Colin Munro has bludgeoned traditional slow starters Brisbane Heat to a statement 103-run victory in the Big Bash League opener against Melbourne Stars.
The South African-born New Zealand opener slugged an unbeaten 99 off 61 balls in Thursday night’s season 13 launch at the Gabba to help propel the Heat to their biggest margin of victory in BBL annals.
Munro was denied a century when, after knocking a single, Max Bryant hit the final three balls of the Heat’s innings for four.
BBL journeyman Munro wasn’t fussed though, the Heat piling on 3-214 and then restricted Glenn Maxwell’s side to 111.
Munro and Sam Billings only played the first half of last season with the Heat but will remain with the team for the entirety of this regular season.
“It’s nice to come back to the same team,” he told AAP.
“You don’t have to show what you’ve done; they want you back for a reason, you come back, be yourself and enjoy it.”
Michael Neser, deemed fit after being ruled out of the Prime Minister’s XI clash with soreness, took two first-over wickets to leave the Stars on the ropes.
World Cup hero Maxwell (23 off 14) briefly threatened another miracle innings before he found a fielder with a reverse sweep off Mitchell Swepson (3-23).
At 5-54 after eight overs the chase was effectively over.
But the night got worse for the Stars, Nathan Coulter-Nile to have scans on an injured calf and Maxwell (forearm) also left icing his arm after his innings.
The Heat have historically battled early in BBL seasons before finishing with a flourish.
Last year they scrambled to make the finals, then surged from fifth to come within a whisker of heavyweights Perth Scorchers in the decider.
“When we left (last season) they weren’t in a great spot then they started winning and winning and winning,” Munro recalled.
“You want to make it a fortress and make those visiting teams feel the pressure.”
Munro and Khawaja (28 off 19) showed why they belonged at the top in a slick start, putting on 63 in the first six overs.
Munro targeted Maxwell’s (1-44 off three overs) off-spin, taking 19 from his first over and then slamming a straight six off the back foot when he returned.
Tom Rogers dropped a diving effort in the deep and Munro, on 58 at the time, rubbed salt in by hitting Maxwell’s next delivery for six.
“We could have caught Uzzy earlier, or Munro later,” Cartwright said of his side’s misses in the field.
“But when you’ve got a guy (Munro) hitting balls off the top of the stumps for six you’ve got to tip your cap.
“It’s very hard to stop on a nice wicket.
“On a night like tonight you’ve got to keep reminding yourself you’re not a bad team.”