Heat draw on team spirit to upstage Sixers
THEY are rank underdogs but the Brisbane Heat will channel Queenslander spirit in Saturday's Women's Big Bash League final against the Sydney Sixers.
The Heat have been given little chance of winning the WBBL decider for the first time at Drummoyne Oval against the Ellyse Perry-led Sixers.
But Brisbane's incredible run to the last game of the season has been built on maroon pride.
While lacking international superstars, the Heat have defied the odds to qualify for the final and captain Kirby Short said they wouldn't die wondering.
"There's been a fair bit of chatter around our home grown talent and it's nice when you can back your locals," she said.
"We do pre-season together and play for the Queensland Fire together. You know each other's games and know them as people as well. That makes a big difference.
"We know our best is good enough. We've got to produce that in a big game.
"We've played two games against them this year. One was a scrappy loss and the other was a domination from us.
"We know if we bring our best and execute well we can beat them."
The Heat will be looking for big-hitting opener Grace Harris to explode in the season finale.
Harris has whacked 16 sixes and 46 fours this summer and racked up the fastest century in WBBL history off 42 balls.
With Aussie star Beth Mooney also at the top of the order, the Heat have the ingredients to rattle the Sixers if they can start well.
"You need someone to bat deep into the innings and go big," Short said.
"Everyone else can chip in a quick 20 or 30 around them. If you can be around 160-170 that's a great number.
"That's the dream, but we all know sport doesn't always go that way.
"Hopefully one of the top three really goes off for us with some runs."
The Heat's biggest challenge will be containing Sixers star Perry as she attempts to lead Sydney to a third straight WBBL title.
Perry has scored 744 runs this tournament at an incredible average of 93, including two centuries and six fifties.
The key is to get Perry out cheaply and Short said the Heat weren't afraid of her.
"Pez has had the season of her life, she is hitting the ball unbelievably well," Short said.
"Cricket has those peaks and troughs and she is absolutely riding a high at the moment.
"We've got pretty clear plans for her and she is human as well.
"We've got to make sure if those opportunities present themselves that we take them."
Heat all-rounder Sammy-Jo Johnson is another key player for Brisbane along with Haidee Birkett, whose sensational catch delivered the Heat a spot in the final.