In a tight contest, Brad Haddin steered the Sydney Sixers over the line against Melbourne Renegades and into second spot in the BBL06 ladder.
The Renegades opted to take first hit and skipper Aaron Finch led the way with an assured 57 in 44 balls. Finch appeared to bat within himself, obviously keen to post a score to show Cricket Australia what they will be missing after omitting him from their recently announced one-day squad. He hit 3 fours and just one six and fell just as he threatened to cut loose.
Left-armer Ben Dwarshuis claimed three key wickets for the Sixers, stalling the momentum of the ‘Gades innings at critical times. It was another strong performance from Dwarshuis, who continues to grow in Sixers colours.
The 170 would usually have been sufficient at the SCG, but the 30,172 strong crowd witnessed the Sixers post the highest BBL chase at the ground.
Daniel Hughes continued his excellent competition with an excellent 41 at the top of the innings, which seemed to allay any fears. Described by Haddin later as the most important man in the Sixers’ batting lineup, Hughes lasted 29 balls as he hit 6 fours and a six. He is the Sixers’ leading run-scorer in BBL06 and is key to their longer term hopes.
Peter Nevill took a nasty knock on the head as a return took a strange bounce and resulted with the keeper knocked to the floor. He left the field to undergo a concussion test from the team doctor and was cleared to regain the gloves from Finch, who had gone behind the stumps temporarily, a few minutes later.
The Sixers always appeared to be ahead of the game. At 72-0 in the 8th over it looked as if the highest successful chase in the BBL at the SCG was going to be a walk in the park.The required run-rate never neared double figures, yet somehow they almost conspired to balls it all up. Michael Lumb (31 from 22), Nick Maddinson (26 from 17) and Moises Henriques (30 from 20) all kept the tide flowing in the right direction. But with two overs to go the Sixers were still 16 runs short.
Thisara Perera (2-26), the new Sri Lankan import, bowled an excellent 19th over and with 9 required from the final over, James Pattinson, whose first two overs had gone for 27, was entrusted with the ball. After an initial dot ball, Haddin hit a boundary and then a no-ball resulted in a free hit with just two needed to win. Haddin, who finished unbeaten on 31 from 23 balls, hit Pattinson to be caught by Tom Cooper on the long-on fence, but Haddin returned for two and the game was in the bag with three balls to spare. The confused Renegades didn’t appear to realise that the runs had signalled the end of the contest.
It’s looking good for the Sixers whose fourth win sees them jump up level with the Heat at the top of the table, but with a weak net run-rate, they may have to win one of their last two matches to guarantee progression. Their next clash against the struggling Thunder on January 14.
The Renegades have now lost two on the bounce and are two wins from five. They are in must-win territory when they host the Hurricanes on January 12.
CURRENT BBL06 TABLE
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