Johnson puts heat on former WBBL teammates

Sydney Thunder allrounder Sammy-Jo Johnson claims all the pressure is on her former Brisbane Heat teammates and their title defence before f their WBBL semi.

SAMMY-JO JOHNSON of Brisbane bats during the Women's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Thunder and the Brisbane Heat at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney, Australia.
SAMMY-JO JOHNSON of Brisbane bats during the Women's Big Bash League match between the Sydney Thunder and the Brisbane Heat at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Sammy-Jo Johnson spearheaded Brisbane Heat to their maiden WBBL final two years ago but she's now hell-bent on stopping their shot at a three-peat.

Johnson was one of the Heat's heroes the last time they played the Sydney Thunder in a semi-final - making 33 runs and taking 1-12 from four overs to be player of the match.

But come Wednesday night's semi-final between the teams at North Sydney Oval, she finds herself in a very different predicament.

One of the big-name exits out of the Heat at the end of last summer, Johnson is now an experienced head at the Thunder and trying to help them to their first final in five years.

"That last-ball catch on the boundary with Haidee Birkett (to remove Nicola Carey and win the match), I cried," Johnson said of the 2018-19 semi-final.

"I couldn't believe we were going to be playing in a WBBL final.

"It's quite ironic (now).

"I'm glad it's a semi so we can knock them (the Heat) out, stop the three-peat and help this Thunder team to a title.

"It is weird to try and stop it, but I am hoping for an individual three-peat."

Bubble life has meant Johnson regularly crossed paths with her former teammates, and she made a point to get in their ear on Monday night.

As far as she is concerned, on the field the roles are firmly reversed on where they were two years ago.

Just like the Thunder and the Sydney Sixers side Brisbane beat in the final, the Heat are now the hunted with two titles under their belt.

And the Thunder are the young up-and-comers, with experience up top in Heather Knight and Rachael Haynes but four players aged 21 or under.

"We had such an up and down season (at the Heat in 2018-19) and everyone doubted us," Johnson said.

"That feeling is what I have with the Thunder now, a lot of people probably do think we can't beat the Heat.

"They've got senior players and are coming off back-to-back titles. The pressure is all on them. It's all on them."

Meanwhile, Thunder spinner Sam Bates has signed a contract extension with the club.

Bates was part of the Thunder squad that won the inaugural WBBL title.

"This team has the same vibe. We're a really close knit team and we can go all the way again," Bates said.