Sport

Bowler keeps cool in heat of the moment

AT PACE: Local prodigy Mark Steketee bowls during the Big Bash League match between the Brisbane Heat and the Melbourne Stars at The Gabba on Saturday.
AT PACE: Local prodigy Mark Steketee bowls during the Big Bash League match between the Brisbane Heat and the Melbourne Stars at The Gabba on Saturday. Matt Roberts Getty Images

WARWICK paceman Mark Steketee could become a "Ben Cutting" type of bowling all-rounder if he improves his batting - that is the word from Brisbane Heat coach Stuart Law.

Steketee took 2-22 off 3.4 overs after being entrusted with the last over of the innings in his side's three-wicket loss to BBL T20 leaders Melbourne Stars on Saturday night.

The Brisbane Heat batted first to make 7-144, Dan Christian top scoring with 68 in front of a record Saturday night crowd at the Gabba.

The Stars were on top with the bat before Steketee took the first wicket of the innings for the third successive time when he had former Test player Cameron White caught at mid-on by Cutting.

Steketee conceded nine runs, two and one from his first three overs.

The Stars needed 36 from the final 24 balls and then six from the last six with four wickets in hand.

Steketee was hit for two consecutive twos by another former Test player Rob Quiney before taking his wicket with the third.

All rounder John Hastings then hit a flat six over mid-wicket to win the game for the Stars.

Law said it had to be Steketee to bowl the last over after Alister McDermott was hit for easy runs in the 18th over.

"It was an easy decision for captain James Hopes to give the ball to Mark but it is hard work to defend six runs in the final over, particularly in T20 cricket," Law said.

"Mark is bowling at very good pace, on a good length and is hard to hit. He just lets it go. I am enjoying his progress.

"He was the best of the fast bowlers against the Stars. Medium pacer James Hopes also bowled well."

While Steketee is yet to bat in his first three T20 games, Law said he was promoted one place up the order in the run chase against the Sydney Sixers but wasn't required to bat.

"I haven't seen a lot of his batting but know he can give it a thump. He doesn't have a classic style but is a true tail-ender. If he takes it a bit more seriously and starts striking a few, he could be another Ben Cutting," Law said.

Cutting is the go-to man for the Heat when in quest of quick runs and has a Sheffield Shield century for Queensland.

Last season, Steketee hit two centuries for Maryvale in club cricket in Warwick. While there is no comparison between Warwick and Shield cricket, Steketee proved for Maryvale he had the ability and concentration to build an innings, even if he used the long handle to most of the bowlers.

Steketee said yesterday he wasn't nervous when given the ball for the last over.

"You play the game for those moments," he said.

There were no special directions for the last over when only six runs were required.

"We had a plan and just had to execute it," Steketee said.

"It has been good playing for the Heat."

After the game, he had a chat with Test star Ryan Harris.

"Ryan said to keep backing myself," Steketee said.

"I am looking forward to training with Ryan this week."

After the BBL, Law said Steketee would play in a Futures League game and could press his claims for selection in the Queensland Bulls team for any of the final four games with a strong performance.

"Shield cricket is not out of the question the way injuries happen and form disappears," Law said.

Topics:  ben cutting, big bash league, brisbane heat, mark steketee, stuart law, t20




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