Brad Haddin top-scored when the Sixers last met Brisbane. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au/Mark Evans
Mathematically the Sydney Sixers can still qualify for the Big Bash finals, but considering both their victories have come against winless cross-town rivals the Sydney Thunder, they just can just about kiss goodbye any hope of retaining their title this season.
Much like last season where they lost their first four before coming home with three straight victories, Brisbane Heat is generating momentum as the tournament goes on. After dropping three of its first four games, Heat has now picked up two wins on the bounce, including Thursday night’s triumph over a full-strength Melbourne Stars outfit at the ‘Gabba.
Heat skipper James Hopes finally came to life with the bat in that match. After scoring just 28 runs in his first five stints at the crease, the former Australian one-day representative cracked 49 against the Stars to get Brisbane off to a flyer. His 33-run stand with Luke Pomersbach was Brisbane’s best opening partnership of the tournament, and not for the first time, Chris Lynn finished the innings off with a quickfire knock in the middle order. Apart from his first-ball duck against the Renegades, Lynn’s last three scores have been 51, 51* and 26*. The 22-year-old has scored 147 in the Big Bash at a strike-rate of 144, clearing the ropes on nine occasions.
Englishman Michael Lumb has performed well at the top of the order since arriving from the tour of India having been involved in opening partnerships of 57 and 21 against the Hurricanes and Thunder, respectively. The Sixers need a consistent presence there, as they’ve used five different opening combinations so far, and three times the first wicket has fallen with less than ten runs on the board. Sydney will need to lay a solid platform, but Brisbane is the most economical bowling team in the first six overs conceding an average of just 37 runs in the powerplay.
With West Indian Sunil Narine returning home for his domestic Twenty20 competition, Sixers coach Trevor Bayliss has brought in Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake. The right-hander has played seven ODIs for the Lions and took the most wickets in the Sri Lankan Premier League T20 tournament in 2012. On the flipside, hard hitting all-rounder Thisara Perera plays his last match for the Heat before turning out for the tourists in the upcoming one-day internationals.
The Sixers won the only previous clash between the teams, which was the season opener in the inaugural Big Bash. Sydney ‘keeper Brad Haddin was the difference between the sides cracking 76 off 59 balls to steer his side home by seven wickets with eight balls to spare.
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