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Justin Chadwick

Heat embrace underdog status for BBL grand final

Brisbane Heat captain Jimmy Peirson has urged his players to embrace the Orange Army in the BBL grand final, saying it might be their one and only chance to play in front of such a big crowd.

All tickets have been sold for Saturday's blockbuster decider at Optus Stadium, with hopes the match will smash the previous Perth Scorchers crowd record of 52,960 set at the semi-final against Hobart in 2018.

The Scorchers are searching for a record fifth BBL crown, and they will start as hot favourites against a Heat side who have bucked all odds to make the grand final from fifth place.

Brisbane were sitting last in mid-January, but have won seven of their last eight games - including three elimination finals on the road - to put themselves within touching distance of the title.

Peirson was in a relaxed mood on Friday afternoon - less than 24 hours after his team defeated the Sydney Sixers by four wickets at the SCG to book their spot in the grand final.

The 30-year-old wants his team to embrace the occasion.

"We understand we're probably underdogs," Peirson said. "That's OK. If anything that takes the pressure off us.

"We're going to come out and enjoy this spectacle - 55,000 at one of the greatest stadiums in the world.

"We haven't got a point to prove. We're going to embrace the crowd. Most of us probably won't play in front of a crowd that big ever again."

The return of Test players Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw helped turn the Heat's season around.

Although those players have since left to rejoin Australia's Test squad, their impact has had a lasting effect.

"We left our run as late as we could, and with our Test guys coming back it put us back on the right track," Peirson said.

"The composure those guys bring playing Test cricket on the biggest stage is great for our group.

"We are now moving in a nice direction as a club and we're building towards something - not just for this final, but for seasons to come."

The Scorchers won last season's title despite spending all but one game on the road.

This time around, the Scorchers have had to overcome a debilitating injury toll that robbed the side of a host of their best players.

The Scorchers are now in prime position to snare another title, but captain Ashton Turner said his team was not focused on external expectations.

"There's not a banner in our change room that has the odds for the game," Turner said.

"We don't spend a lot of time thinking about it but to be honest, we've got so much confidence in our own squad that in-house we feel like we've been favourites for every game.

"If you don't feel that way in this competition, you're probably wasting your time."

Turner said a decision has not been made yet whether it will be fit-again paceman Matt Kelly or spinner Peter Hatzoglou who will replace Lance Morris, who has travelled with Australia for the India Test series.

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