Cricket-Heat reach BBL final after stunning Sixers by four wickets

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes - Second Test - Australia v England - Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, Australia - December 19, 2021 Australia's Michael Neser REUTERS/Morgan Sette

(Reuters) - Brisbane Heat secured their place in the Big Bash League (BBL) final where they face Perth Scorchers after a hard-fought four-wicket victory over a fancied Sydney Sixers side on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

After restricting the hosts to a modest 116-9 in their 20 overs courtesy of a miserly 3-17 by spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, the Heat battled their way to 117-6 with 10 deliveries to spare.

"We're a Queensland team and the great Queensland teams, when their backs are against the wall, they find a way to win. It's something we've tried to (grow) within our psyche," said Brisbane captain Jimmy Peirson.

With batsmen Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne in India with Australia's test squad, it was left to domestic player of the year Michael Neser (48 not out) to steer the run-chase after the Heat middle order collapsed and the side reeled at 56-5.

The knockout match remained in the balance until Neser released the pressure that had been building by peeling four successive boundaries off seamer Hayden Kerr in the 16th over.

The Heat now travel to Western Australia to face defending champions Perth Scorchers in Saturday's decider.

(Reporting by Joel Dubber in Perth; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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