Sports

Heat will still be on at Gold Coast

Brisbane Heat star Nathan McSweeney is adamant his side’s impressive BBL campaign won’t be derailed by having to move from the Gabba to the Gold Coast for the finals series.

The first-placed Heat hope to maintain their unbeaten start to the season on Wednesday night when they host reigning champions Perth at the Gabba.

Such has been the Heat’s form, they have already guaranteed themselves a top-four berth and at least one home finals match despite still have two games of the regular season to play.

However, due to the Gabba needing to be prepared for this month’s Australia-West Indies Test in Brisbane, the Heat’s home finals games will be played at Carrara venue Heritage Bank Stadium,

The slow drop-in wicket used at the Gold Coast arena will be in stark contrast to the fast and bouncy Gabba pitch.

“Naturally it’s probably slightly slower than the Gabba,” McSweeney said on Monday.

“Personally, I love playing the Gabba. It suits my game really well, but (Heat opener) Colin Munro and players like that have really big scores at (Heritage Bank Stadium), so I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue for us.”

However, New Zealand import Munro won’t be available for the finals series due to playing commitments in the UAE-based T20 International League.

Regardless, McSweeney tipped the Heat to embrace their finals’ home ground.

“The fans down there are awesome,” he said.

“The ground is a really nice ground so it shouldn’t make a big difference for us.

“Having a home final is massive for us and for our fans. They’ve been excellent this year at the Gabba and (Heritage Bank Stadium) is a great ground as well, so we’re really looking forward to getting down there and playing.”

The Heat hope to have Test pair Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja available for selection for Wednesday night’s match.

Should one or both be available, it raises the question of who will be left out of the in-form Heat side.

“I’ll leave that to the selectors,” batting all-rounder McSweeny said.

“Were very lucky having Usman and Marnus, who are keen to come back and play for us.

“I’ll probably stay out of that one, and we’ll see what happens.”

McSweeney said playing the Scorchers in back-to-back games before the finals would prepare the Heat well for the playoffs.

“Perth have been awesome for the past couple of years, so we’re going to have to be at our best,” he said.

“We haven’t quite nailed it. We’ve won the last few games in a row and we haven’t been beaten yet, but I feel like we haven’t played our best cricket, so hopefully we can search for that perfect game, and bat and bowl together in one game.

“We haven’t really nailed both. That’ll be good no doubt, but we’re playing great cricket so no reason why we can’t win.”

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