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BBL final 2024 – Spencer Johnson – ‘I owe Brisbane Heat everything’

An emotional Spencer Johnson has said Brisbane Heat have “changed my life” after leading them to an upset 54-run victory over Sydney Sixers in the BBL final.

Left-arm quick Johnson was the Player of the Match after picking up 4 for 26, the best figures recorded in a BBL final, as Heat ended an 11-year drought to capture their second title.

It was sweet redemption for Heat, who were unable to defend 175 in a heartbreaking defeat in last season’s epic final against Perth Scorchers.

But Johnson, one of eight players in Heat’s Wednesday line-up who were part of that bitter defeat in Perth, led from the front with the wickets of top-order batters Josh Philippe and Jack Edwards before closing the door on Sixers by dismissing Ben Dwarshuis in the power surge.

He finished his brilliant effort by snaring Hayden Kerr as the celebrations started for Heat.

It’s the latest spectacular performance for Johnson, who burst to prominence during last season’s BBL by unleashing 145kph thunderbolts with his left-arm angle and towering height making him almost unplayable at times.

He made his international debut for Australia in white-ball cricket last year and looms as a player of significant interest for the national hierarchy despite being overlooked for the T20I and ODI squads for the upcoming series against West Indies.

“I owe Brisbane Heat everything. Coming up here last year, I didn’t know where my career was going and now I’ve just won a Big Bash with 11 of my closest mates,” a visibly emotional Johnson told Fox Sports.

“Twelve months ago, I wasn’t in this position. And I think the Brisbane Heat have changed my life. So it’s pretty special.”

Johnson and Heat’s miserly attack sealed a victory set up brilliantly by opener Josh Brown, who blasted 53 off 38 balls on a tricky SCG surface after Sixers surprisingly elected to bowl in overcast and humid conditions.

It was a superb follow-up to his extraordinary 140 off 57 balls against Adelaide Strikers in the Challenger as Heat finished with a total of 166 for 8 that proved more than enough.

“Credit to the batters. Browny again, got us to a total that we can defend and I feel like we were the best team all year so I think we deserve to have the medal around our necks,” Johnson said.

Spurred by the painful memories of last year’s final, Heat finished on top of the ladder before exacting revenge over Sixers, who had easily won the Qualifier on the Gold Coast.

“The boys with the ball have been incredible all year. To defend that with ease was really special for them,” said batter Matt Renshaw, who smashed 40 off 22 balls to spark Heat at the death.

“We’re a real squad mentality. Everyone has contributed on and off the field.”

Unlike his teammates, Renshaw will have to temper his celebrations ahead of a 10am flight to Brisbane on Thursday as he races to be part of Australia’s squad for the pink-ball second Test against West Indies.

“I’m going to try and keep it a quiet night,” he said. “I’ll be watching all the other boys. It will be good fun.”

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