A four-wicket haul from right-arm quick Mark Steketee and a 23-ball 40 from their opener Max Bryant helped the Brisbane Heat – who are missing Chris Lynn due to injury – beat the Sydney Sixers by four wickets in front of their home crowd. Although the Sixers earned a Bash Boost point for scoring more runs than the Heat at the respective halfway points of both teams’ innings, they could not extend their streak of consecutive wins to five, bring an end to a series of wins that started on December 13.
The Heat’s chase briefly got tricky when they lost their sixth wicket still needing 45 runs in 28 balls, but an unbeaten partnership of 50 in 21 balls between Lewis Gregory (16-ball 31) and Jack Wildermuth (10-ball 22) saw them cruise to victory with more than an over to spare. Their second win of the season takes them to sixth on the points table with eight points, while the Sixers remain third on 17 points, only two behind league leaders, and the other Sydney team, the Thunder.
Philippe, Vince take on the spinners
Having chosen to bat, the Sixers openers Jack Edwards and Josh Philippe began aggressively, adding 30 after the four mandatory Powerplay overs. The fifth over began Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s spell, and he struck off the first ball, when Edwards was caught at backward point. Joe Burns, released from the Australia Test squad, pounced onto the catch as Edwards sliced an attempted drive.
While Mujeeb’s first over went for only three, his second went for 17 as Philippe and the No. 3 James Vince struck two sixes off the first and last ball of the seventh over. The two batsmen pounced further in the eighth over when left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann conceded 16 on the back of a hat-trick of fours, of which one was down the leg side. Kuhnemann would later be subbed out at end of 10 overs, with batsman Sam Heazlett replacing him.
Sixers slide after solid start
Vince was dismissed for 20 in the ninth over when he edged a shot to the keeper. He was trying to run it past Jimmy Pierson but ended up playing it too fine. The keeper Pierson was in the action in the 10th over, too, when Daniel Hughes was caught behind for two trying to drive a Steketee delivery that wasn’t full enough.
Philippe and Jordan Silk looked to help the Sixers recover after the two quick wickets, and it looked like the duo were going to bring out the big shots with eight overs to go. But Philippe was out lbw for 48 off Xavier Bartlett, trying to slog-sweep after which the No. 6 Daniel Christian was trapped lbw in front of his stumps by Mujeeb. Carlos Brathwaite was then out for a duck, when he couldn’t get a square drive off Steketee over point. Silk, however, kept finding the occasional boundary as the death overs approached, and was finally dismissed by Steketee in the 19th over for a 27-ball 43. Steketee would take another wicket next ball, his fourth of the match. Eventually, the Sixers set a target of 166 for the Heat after an expensive 14-run final over.
Sixers fight back after Bryant’s blast
After his new opening partner Burns was out for 1, Bryant collected boundaries off Jackson Bird and Ben Dwarshuis in the first five overs of the chase. With No. 3 Joe Denly at the other end, he punished Christian’s first over – the chase’s seventh – with a six and a four to welcome the new bowler. But Bryant fell off the third ball when he looked to cutely nudge a short ball leg side, only for the leading edge to find Philippe. At the point of his dismissal, Bryant had scored 40 of the 57 runs made by the Heat.
While Denly looked to get his eye in with singles and doubles together with the X-Factor Heazlett, the Bash Boost point was going out of the Heat’s grasps. Denly was out in the ninth over for a 17-ball 19, leaving the Heat needing 14 off the tenth over to collect the point. They could get only six as the Sixers earned it instead. Benjamin Manenti and Brathwaite kept things tidy, with the latter dismissing Heazlett for 17. The Heat struck only one boundary in the six overs between 8 and 14, and the required rate was now touching 11.
Gregory, Wildermuth turn it around
With 63 needed off 36, the 15th over began with Pierson flicking Dwarshuis for six, only to be dismissed two balls later by a slower delivery that he dragged onto the stumps. Although Gregory struck another six off Dwarshuis to bookend a 15-run over to bring the required run-rate down to 9.60, he lost James Bazley at the other end in the 16th over.
Gregory, though, had Wildermuth for company. Thanks to some wayward bowling from Brathwaite and a series of smart running between the wicket, they brought the equation down to 14 off 12. Gregory then hit Dwarshuis for a six and a four to make the game a mere formality. Wildermuth hit another maximum to bring the fifty stand and seal a Heat win with seven balls to spare.
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