Set to meet for a fifth finals series in six seasons, the Strikers and Heat are expecting a showdown with ‘a bit of extra spice’
Fierce finals rivalry set for another ‘spicy’ chapter
The latest chapter in the fierce Strikers-Heat rivalry will play out at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night, and Strikers skipper Tahlia McGrath says pre-match chat has only fuelled her team’s desire to take out the title.
The Strikers and Heat have met in four of the last five WBBL|09 finals series, but this will be the first time they have met in the final since 2019, when Brisbane walked away with the trophy.
This time it is Adelaide hoping to win back-to-back titles, and they have had the upper hand over their Queensland rivals in recent years, knocking them out of The Challenger in both WBBL|07 and |08.
Last year’s Challenger lit a fuse between the teams when Strikers quick Megan Schutt suggested the Heat were "arrogant", and when the comments were revived this week, Heat opener Grace Harris dismissed that as "the pot calling the kettle black".
"I think you're looking at two of the biggest characters in the game of Megan Schutt and Grace Harris and we're going to jump on a plane and be Australian teammates and mates in India next week," McGrath told reporters on Friday.
"There's a bit of extra spice but it's all fun and games.
"When there's a little bit extra on the line and there's some things being said behind the scenes, of course you're going to lift.
"It's a final as well, you're going to lift.
"Grace Harris is in some unbelievable form so we can't wait to get out there and match-up against her."
McGrath, Schutt, Harris and Heat captain Jess Jonassen are among those who will soon be flying to India together as Australian teammates.
But for now, they are content to be WBBL rivals with the trophy on the line.
"To Grace's point about when we're playing really well we're a pretty good side, I agree with that," Jonassen said on Friday.
"We do have the confidence. And if that's perceived as something else, then so be it.
"But we back the style of play that we have and we believe in that ... and ultimately that's what it comes down to, we're really clear as a team what we're about.
"That's how you have got to play T20 cricket.
"It's really role-based and that ability to get the job done in whatever situation and however you need to."
The Strikers are seeking a second consecutive crown and have featured in four of the past five finals.
The Heat meanwhile are in their sixth consecutive finals campaign, but featuring in The Final for the first time since they defeated the Strikers at Allan Border Field in 2019.
Jonassen said although the Strikers have had the better of the Heat in their last two elimination games, she was expecting a tight contest.
"I think it's going to literally be anyone's game tomorrow," she said.
"It's two quality sides and in my opinion, the two best sides of the whole competition are in the final.
"So I'm sure that the game tomorrow will be quite a fitting for what's been a really successful WBBL|09."
The Eliminator: Brisbane Heat defeated Sydney Thunder by 44 runs
The Challenger: Brisbane Heat defeated Perth Scorchers by 67 runs
The Final: Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat | Adelaide Oval | December 2 at 7.10pm AEDT (6.40pm local)
Grab your tickets or tune in on the Seven Network, Fox Cricket, Kayo or ABC radio