BBL: Heat keen to secure back-to-back wins over the Scorchers

Unbeaten Brisbane Heat’s desire to maintain momentum heading into the BBL finals will ensure they avoid complacency against the Scorchers in Perth on Saturday.

Regardless of the result at Optus Stadium, the Heat can’t be knocked off top spot on the ladder before the start of the four-team finals series on Friday week.

It’s a scenario that might have led to the Heat slightly taking their foot of the pedal in their final game of the regular season.

However, the momentum they gained last year with a late-season charge that took them all the way to the final, before being beaten by the Scorchers, has the Heat intent on chalking up another win this weekend.

“You look at last season where we won the last four games of the (regular season) and then managed to keep winning ended up in the final, so we’re obviously going to go to Perth with the intention to win and hopefully keep winning,” star Brisbane paceman Spencer Johnson said.

Beating the Scorchers – historically the competition’s best team – for the second time in the space of four days after a 23-run win at the Gabba on Wednesday night could also harm Perth’s chances of securing a double chance in the finals.

“It’s never easy over there but to get the win (on Wednesday) and seal that top spot, we can go over there with a bit of confidence and whatever happens, we know where we’re still finishing top,” Johnson said.

However, if the Scorchers do secure second spot on the ladder, there is the possibility that the Heat’s potential journey to BBL glory will have included four successive games against Perth.

“We did our bowling chat prior to the last game and we did state that we could go (against) them four games in a row,” Johnson said.

“We’ve done our research and if we’ve got them, then so be it.

“They’re a quality outfit, and they’re always there on the last day of the finals, so if we’re there, they’re probably going to be there as well.”

Test pair Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja, who both played in Wednesday night’s win, won’t play again for the Heat this season as they concentrate on Australia’s two-Test series against the West Indies

Labuschagne and Khawaja, who have only played twice for the Heat this season due to their Test commitments, are expected to be replaced on Saturday by Nathan McSweeney and Josh Brown.

The Heat will also lose Test squad member Matt Renshaw, and imports Colin Munro and Sam Billings after Saturday’s match, although they haven’t ruled out the possibility of asking Cricket Australia to release Renshaw – who has been selected as Australia’s “reserve” batsman – on the days of their finals matches.

“Whoever comes in will be ready,” Johnson promised.

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