PREVIEW: BBL|13 Final – Sixers vs. Heat

ONLY one game remains in the race for the BBL|13 title, as the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat lock horns in tonight’s decider at the SCG. Fittingly, a bout between the top two ranked sides ends the season, with Sydney chasing a fourth crown while Brisbane searches for its second.


Who: Sydney Sixers vs. Brisbane Heat
When: Wednesday January 24, 7:15 AEDT
Where: SCG, Sydney
How to watch: Channel 7, Fox Cricket, Kayo Sports


The Qualifier: Sixers (8-152) def. Heat (113) by 39 runs.
The Knockout: Strikers (7-155) def. Scorchers (105) by 50 runs.
The Challenger: Heat (7-214) def. Strikers (106) by 54 runs.

After topping the table with a 7-1 record, Brisbane has taken the long road to the final. The Heat were made to lean on their double chance after going down to Sydney in the Qualifier, which granted the Sixers direct entry to a home decider. It left the Heat to regroup and knock off the streaking Adelaide Strikers in Monday’s Challenger, setting up tonight’s first-versus-second clash.

via Cricket Australia


Overall (2 NR):
Sixers – 14
Heat – 6

Sixers – 2
Heat – 1

BBL|13 (1 NR):
Sixers – 1
Heat – 1

It’s fair to say the Sixers have the wood over most teams in the competition, and that’s no different with Brisbane. A 14-6 overall record reads well for tonight’s home side, though is not entirely indicative of how evenly the teams competed this season.

Frustratingly, both home-and-away fixtures between them were rain affected, with one abandoned completely. The other saw Brisbane win via DLS method after Paul Walter hit boundaries off two of the final three deliveries of the game, putting his side ahead of the par score.

Most recently, Sydney got up in a memorable road win to take out the Qualifier. Ben Dwarshuis was the hero with the ball, claiming 5-21 to help his Sixers defend 8-152 after being sent in to bat. The win set up tonight’s home final and a few extra day’s rest.


BBL|13 Records:
Sixers – 2nd | 6-2 (2 N/R) | 0.339 NRR
Heat – 1st | 7-1 (1 N/R) | 0.972 NRR

Last 5:
Sixers (4-1) – LWWWW
Heat (3-2) – WWLLW

Brisbane shot to a 7-0 record in the regular season before suffering its only two defeats consecutively. Both came against top opposition, with the first being a road loss to Perth before the second came against the Sixers in the Qualifier. Otherwise, the Heat have been perfect atop the table.

Sydney bookended its home-and-away campaign with seperate runs of three-straight wins, middled by two losses and some rain affected results. Now, the Sixers are on a four-game winning run and seem to be peaking at the right time, facing stiff opposition in the run-in to finals.


Sixers: Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Joel Davies, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Todd Murphy, Izharulhaq Naveed, Steve O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Mitch Perry, Josh Philippe (wk), Jordan Silk

Heat: Nathan McSweeney (c), Xavier Bartlett, Josh Brown, Max Bryant, Jordan Buckingham, Spencer Johnson, Matthew Kuhnemann, Michael Neser, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Paul Walter, Charlie Wakim, Jack Wildermuth, Jack Wood


Sixers: Moises Henriques & Steve O’Keefe

Sixers skipper Moises Henriques is the side’s third-leading run scorer with 232 this season, but has arguably played the most important innings. His top score of 59 came in the Qualifier to resurrect Sydney’s total, and he came up clutch to hit the winning runs against Perth and snatch second spot. He is made for finals, has a wealth of experience, and a third title as captain to chase.

On the bowling side of things, tonight looms as the last hurrah for competition stalwart Steve O’Keefe. The former Test tweaker has taken only seven wickets this season but goes at a miserly rate of 6.25 runs per over and often saves his best for the SCG. His last appearance at the venue yielded season-best figures of 3-13 in a derby win over the Thunder. Class is permanent.

Image Credit: Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Heat: Josh Brown & Xavier Bartlett

Brown is fresh off a blistering, record-breaking knock in Monday’s Challenger and will be identified as the dangerman by Sydney’s attack. His exploits put him clear atop Brisbane’s run charts with 313, going at a strike rate of 152.68. He offers the type of big hitting that could change the game in a flash and will have plenty of run scoring responsibility to shoulder atop the batting order.

Xavier Bartlett has been the pick of Brisbane’s bowlers this season, taking out the golden arm award with 18 wickets and even earning a call-up to Australia’s one-day squad. He’ll be well supported by the likes of Spencer Johnson and Michael Neser in the seam stakes, too. Bartlett’s best figures of 3-29 came before the New Year against Sydney Thunder, but he’s consistent and reliable.

Image Credit: Getty Images


Brisbane has a strong record batting first but Sydney may well look to do the same, putting plenty of emphasis on what happens at the bat flip. The Sixers’ steady squad and experienced heads have long been an advantage, which will be no different for their seventh final in pursuit of a fourth title.

The Heat will back their own experience with over a half-dozen squad members set to play in back-to-back deciders, but will be up against it given the Sixers’ 2-0 final record at the SCG. They’ve been there before and look to have hit top form at the right time, so Sixers to win at home.

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