Sydney Thunder won the toss and elected to field against the Brisbane Heat in their must-win Big Bash League match at the Gabba.
Brisbane Heat have included veteran swing bowler Chris Swan for his domestic Twenty20 debut, replacing van der Merwe.
Heat will go into tonight’s clash with New Zealand internationals Dan Vettori and Brendon McCullum in their same line-up for the first time in the series.
Sydney Thunder have fast bowlers Nic Bills and Matthew Day making their debut. Tim Cruickshank comes in for Luke Butterworth.
Brisbane Heat: Matthew Hayden, Brendon McCullum (wk), Andrew Robinson, Daniel Christian, Peter Forrest (c), Chris Lynn, Daniel Vettori, Michael Neser, Nathan Hauritz, Chris Swan, Alister McDermott, Joe Burns (12th).
Sydney Thunder: Chris Gayle, Usman Khawaja, Tim Cruickshank, Ben Dunk (wk), Daniel Smith (c), Tim Armstrong, Sean Abbott, Matthew Day, Scott Coyte, Luke Doran, Nic Bills, Jason Floros (12th).