LIVE: AB de Villiers lines up for Big Bash debut match
Jan. 14, 2020
South Africa superstar joins Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman in Brisbane Heat side but hosts lose Ben Laughlin to foot injury
South Africa superstar AB de Villiers makes his KFC BBL debut today against the Adelaide Strikers, presented with his Brisbane Heat cap by Andrew Symonds.
But the Proteas star attraction will have to wait for his turn to bat after Adelaide Strikers skipper Travis Head won the bat flip and the opted to bat first at a muggy Gabba in a match that gets underway at 3.40pm AEDT exclusively on Fox Cricket and Kayo .
Afghanistan leg-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman also makes his BBL|09 debut, replacing countryman Zahir Khan. Mujeeb arrives having taken 15 wickets in 12 games in the Bangladesh T20 competition, conceding just five runs per over.
But the Heat will be without star bowler Ben Laughlin, who appeared at the Gabba in a moon boot suffering a bruised heel. He is expected to be fit for Friday's rematch with the Strikers in Adelaide, another match that will be exclusive to Fox Cricket and Kayo subscribers.
De Villiers arrived in Brisbane on Sunday night after a 17-hour journey from South Africa and met his Heat teammates at training on Monday afternoon.
The 35-year-old Protea said he's been keenly watching the Brisbane Heat games from South Africa and the former Protea cannot wait to get stuck in having smashed four half-centuries in his past six knocks.
De Villiers hit 325 runs at a strike rate of 152.58 for the Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League, including four half-centuries in his past six innings, describing it as "a few good knocks".
"I felt in some of the best form of my career. Hopefully we'll see more of that in this tournament," de Villiers said in Brisbane on Monday.
"I know what's required of me to make a play for the team. There's been some standout performances from the Heat this season and I think the team is in a really good place."
De Villiers was lured to Brisbane by Lynn after they bonded at the IPL while playing on opposite teams, and the South African is excited to bat with the six-hitting sensation for the first time.
"It could be interesting, I don't know what to expect," de Villiers said of batting with the Heat skipper.
"We know each other from chatting at IPL but it's an interesting dynamic with two players at the crease, it either works or it doesn't.
"I've got a feeling it's going to work and be very nice to watch. Hopefully I'll do most of the watching at the non-striker's end."
The Heat begin their six-game run to the BBL finals with de Villiers sitting in sixth spot with a 4-4 record from eight games, having lost their last start against the Perth Scorchers.
De Villiers says he's comfortable with the expectation on his shoulders as he prepares for his maiden innings.
"I always (feel pressure). Wherever I play around world, either a club game or the World Cup semi-finals, I feel the same kind of pressure, the pressure I put on myself to perform at the best of my ability," de Villiers said.
"This is no different, but I've done it so many times. It doesn't guarantee success but I know what to expect.
"The butterflies I'm getting in my stomach is a good sign. All I can do is go out and enjoy myself and hopefully have an impact on the game with the batting.
"Then there's the fielding and all the off-field stuff as well.
"I've got a big role to play as an individual not just as a cricketer and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Brisbane Heat XI: Max Bryant, Ben Cutting, Chris Lynn (c), AB de Villiers, Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns, James Peirson (wk), James Pattinson, Josh Lalor, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Adelaide Strikers XI: Jake Weatherald, Phil Salt, Travis Head (c), Jon Wells, Harry Nielsen (wk), Matt Short, Michael Neser, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Harry Conway, Liam O'Connor.
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