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Denly helps Heat through in play-offs

Joe Denly has won 44 England caps across all three formats of the game
Big Bash League Eliminator, Brisbane
Adelaide Strikers 130-7 (20 overs): Weatherald 32 (28); Labuschagne 3-13
Brisbane Heat 131-4 (18.5 overs): Peirson 47* (44), Denly 41 (40)
Brisbane Heat won by six wickets
Scorecard

England batsman Joe Denly helped Brisbane Heat squeeze past Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League Eliminator at the Gabba.

With Brisbane chasing only 131, they slipped to 23-3 before Denly made 41, adding 69 with Jimmy Peirson.

Peirson ended 47 not out, hitting the winning runs with seven balls to spare.

The Strikers were restricted to 130-7 as Marnus Labuschagne took 3-13 with his leg-breaks for the Heat, who face Sydney Thunder in Sunday’s Knockout.

The winners of that game in Canberra will play the losers of the contest between Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers for a place in the final.

The Sixers and the Scorchers, the top two sides from the group stage, meet on Saturday, with the winners advancing straight to the final on 6 February.

The Heat, who only made the play-offs by beating the Scorchers in the final round of group games, exploited leg-spin to stifle the Strikers.

Mitchell Swepson took 2-23 as he and Labuschagne returned combined figures of 5-36 from seven overs.

Sussex’s Phil Salt made 26 for the Strikers, for whom Jake Weatherald top-scored with 32.

Despite their modest score, the Strikers were firmly in the contest when Chris Lynn, Labuschagne and Sam Heazlett fell inside the first four overs of the Heat’s chase.

But Denly, opening the batting, steadied with Pierson, who was put down at long-on by a diving Michael Neser on seven off Warwickshire spinner Danny Briggs.

After Denly was caught at long-off, Joe Burns was dropped at slip off Briggs, who also shelled a simple chance offered by Burns at short third man with only 11 runs needed for victory.

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