughlin and Labuschagne, only cost 18 runs with Labuschagne claiming his first when Colin Munro top edged a reverse sweep that was well caught by Swepson coming in from deep point. Swepson then completed his spell by removing Roy and when Labuschagne struck twice in four balls in his third - the second a delivery that skidded on to defeat Ashton Turner - the game looked over.
Marsh makes Heat nervous
When the Scorchers called the Power Surge they needed 81 off 30 balls and Labuschagne was given his final over inside the fielding restrictions. He looked a potentially costly move when Marsh took 14 off three balls and overall 31 runs came from the Surge to leave the Scorchers needing 51 off the last three overs. Laughlin then went for 17 as Marsh continued to take advantage of a short leg-side boundary and the Heat dugout started to shuffle uneasily. They could have sealed the game in the penultimate over but Max Bryant shelled Marsh at deep square leg then the next ball went for six. Needing 17 off the last was within Marsh's wheelhouse, but with nine required off the last two balls - or eight for Super Over - Marsh could not find the boundary against a yorker and a low full toss. With that, two spots in the finals remained up for grabs.