This match-up looks incredibly even on paper, with both teams relying on a healthy contribution from their entire team rather than one or two superstars.
After an inconsistent WBBL03, the Heat have stormed into the semi-finals this season after improving their consistency.
Plenty will fall on the shoulders of openers Grace Harris and Beth Mooney, the latter of whom explained the improvements the Heat have made this season.
“To be able to perform against different opponents has been crucial,” Mooney said.
“We’ve got one up on (the Thunder) recently, so hopefully that’ll get in their heads a little bit.
Media street for Beth Mooney ahead of Saturday’s semi-final! #BringTheHeat #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/9E23hRiT3T— Brisbane Heat WBBL (@HeatWBBL) January 16, 2019
“The biggest change this year is that people have owned their game a bit more, and they know exactly what they need to do when they get out there, they know their role. The top six have all performed at some point during the season, and the bowlers have done their job too."
Players performing their role has been a key for the Heat. Rather than relying on international stars, they’ve opted for home grown talent and have backed them in to perform a role.
This has worked wonders for the likes of Sammy-Jo Johnson, who has been promoted to first drop as a pinch hitter while keeping her opening bowling duties. She’s taken 18 wickets at an economy of just 6.45 and has scored 223 runs at a strike rate of 143.
Sammy-Jo Johnson put on an absolute show today 💪— #7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 10, 2019
3/12 with the ball and 30 (14) with the bat! #WBBL04 pic.twitter.com/RJdQmdGmdR
While their middle order has been okay this season, they have been relied on only to produce cameo roles, with Harris and Mooney dominating at the top of the order. This means that if the Thunder can break up the crucial opening partnership early, the Heat could find themselves in an unfamiliar and troublesome situation.
The Heat do have a much-improved bowling attack, though, with Aussie T20 players Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen joining Harris and Johnson to form a solid bowling unit.
Ultimately, this match looks to be pretty even, and it might come down to some individual brilliance to break this match open.
The semi-finals matches will be at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney on a Saturday afternoon, in a ground-breaking standalone fixture, so if you’re around Sydney, get down and support some great cricket.
Prediction: The Thunder should win in Sydney, but it should be extremely tight.