Daniel Hughes anchored Sydney Sixers’ innings with an excellent 85 and ended Brisbane Heat’s three-match winning streak in a last-over thriller at the Gabba in Match 15 of the Big Bash League on Tuesday (January 3).
Chasing 187, the Sixers seemed to be heading towards a comfortable win, but sensible bowling from the Heat at the fag end took the game down to the wire.
With this win, the Sixers are on level with Perth Scorchers and Heat with six points in the league standings, but are currently placed third because of an inferior net run rate. The Scorchers hold on to the top spot after Heat’s attempt to make it four out of four was foiled today.
Having been asked for bat first, Jimmy Peirson took the attack to the Sixers immediately as he smashed three fours in the first over of the game. The introduction of Ben Dwarshuis acted as a catalyst as Peirson pounded him for a four and six off successive balls as Heat scored 18 runs in the over.
Brendon McCullum too joined the party and the team fifty was raised in just 4.3 overs. A while later, the scoreboard alarmingly read 70 for no loss at the end of the powerplay, but Sean Abbott’s entry gave a huge sigh of relief to the Sixers setup. The pressure of not managing a boundary got to the New Zealand superstar as he skied a short ball to Johan Botha at deep mid-wicket.
Walking in at No. 3, Chris Lynn began in his usual brutal style by muscling a maximum off the second ball he faced and things looked ominous when he lofted Abbott deep into the long-on stand, but greed got the better of him as he holed out next ball trying to repeat the shot.
Soon the momentum shifted towards the Sixers as Peirson and Alex Ross departed in quick succession – the latter falling to a brilliantly judged catch by Nic Maddinson near the boundary. From 70 for 0 in six overs, the Heat were reduced to 100 for 4 at the end of 12 overs.
Joe Burns and Ben Cutting though did not mind the situation and counter-attacked in grand style, amassing 25 runs in two overs. Although Burns lost a couple of partners soon after, he continued his positive approach and helped Brisbane get to 186, also recording his third BBL fifty in the process.
The Sixers were off to a poor start in their reply as Samuel Badree trapped Jason Roy in his second over. However, Daniel Hughes and Maddinson steadied the ship with a brisk 45-run stand for the second wicket.
Things looked bad for the visitors when skipper Moises Henriques and Sam Billings departed in quick succession, but a well-set Hughes did not lose focus and took the attack to Nick Buchanan, taking him for a four and back-to-back sixes in his third over.
Brad Haddin looked filled with energy right from his arrival at the crease and credited Hughes’ effort with successive sixes and a four in Mark Steketee’s third over. This brought the equation down to 51 runs needed off 36 balls.
Jack Wildermuth then sent back Haddin – a lamely-attempted hook shot was held easily at square leg in the 16th over, but Hughes’ timely six in the same over eased the pressure on the visitors.
The penultimate over began with eight runs required and five wickets in hand, but Mitchell Swepson prised out Johan Botha and also managed to concede just five runs to finish his quota with figures of 4-0-25-2.
Things were spiced up further when Cutting knocked over Hughes first ball of the final over – a dejected Hughes slowly dragged himself off the field having made an excellent 55-ball 85. Heat turned on the heat with a dot ball and a bye as follow-up, but a top-edged pull shot from Abbott sealed the game for the Sixers.
Brief scores: Brisbane Heat 186 for 6 in 20 overs (Joe Burns 51 not out, Jimmy Peirson 44, Brendon McCullum 30; Sean Abbott 3 for 38, Johan Botha 2 for 24) lost to Sydney Sixers 191 for 7 in 19.4 overs (Daniel Hughes 85, Brad Haddin 32, Nic Maddinson 24; Mitchell Swepson 2 for 25, Ben Cutting 2 for 44) by three wickets.