Sydney Sixers seal second BBL title by defeating Melbourne Stars

Sydney Sixers finally picked up their second Big Bash Trophy with an emphatic 19-run victory over Melbourne Stars in the rain-marred finale on Saturday evening (February 8). Having twice ended up with a silver medal since their maiden triumph in the inaugural season, Sixers posted strong 116/5 from their allotted 12 overs after rain reduced the game to 12-overs-a-side contest. The bowlers – led by spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe – dented the chase early to deny Stars momentum and eventually kept their reply to just 97.
The game was initially cut short to 14-overs-a-side contest but even before the action could begin, rain resumed to rob two more overs from each innings. Eventually when the play did get underway, Stars inserted Sixers in and the decision to bowl first was vindicated early by Daniel Worrall who followed up a three-run opening over with the wicket of James Vince in his next. Undeterred, Steve Smith smacked two fours and a six in his 12-ball stay to chip in 21 off the 34-run partnership with Josh Phillipe that put Sixers on course.
Glenn Maxwell took matters in his own hands and induced the breakthrough that triggered a mini collapse in the Sixers innings. Maxwell took out the dangerous looking Smith and Daniel Hughes (0) while Adam Zampa in the meanwhile sent back skipper Moises Henriques (7) as Sixers slipped to 68 for 4 on the second ball of the eighth over. However, a well-set Phillipe joined hands with the destructive Jordan Silk to give their team a strong finish.
Phillipe, who bagged the Player of the Final award, hit three sixes and four fours in his 29-ball 52 before he fell to Maxwell off the final ball of their innings. Before that, he put on 48-run stand with Silk in just 28 deliveries to ensure against a total catastrophe. Silk himself hit a six and four in his 15-ball stay that yielded 27 runs and gave Sixers a useful boost at the fag end.
Stars’ tall chase that began with an asking rate of nearly 10, started on a terrible note with their top three departing in quick succession. Taken for a boundary and a six, Lyon hit back to take out the dangerous Stoinis in the first over itself. Josh Hazlewood put an end to Nic Maddinson’s painful stay in the middle that saw him bag a four-ball duck only to put more pressure on their batsmen.
O’Keefe lent the biggest blow, in the final powerplay over, trapping Maxwell lbw that reduced Stars to 18 for 3 and there was little scope left for repair. The pressure got to Peter Handscomb, who took off for a non-existent second run only to be caught well short by a Smith throw at the non-striker’s end. Lyon returned in the seventh over and put an end to Ben Dunk’s early fireworks, as Stars’ asking rate shot up to more than 12.
Stars did manage to put on some resistance but it came too late in the day. Nick Larkin (38* off 26) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (19* off 8) struck some big hits in their 43-run unbeaten partnership that only helped bring down the margin of their defeat.
Scores: Sydney Sixers 116/5 in 12 overs (Josh Phillipe 52, Jordan Silk 27*; Adam Zampa 2-24, Glenn Maxwell 2-17) beat Melbourne Stars 97/6 in 12 overs (Nick Larkin 38*, Nathan Coulter-Bile 19*; Nathan Lyon 2-19, Steve Okeefe 2-27) by 19 runs (Game reduced to 12 overs per side due to rain).

By Bablu

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