Brisbane Heat pip Sydney Sixers, but remain at bottom
Clinical bowling helped Brisbane Heat restrict Sydney Sixers to 156, in their chase of 163 at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday (January 10), to register their second victory in Big Bash League (BBL) 2015-16. However, the narrow six-run margin of victory meant the visitors remained at the bottom of the points table.
Last year's runner-up, Sixers were facing bottom-placed Brisbane in a must-win clash to keep their campaign alive, but remained unsuccessful in front of a packed home crowd. Set to chase 163, Sydney had a shaky start, losing their opener Ed Cowan in the third over and No. 3 bat Nick Larkin in the eighth. The move to promote Sean Abbott up the order failed to click as the all-rounder was run out for 1, leaving the home team reeling at 50 for three.
Michael Lumb and Brad Haddin took it upon themselves to reconstruct the chase. The duo played freely, adding 49 in a partnership that lasted 31 deliveries. Lumb was the first to depart of the two, yorked by Folors three short of a deserving fifty, leaving Sixers another 64 short of the target with 37 balls remaining.
Haddin got a reprieve when Mitchell Swepson grassed a dolly in the long-off region. The Sydney Sixers skipper picked a lucky boundary next as Lendl Simmons misjudged a catch that spilled and crossed the ropes. Third time unlucky, however, Haddin had to depart as Swepson mad amends with a stunning diving catch to his right to end his fireworks on 42.
The match was still wide open with Johan Botha in the middle, but losing wickets at regular intervals didn't help Sydney's cause. The veteran hit a boundary, followed by a six off Ben Cutting in the final over but it was too late in the day as the hosts eventually fell six short.
Earlier, Brisbane had no hesitation in electing to bat but Jackson Bird got the hosts an early breakthrough with the wicket of Jimmy Peirson (10) in the second over. Doug Bollinger got rid of the Heat skipper Chris Lynn for just one after a brief recovery.
Simmons then combined hands with Joe Burns to revive Bribane's innings with a 73-run stand for the third wicket. In his 30-ball effort, Simmons hit Botha for a boundary and a towering six over the long-on fence to raise his half-century in style, but the bowler had the last laugh. The destructive West Indies opener attempted a repeat, this time hoping to clean long-off, only to give away an easy catch to Bollinger.
Burns held one end after Simmons' departure and brought up his fifty with a six off Botha, too.
Abbott, handed the ball only in death overs, produced a feisty spell by picking up three, including the top scorer Burns, to keep the visitors to 162 for 8 from their quota of overs - a target that eventually proved too tall a mountain to climb for the hosts.
Brief Scores: Brisbane Heat 162 for 8 from 20 overs (Joe Burns 60, Lendl Simmons 54; Sean Abbott 3-9) beat Sydney Sixers 156 for 8 from 20 overs (Michael Lumb 47, Brad Haddin 42; Mitchell Swepson 2-26) by 6 runs.