Daniel Hughes (85 from 55 balls) was Sydney Sixers’ hero as the unbeaten run of Brisbane Heat ended after a sensational run chase at The Gabba.
Brisbane Heat were well in the game with 186 for six on the scoreboard after their 20 overs. Joe Burns with an unbeaten 51 and Jimmy Peirson 44 were the home side’s top scorers. Burns had only faced 24 balls in three games before tonight, including two not outs, but stood up to be counted as he shored up the Heat’s effort.
Peirson had begun his competition with 46 against the Strikers. He added a powerful 30-ball 44 tonight, including one huge six into the top tier. The Heat are BBL06’s maximum bashers, adding 9 more tonight to add to the 31 smashed in their first three matches.
That Sydney Sixers chased down the Heat’s score was mainly down to Player of the Match, Hughes, who Australian selector Mark Waugh described as the most improved batsman in the country. In his first season with the Sixers timed his innings to perfection as wickets fell at the other end. He hit 7 fours and 4 sixes, but would have been disappointed to fall just before the winning line was reached.
Brad Haddin’s 13 ball innings changed the game and gave the Sixers the momentum they needed as their run chase threatened to stall. The former Test keeper hammered 3 fours and 2 sixes to finish with a strike rate of 246.
The Sixers required just 8 runs from the last two overs with five wickets still in the hut, but when Johan Botha fell to Mitchell Swepson and only 5 runs game from the penultimate over the dicey nature of the task was highlighted – Hughes fell to the first ball of the last over, there was a dot ball and Dwarshuis desperately scrambled a bye off the next.
Sean Abbott was on strike with two required off three balls and the right-hander top-edged a six to secure the win.
The Heat are now sweating on the fitness of key players, Chris Lynn (shoulder) and Samuel Badree (hamstring). Lynn will travel with the team to Perth tomorrow, but has a history of shoulder issues and must be considered a doubt.
Heat’s first defeat could not have come at a worse time. They miss their opportunity to go back to the top of the table and now face a buoyant Perth Scorchers side in their next game. The Sixers move up to third spot with the win, level with the Scorchers and Heat on three wins, ahead of their match against the Renegades on Monday.
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James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
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