In what could be Jason Holder’s last match for the Sydney Sixers in this edition of the Big Bash League (BBL), he slams an unbeaten 18-ball 33 to hand his team a two-wicket victory - their fourth win in a row this season - against Melbourne Renegades at the Carrara Oval, Queensland. For the Aaron Finch-led Renegades, this loss marks their fourth loss in as many matches and lie in seventh place with four points from five matches. The Sixers, on the other hand, go top with 16 points from five games.
In pursuit of 169, the chase was initially set up by Josh Philippe, who played a swashbuckling innings to score 48 off 30 balls. He was dominant in the powerplay, especially against Will Sutherland, who he hit for five fours in a single over. His wicket in the 10th over brought the Renegades back into the game with Daniel Hughes (1), James Vince (13) and Dan Christian (8) dismissed chiefly. It was the Renegades spinners Mohammad Nabi and Imad Wasim, who shared four wickets for 31 runs from six overs, who kept Renegades in the game by striking at regular intervals.
Kane Richardson bowled a crucial penultimate over in which he picked up the wickets of Carlos Brathwaite (4) and Ben Dwarshius (2) to leave Sutherland the task of defending 16 runs in the final over.
With mid-off up, Holder took full advantage of the situation, smacking the Renegades pacer for a couple of fours and then launched the ball over long-off to take his side home.
The game seemed to be lost when Sixers were reduced to 122 for 5 at the end of the 16th over, with their two power surge overs yielding just 10 runs. With 47 needed off the final four overs, Sixers went on to script a remarkable victory with just one ball to spare. Out of those 47, Holder smashed 31 off just 12.
*NOTE: Sixers chased down the target in 19.5 Overs
Earlier, Shaun Marsh (67) and Finch (39) finally found form as they put on 75 for the first wicket. With as many as nine wickets left in the final 10 overs, Renegades managed a 93 runs, which as it turned out, it was not enough.
Christian was the pick of the bowlers for them, finishing with two wickets, which included that of Finch. Once the opening partnership was broken, Sixers managed to strike at regular intervals to ensure that they are not chasing a target in excess of 190, just like they did in their previous game against Melbourne Stars at the same venue.
Renegades need to work a bit more on the death bowling. While Richardson had done a tremendous job, it was a day to forget for Sutherland, who conceded 57 runs from 3.5 overs, which eventually turned out to be the difference.
The Sixers next take on Brisbane Heat on January 2 at The Gabba, while the Renegades will look to end their losing streak when they play Sydney Thunder on New Year’s day at the Carrara Oval.
Melbourne Renegades 168 for 6 in 20 overs (Shaun Marsh 67, Aaron Finch 39; Dan Christian 2 for 19) lost to Sydney Sixers 169 for 8 in 19.5 overs (Josh Philippe 48, Jason Holder 33*; Mohammad Nabi 2 for 11) by 2 wickets.
Player of the match: Jason Holder