Lehmann gives Brisbane Heat licence to thrill
The Brisbane Heat have been given a licence to thrill with new coach Darren Lehmann instructing the Big Bash favourites to play with freedom and make the Gabba a fortress.
The Heat will open BBL09 at the Gabba on Tuesday night when they clash with the Sydney Thunder under lights.
Heat captain Chris Lynn is the fittest he has been in years and coming off a sensational performance in Abu Dhabi where he was crowned player-of-the-tournament in a Ten10 league.
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The Heat have been installed as tournament favourites following the signing of South African superstar AB de Villiers, although he will not arrive at the franchise until next month.
Brisbane has not won the BBL since 2012-13 and has struggled over the past few years, prompting an overhaul of the franchise and signing of former Australian coach Lehmann.
The Heat want to make the Gabba a daunting place to visit and big-hitting all-rounder Ben Cutting said Lehmann has given them the freedom to play the Brisbane way.
"That's the mentality Boof (Lehmann) brings - you can play with freedom," Cutting said.
"That's perfect for T20 cricket at the Gabba.
"We know bowling at the Gabba is daunting but we've got to embrace it.
"When you're batting you're expected to go at 10-12 (runs) an over for most of the game but it doesn't always work like that. Every game can be different.
"It's about trusting our game a little more."
Lynn has whacked 123 sixes in the BBL and needs only three runs to become the tournament's all-time leading runscorer.
The Heat will unleash the "Baby Bash Brother" Max Bryant the top of the order again this summer alongside English import Tom Banton, one of world cricket's most exciting young players.
Matt Renshaw is expected to see plenty of game time following the elevation of Marnus Labuschagne and Joe Burns to the Test arena.
Renshaw warmed up for the Big Bash by smashing 139 from 60 balls for club side Toombul on Saturday.
Cutting unleashed in his last appearance for the Heat at the Gabba, whacking eight sixes in a stunning unbeaten knock of 81 from 30 balls.
The T20 gun-for-hire has been blasting his way around the world and said he was ready to tee off again on Tuesday night.
"You've got to be flexible," he said.
"We've got such a dynamic batting line-up, especially with new guys like Tommy Banton who's got to slot into the top order.
"We've lost Marnus and Burnsy so it's going to be a new-look top six. Where I fit into that I'm not sure, it'll probably change throughout the season."
The Heat will play their second home match of the tournament against the Melbourne Stars at Metricon Stadium on Friday night.