SUNDAY night in the Big Bash League saw the Sydney Sixers hold off a serious fightback in the first innings from the Perth Scorchers to claim a thrilling six-wicket win at the SCG.
Dan Christian was the hero for the winning side, coming in for a crucial spell in the penultimate over to ensure the hosts would hold off the opposition in what was a truly nail-biting affair.
The match had plenty of attention due to star batsman Steve Smith‘s return to Big Bash cricket, suiting up for the Sixers and drawing a big crowd with the test side not in action until the tour of Pakistan next February. Also returning was spin legend Nathan Lyon, who has donned the Sixers colours for a number of seasons, and brings plenty of wicket-taking ability in any format of the game.
The Sixers looked on track for a big score at the start of the first innings, after being sent out to bat by the Scorchers, who won the toss and chose to bowl. Smith opened the batting for Sydney (a rarity in his career) along with Josh Philippe, and the duo got off to a flyer to combine for a 52-run partnership in the first innings, before Smith was dismissed. Unfortunately, the Scorchers bowling attack got the better of the Sixers, but the home side still managed to get to a defendable total of 151.
Things looked dire for the Scorchers early, with star opener Cameron Bancroft dismissed on the boundary for just one run as he looked to get Perth going early as the opposition did. Aaron Hardie was clean bowled shortly after in a lapse of concentration, before opener Stephen Eskinazi put the team on his back with a stirring knock of 66 runs (not out) from 54 deliveries. The Scorchers looked a red hot chance of taking the chocolates heading into the final two overs, before Christian struck. Despite not bowling the remainder of the match, the veteran had a crucial two-wicket spell in the 18th over, dismissing both Andrew Tye (six runs) and Ashton Agar (three runs) and putting the game out of reach for the visitors.
Once again, Sean Abbott was named player of the match for the Sixers after another damaging performance to finish with figures of 3/18 from four overs, continuing his blistering form of late. From a batting perspective, it was the openers that set the tone and guided the Sixers to a good enough score. Phillippe finished with 54 runs from 48 balls in a patient knock, while Smith gave fans something to cheer about with a knock of 36 from 27 balls, as Sydney claimed its eighth consecutive win at the SCG.
In the second match of Sunday’s double-header, the Hobart Hurricanes had no troubles chasing down the total set by the Sydney Thunder to snatch a five-wicket triumph at Blundstone Arena.
RESULT: Sydney Sixers (5/151) def. Perth Scorchers (7/145)
POTM: Sean Abbott (Sydney Sixers)
TOSS: Perth Scorchers won the toss and opted to bowl
Josh Phillippe (54), Steve Smith (36)
Sean Abbott (3/18)
Stephen Eskinazi (66), Nick Hobson (27)
Peter Hatzoglou (2/27)