Leaders Melbourne Stars have lost their unbeaten streak to Sydney Sixers in a rain-affected encounter.
A rain delay reduced the match to 14 overs per side, and it was the Sixers who prevailed by 21 runs.
Batting first, the Sixers posted an imposing total thanks to the hitting of Moises Henriques. The Stars’ response was not their usual clinical display, and they will have to look at the decision not to bat Glenn Maxwell further up the order.
It seemed a strange decision not to bat the in-form Maxwell at least at number three, and their run chase suffered accordingly.
The match was only 3.1 overs old when the rains came with the Sixers at 0/16. The delay cost the game six overs per innings, and the Sixers were soon in trouble.
Feeling the pressure of a truncated match, the Sixers saw Sandeep Lamichhane as the bowler to attack. However, the Nepali leg-spinner conjured up two wickets in three balls. Daniel Hughes fell to a smart Seb Gotch stumping before Josh Philippe’s mishit went straight to long-on.
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James Vince and Henriques pulled the innings around with some superb T20 cricket. The Sixers captain hit 72 from 31 balls in a partnership of 114 from just over eight overs. Henriques hit eight sixes before falling in the last over. The Sixers’ innings finally ended on 3/143 to leave the Stars needing a DLS adjusted total of 147.
Marcus Stoinis and Hilton Cartwright opened the batting for the Stars needing 10.50 per over. In their usual belligerent fashion, both openers were looking to attack at every opportunity. Cartwright was the first to fall, with the score on 35 at the start of the fourth over, when an attempted scoop shot managed to glove the ball behind.
Surprisingly, it was Nic Maddinson who strode out to the crease rather than Stars captain Maxwell. Dwarshuis finished off his over without conceding a run to pick up an invaluable wicket maiden. While Stoinis did his best to keep the scoreboard ticking over, Maddinson struggled. Eating up valuable balls, Maddinson looked increasingly frustrated at his inability to find the boundary. When he finally fell, it was a relief for the Stars as it allowed Maxwell to come to the crease.
Nathan Lyon was making his first appearance of the season for the Sixers, and he made the vital breakthrough to remove Stoinis. The Stars opener was going well, on 62 and finding the boundary regularly, but fell to a marvellous spiralling catch from Henriques. The Sixers were delighted at the fall of the wicket.
Maxwell decided that the situation required a change of bat which yielded some runs, but the situation was looking ever more helpless. Tom Curran bowled the last over, needing to defend 27 runs, and killed the contest with his first two balls. Nick Larkin fell first before the wicket of Maxwell confirmed the victory. Stars ended on 5/125 to suffer their second defeat of BBL09.
The Sixers moved up to second place in the standings to put the pressure back on Adelaide Strikers. Next up for the men in pink is a trip to Gabba on Thursday to face the beleaguered Brisbane Heat. Melbourne won’t worry too much about the defeat but will take away some valuable lessons around their batting line up in chase situations. Their next match is an intriguing encounter at the Adelaide Oval to play the Strikers.