Sydney Sixers was crowned Big Bash League champion for a second time on Saturday after Melbourne Stars fell short in a rain-affected chase.
Needing 117 to win a game reduced to 12 overs, Glenn Maxwell’s Stars could only manage 97 for six as they suffered a second final defeat in a row after imploding against Melbourne Renegades last year.
“It’s fantastic, it was an entertaining game of cricket,” said Sixers captain Moises Henriques after the 19-run win at the Sydney Cricket Ground secured their second title and first since the inaugural season in 2011-12.
It was remarkable the match went ahead with Sydney drenched by torrential rain for two straight days, which only let up as the final was due to start, with the game getting underway more than an hour late.
Unlike most other T20 events around the world, there is no reserve day for the final.
Nathan Lyon (2/19) and Steve O’Keefe (2/27) were the pick of the Sixers bowlers after they made 116 for five, spearheaded by impressive opener Josh Philippe’s 52.
In reply, Marcus Stoinis clubbed a 4 and a 6 off Lyon’s first three balls to signal the Stars’ intentions, but he pushed his luck too far and was caught near the boundary off the fourth delivery.
After Nic Maddinson followed in the next over, and the explosive Maxwell was lbw to O’Keefe for five, Stars were 18 for three and in big trouble.
Nathan Coulter-Nile (19 n.o.) and Larkin (38 n.o.) produced some late fireworks in a last-ditch bid, but it was too little too late.
Sent in, the Sixers made a slow start, losing Vince for two in the third over.
Philippe keeps his head
That brought Steve Smith to the crease and he hit a boundary from his second ball to get the scoreboard moving. A huge six soon followed before he was caught by Handscomb for 21 going for another one off Maxwell.
The wickets of Henriques and Daniel Hughes followed as Philippe kept his head at the other end, sharing in a 48-run stand with Jordan Silk. Philippe was out last ball going for another big hit after bringing up his fifth half-century of the competition, with Silk unbeaten on 27.