At the halfway stage of their innings, under the newly-introduced Bash Boost rule, the Sydney Sixers guaranteed themselves of at least one point from this game, having bettered Hobart Hurricanes' score of 72 at the end of 10 overs. And at the time, they seemed to be in a pretty comfortable position to take home all available points from this match – after all, James Vince and Jack Edwards were in the midst of a terrific partnership.
It was no surprise then that, with both batsmen well-set and looking in imperious form, the Sixers decided to take the Power Surge – two overs with fielding restrictions on – at the beginning of the 12th over. While the first delivery went for six, Nathan Ellis and then Scott Boland did reasonably well to concede just 18 runs in the two overs between them, but the Hurricanes needed wickets.
THE HURRICANES FIGHTBACK
In fact, Boland was unfortunate to have not got one, with Tim David dropping Vince off his bowling. That drop, though, didn't prove to be that expensive for the Hurricanes as James Faulkner came on and got his second wicket in the following over to end the partnership at 116. Vince was dismissed for a well-made 67 and his dismissal gave the Hurricanes the opening they were desperate for.
Riley Meredith's pace troubled the Sixers batsmen early in the innings and, when he returned to bowl the 15th over, he got the big wicket of Edwards for 47. While not long before, the match seemed to be heading in only one direction, it was anyone’s game all of a sudden.
At the start of the 16th over, the defending champions needed 54 runs to win from 30 deliveries, but the two new batsmen Daniel Hughes and Jordan Silk struggled to get going and the required run-rate kept shooting up. The pressure soon told as both were dismissed without making a telling contribution.
There were questions raised at the time as to why Dan Christian and Carlos Brathwaite were held back when big-hitting was the need of the hour. When the duo did come into bat, they had a difficult task ahead of them, one which the Sixers would fall short by 16 runs.
It was truly a remarkable bowling performance from Peter Handscomb’s side during the defining moments of the game, with only 37 runs conceded off the final five overs.
INGRAM, DAVID PROPEL HURRICANES
Earlier, after the Sixers decided to bowl first after winning the bat flip, they opened the tenth edition of the Big Bash League (BBL) with spin and it proved to be a masterful move. Will Jacks, who had a fabulous summer of cricket in England recently, lasted just two deliveries on his BBL debut, with Ben Manenti completing a simple caught-and-bowled to send the young England batsman back to the pavilion.
Off the first delivery in the following over, Ben Dwarshuis found the outside edge of D'Arcy Short's bat, resulting in a catch at slip, which meant that both of Hurricanes' openers were dismissed without troubling the scorers.
Colin Ingram and Handscomb then did a fine job of rebuilding the Hurricanes innings. The duo brought up their 50-run partnership in 38 deliveries, which was an excellent effort considering they came together when the score read 4/2.
But just as momentum seemed to be heading completely in favour of the Hurricanes, Handscomb was stumped off the bowling of Stephen O'Keefe. It was a brilliant comeback from O'Keefe who had conceded 14 runs in his opening over.
Both teams then decided to play it safe and did not make use of the X-Factor substitute at the 10-over mark.
Shortly after, the Hurricanes lost the wicket of Macalister Wright with Christian striking with his first-ever delivery for the Sixers. Meanwhile, Ingram was in sublime touch and led a magnificent fightback, bringing up his fifty on his debut for the team from Hobart.
Then, at the beginning of the 15th over, the Hurricanes decided to go for the Power Surge and, surprisingly, Sixers skipper Hughes decided to go to his spinner O'Keefe to bowl during this phase. That decision proved to be quite costly as 19 runs were scored off the over. In fact, the over could have been even more expensive if not for an incredible save in the outfield from Silk.
While Ingram was soon dismissed, Tim David played a superb innings to guide Hurricanes to 178/8 in their 20 overs. The Singapore cricketer's previous highest score in the BBL might have been just 18, but he showed his talent here with a marvellous knock of 58 from 33 deliveries.
David was deservingly named the Player of the Match for his efforts as his runs proved to be incredibly crucial in the end.