James Vince was extremely disappointed with the circumstances which led to him being stranded on 98 at the end of the Qualifier against Perth Scorchers last week. In the final, up against the same opposition, Vince was at his brilliant best once again but fell just short of a hundred. He wasn’t so disheartened on this occasion, though, as his 95 led Sydney Sixers to a second successive Big Bash League (BBL) title at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday (6 February 2021).
VINCE LEADS THE CHARGE
On what was a good batting wicket, after being put into bat, the Sixers got off to a good start before a big mix-up in the middle saw Josh Philippe having to head back to the pavilion in the final over of the Powerplay. Philippe, from the non-striker's end, came running for a quick single while opening partner Vince stood his ground. With both batsmen stuck at the same end, it was an easy run-out for Aaron Hardie after Andrew Tye had missed hitting the stumps initially.
That breakthrough, at the time, came as a huge boost for the Scorchers as Philippe was in terrific form this season and was named the Player of the Tournament earlier in the week.
That, though, did not hinder Vince's innings. If nothing else, it made him more determined to score big. The England batsman went on to bring up his second successive half-century against the Scorchers, this one off 31 deliveries.
With Vince batting so well, the Scorchers decided to bring Jhye Richardson back into the attack in the eighth over in an attempt to get a wicket. That move worked as the season's top wicket-taker dismissed Daniel Hughes for 13. A few overs later, Tye dismissed Moises Henriques. The Sixers skipper got off to a start, before falling for 18 off 11 deliveries.
Wickets falling at the other end didn’t stop Vince from batting aggressively. The Sixers opener did have one lucky moment when Mitchell Marsh dropped a catch when he was on 82. It wasn't the easiest of chances as the ball went really high in the air. In the same over, he presented a half-chance to Cameron Bancroft, but while the Scorchers fielder made good ground, he couldn't hold on to the catch. But apart from that, Vince was truly fantastic.
Vince was eventually dismissed just five runs short of what would’ve been a befitting maiden BBL hundred. While Marsh made amends for his earlier drop with this catch, it was a well-deserved wicket for Fawad Ahmed, who was the pick of the Scorchers bowlers. In his three overs, Fawad conceded just 16 runs.
SIXERS FINISH WITH 188/6
With a good platform set, the Sixers decided to take the Power Surge at the start of the 17th over and they managed 25 runs in the following 12 deliveries. The second of those overs was especially fruitful with Jordan Silk and Daniel Christian scoring 17 against Richardson.
Tye bowled a good 19th over, conceding only five runs and also managed to get the wicket of Christian. With regards to the dismissal, it was a close call if it was a waist-high no-ball. The third umpire took his time before giving the decision in favour of the bowling team, clearly doing so because Christian had come down the track.
Carlos Brathwaite hit a couple of boundaries against Richardson in the final over to guide the Sixers to 188 before he was dismissed off the final delivery of the innings. While he took two wickets, it wasn't the best of outings with the ball for Richardson as he conceded 45 runs from his four overs.
BANCROFT, LIVINGSTONE GET STARTS BUT UNABLE TO KICK ON
Chasing 189, the Scorchers had to get off to a quick start and they managed to do so, mainly thanks to Bancroft, who hit four fours and one six during the Powerplay. The Sixers did have a big chance to get an early breakthrough though. Stephen O'Keefe, fielding at third man, couldn't hold on to a catch of Liam Livingstone. But just like what had happened with Marsh earlier in the match, the ball went miles up in the air which made it difficult for the fielder.
While Bancroft got the Scorchers off to a flyer, his stay at the crease ended immediately after the Powerplay, with Jackson Bird getting the crucial breakthrough for the Sixers.
Colin Munro, the Scorchers' top run-scorer in BBL 10, fell soon after to Sean Abbott, who came back strongly after having conceded 19 runs in his first over. It was a really poor shot; one Munro wouldn't want to look back on.
Livingstone, who was the star for the Scorchers in their Challenger victory against Brisbane Heat, wasn’t as fluent here as he was in Thursday's match but got off to a start. While he managed 21 runs from as many deliveries to begin his innings, he changed gears and things were starting to look ominous for the Sixers. But just then, Bird returned and got the wicket of the Scorchers opener. It was a significant moment in the match and the runs dried up for the team from Perth in the overs that followed.
DWARSHUIS’ DOUBLE STRIKE SEALS THE GAME
A rising required run-rate led to the batting side taking the Power Surge at the start of the 15th over, but this turned out to be counterproductive. The first setback for the Scorchers came when Marsh had to head back to the pavilion after Vince took a superb diving catch at cover. It was Ben Dwarshuis with the wicket and the left-arm pacer wasn't done yet as he dismissed Josh Inglis just two deliveries later.
After Dwarshuis' double strike in the 15th over, it was always going to be a tall task for the Scorchers and so it proved. They would've gained some hope after 16 runs came off the 17th over, but Ashton Turner was dismissed soon after with Abbott picking up his second wicket of the innings.
Dwarshuis then returned to take the wicket of Aaron Hardie and that more or less signalled the end of the game as a contest. The Scorchers eventually ended on 161/9, with Daniel Christian chipping in with two wickets in the final over as the Sixers triumphed by 27 runs.
With this victory, the Sixers matched the Scorchers on two fronts – becoming the second team, after the Perth-based franchise, to win back-to-back titles and most BBL championships (3).