Be afraid, says Ben Cutting. Perhaps not very afraid but highly concerned, at least, if the Brisbane Heat can force their way into the finals of the Big Bash League.
The defending champions face a must-win scenario in Hobart on Thursday night if they are to amass their fourth win of the season and sneak into the BBL finals.
It’s a similar story for Brisbane, who followed the same path last season before going all the way, defeating the Perth Scorchers in the decider and earning a spot in the T20 Champions League.
The Heat have been on the wrong end of some close calls this campaign but a win over Adelaide has kept their hopes alive. In T20, it’s just as plausible to string a few wins together as it is to fall on the wrong side of a tight game.
Cutting, recently named in the Australian T20 squad to take on England, said the Heat were firmly focused on getting to the finals and while they feared nobody, rivals should be on notice if the progress.
‘‘Most of us were all here last year, bar one or two. We’ve all got that belief we can do it again,’’ Cutting said.
‘‘We know that teams do fear us because we can come from behind and do what we have been doing the past couple of weeks. We’re going to put that in our back pocket.’’
Cutting has become accustomed to the fickle results T20 can generate. Disappointments, like the final-over loss to the Sydney Sixers, have been quickly forgotten as reinforcements like Australian quick Ryan Harris join the fray post-Ashes.
‘‘That’s par for the course for us. Last year, we won four from eight and snuck through and won the final. If we can do that again this year, it’s going to be fantastic. First things first is Thursday night,’’ Cutting said.
‘‘Off we go to Hobart and hope we can rock and roll them again. I’d like to think so. And guys like Ryan Harris in the attack always helps as well.’’
Cutting hasn’t enjoyed the kind of form that had him in the Test frame two years ago, with his bowling not clicking as well as his batting. In that department, he’s become one of the cleanest hitters in the country, adding 95 runs off 52 balls in the lower order at a strike rate of 182.69.
So he said the phone call from John Inverarity came as a welcome surprise, given he believes he has yet to put his complete game together in the current BBL series.
‘‘Very happy, very surprised to be honest. I didn’t really think I was there or thereabouts. I was very happy when Invers rang me and told me the good news,’’ Cutting said.
‘‘I was surprised. I haven’t been at my best this year, especially with the ball. I haven’t been bowling as well as I did last year but I guess that’s the nature of 20-20.
‘‘But I’m very happy with the way I’ve been striking the ball, I’m enjoying my batting just as much as my bowling at the moment.’’
Brisbane are fourth on the ladder and Hobart fifth heading into Thursday’s match in Tasmania, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the finals.