sydney sixers 137/6 (Phillip 43, Dooley 2-19, Shadab 2-32) beat hobart storm 131 for 7 (Asif 41, Abbott 2-32) by six runs by DLS method
Rain delayed the start by an hour and reduced the match to 14 overs per side. A few eyebrows were raised when Sixers skipper Moises Henriques was elected to bat but it proved to be a masterstroke.
Defending 138, the Sixers’ bowlers returned to their favorite SCG as they stunned the Hurricanes, who weren’t really in the hunt before Asif’s 13-ball 41 almost sealed a remarkable late win Snatched away
The storm was dead and buried by the time Asif had other ideas, 45 needed off 10 deliveries. He took 22 runs off the next four balls of Hayden Kerr, the last of which was a six over a full toss around waist height that should have been called a no-ball.
With 23 needed off the final over, the Hurricanes looked likely to go into overdrive when pacer Naveen-ul-Haq bowled a wide on the first ball and was then hit for a boundary by the red-hot Asif.
Sixers players looked awash in ashes as their stunned fans felt the massive meltdown. But Asif got out on the next ball and finally ended the Hurricanes’ chances.
O’Keefe likes slow surfaces
Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe turned 38 earlier this month, but he hasn’t lost his ability to frustrate batsmen. On an increasingly slow surface, O’Keefe proved an important inclusion, being left out against the Scorchers at the fast-paced Optus Stadium.
With clever bowling, O’Keefe put the brakes on the Hurricanes’ high-octane top-order batsmen. He picked up the crucial wicket of Ben McDermott in the fourth over and then returned at a crucial juncture in the eighth over.
The Hurricanes’ run rate had dropped to 12 per over as skipper Matthew Wade was put foot down. But he was unable to break the shackles of O’Keefe, who bowled nine dot balls in his first 11 deliveries.
A frustrated Wade dismissed spinner Todd Murphy in the next over and then kicked his bat as he writhed in disgust.
Mixed bag for Sixers’ batting line-up
The Sixers were eager to make amends after a poor batting performance in losses to the Strikers and Scorchers.
After a whirlwind batting effort against the Hurricanes, the Sixers are yet to score a half-century this season, though they have reached a competitive total thanks to a strong bookend.
Openers Josh Philippe and Curtis Patterson finally got the Sixers off to a flying start with an opening partnership of 68 runs. Patterson, who averages 144 Tests from two matches, was a revelation last season as an aggressive opener for the champion Scorchers.
After returning home to Sydney, Patterson made his first impact of the season with a 25-ball 38 to form a strong platform with Phillips. But his good work was undone as he fell to 5 for 16 before Kerr hit an invaluable 20-ball 32.
Shadab makes atonement after abandoning Sitara
The Hurricanes were bogged down early on with Wade using five different bowlers over as many overs in a desperate bid for success.
Their early woes were epitomized when spinner Shadab Khan dropped a return catch to relieve Philippe in the fifth over.
The wet ball may have given him an excuse to hit the skier but Shadab was keen to improve.
Shadab did exactly that when he came back in the eighth over and removed Philippe with a slow and wide delivery that headed straight towards long-off. It was aggressive bowling from Shadab, who was suddenly on a roll when he dismissed Henriques with a superb diving return catch off the first ball.
It was reminiscent of his brilliant catch and bowled out which had dismissed Scorchers all-rounder Aaron Hardie earlier in the week.
Shadab’s efforts fell the Sixers with left-arm spinner Paddy Dooley, whose unorthodox bowling action attracted attention, continuing his breakout season with the wickets of Jordan Silk and Dan Christian.
Tristan Lovelett is a journalist based in Perth