Brisbane Heat stun Stars to start with a bang
BRISBANE Heat have proved they are not a one-man show after stunning the Marcus Stoinis-inspired Melbourne Stars without gun batsman Chris Lynn.
The Heat started their Big Bash League campaign in style in front of 27,433 fans, but the 15-run win at the Gabba has come at a cost with star batsmen Joe Burns and Brendon McCullum battling injuries alongside Lynn.
Lynn, the BBL's best player for the past two summers, sat in the stands, reportedly with a sore hamstring, as the Heat compiled 7-206.
A remarkable 99 (51) by Stoinis, playing his second game since the death of his father Chris last month, could not rescue the Stars, who managed 6-191 as big guns Ben Dunk (0), Kevin Pietersen (10) and Glenn Maxwell (8) failed to fire.
But the Heat are now sweating on the availability of their top three batsmen. Burns did not field because of a groin injury while captain McCullum missed his post-match press conference to have a finger injury assessed.
"It was a very good win," Burns said.
"It's nice to get a bit of momentum at the start of the Big Bash.
"I'll get a scan. Hopefully it's not too bad.
"I think Lynny is close. He was very close for this game. He's not too far away."
After being sent in to bat, Heat opener Jimmy Peirson (1) departed early and skipper Brendon McCullum was left regretting a poor shot when he scooped Stoinis (3-38) to midwicket after racing to 40 (22).
Joe Burns belted an unbeaten 202 in his last Sheffield Shield match for Queensland and came to the Heat's rescue at 3-61.
Burns brought up 50 with a booming six off Stoinis but was walking back to the dressing-rooms the very next ball with a groin injury and Brisbane 4-143 in the 15th over.
Alex Ross also reached 50 with a six, smacking the Heat's mascot in the face, but luckily Flame danced off what seemed like a nasty hit.
Ross departed shortly after reaching his milestone for 51 (36) but some big-hitting from allrounder Ben Cutting (35 from 18) rescued Brisbane.
The Heat struck early when Mitchell Swepson's stellar catch dismissed the dangerous Dunk for a second ball duck.
Pietersen sent Brendan Doggett flying with a 90m six but the Heat debutant got his first BBL wicket the next delivery when McCullum took a sharp catch to send ''KP'' packing.
Pakistani spinner Shadab Khan (2-41) removed Maxwell and Luke Wright (19) to leave Melbourne struggling at 4-53.
Stoinis dispatched Cutting's only over for 22 - a flashback to last summer's semi-final super over shocker.
Stoinis had nearly single-handedly helped the Stars to 4-133 with little fuss before James Faulkner got in on the action, hitting Mark Steketee for the biggest six of the night.
Stoinis and Faulkner (47 not out) gave the Stars hope but Melbourne's slow start proved too much to overcome.
Stoinis was run out looking to bring up his century in the final over.
The Heat's next assignment is a tough task against the Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium on Friday.