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Brisbane Heat vs. Sydney Thunder, Sam Heazlett welcomes battle with Gurinder Sandhu

Heazlett’s Heat face the Thunder on Monday. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Heazlett’s Heat face the Thunder on Monday. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Brisbane Heat batter Sam Heazlett is relishing the possibility of “battling” red-hot Queensland teammate Gurinder Sandhu in Monday night’s BBL season opener against the Sydney Thunder.

Sandhu has been in impeccable touch for Queensland so far this summer — he made history last month by becoming the only man to take two hat-tricks in Australia’s male domestic one-day competition.

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Sandhu’s impressive start to the summer was rewarded with a last-minute Sydney Thunder contract, and he is now in the frame to come up against Heazlett in Canberra.

“He got his opportunity with Queensland this year and he’s done incredibly well,” Heazlett told reporters on Sunday.

“He’s bowling probably as well as he ever has. He’s got all the change-ups and he doesn’t miss the mark too often.”

Sandhu has been going from strength to strength this summer. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)
Sandhu has been going from strength to strength this summer. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

But Sandhu may have met his match in Heazlett.

Heazlett posted a career-best score when he met the Thunder in last summer’s Knockout play-off and he’s also got the inside scoop on the side’s newest recruit.

“It will be challenging if we come up against (Sandhu),” he said.

“Fortunately, I’ve faced him in the nets a little bit in the nets this year and in some trial games.

“It’s always nice coming up against (Queensland teammates) and having that little battle.”

Heazlett expects the Thunder will throw plenty at the Heat’s batting order.

“The Thunder are a great team,” he said.

“They have plenty of variation in their bowling attack, so you’ve got to be ready for any type of bowler.

“They’re pretty smart, they’ve got a lot of experience, so you definitely can’t take them lightly.”

Heazlett (R) with Heat captain Jimmy Peirson. Picture: Gary Ramage
Heazlett (R) with Heat captain Jimmy Peirson. Picture: Gary Ramage

The Heat has named three BBL debutants in the squad to face the Thunder — English international Ben Duckett, West Australian quick Liam Guthrie and another of Heazlett’s Bulls teammates, Nathan McSweeney.

Duckett, who has represented England in all three formats of the game, looms as a huge inclusion, particularly after the Heat lost would-be international import Tom Banton to quarantine concerns ahead of the tournament.

Duckett joined the Thunder’s camp in Canberra on Saturday after spending two weeks in Sydney.

“He brings a great vibe to the squad and a lot of energy, and he was whacking them in the nets, so that was good to see,” Heazlett said.

Meanwhile, Heazlett said Guthrie, 24, was “one of the toughest bowlers to get away” at training during the week.

“I’m excited to see him get an opportunity,” said Heazlett.

Heazlett said the first game of BBL|11 provided the Heat with an early opportunity to redefine themselves, with the view to eventually going one game deeper than they did last summer.

“(Last year) we were able to scrap hard when we were in tough positions and still find a way to win,” he said.

“But I think this year, we really want to dominate.

“There were far too many close calls last year where we just got over the line.

“We want to be able to go from ball one and be dominant with the bat and ball, and keep our foot on the throat the whole way through.”

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