Sixers win second straight BBL title
The Sydney Sixers have won back to back Big Bash titles, defeating the Perth Scorchers by 27 runs at the SCG on Saturday night.
James Vince made his second score of night in the BBL finals series with a brilliant 95 to set up a strong Sixers score of 6-188, the pressure of a big chase telling for the Scorchers as regular wickets made the task too steep, only able to respond with 9-161.
For a second straight year rain was forecast at the SCG for the Big Bash Final, thankfully the weather clearing before the first ball was bowled as Perth captain Ashton Turner won the toss and chose to bowl first.
James Vince picked up from where he left off in the qualifier against the same opposition, striking boundaries off opening bowling pair Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson to put the team in orange under pressure.
A calamitous mix up between Vince and Josh Philippe saw the latter stranded mid-pitch, Andrew Tye nearly fluffing the chance with a wild throw at the non-strikers end stumps that was cleaned up by Aaron Hardie running in from mid-off.
The Englishman Vince continued unperturbed, smashing the bowlers to all parts in another decisive innings for his team, passing 50 as the Sixers continued their flying start.
Daniel Hughes (13) and captain Moises Henriques (18) both fell without making telling contributions, Vince targeting fifth bowler Hardie as he upped the tempo through the middle overs.
He was afforded a life by Mitch Marsh when the all-rounder spilt a chance as he ran backwards from midwicket in an effort to complete the catch, dropping the ball as it came in over his left shoulder.
Just as Vince looked like he would raise three figures in the final he fell to Fawad Ahmed for 95, Marsh taking a far simpler catch at short third man to end a superb knock that featured ten fours and three sixes.
Jordan Silk (17* from 11 balls), Dan Christian (20 from 10) and Carlos Brathwaite (10 from six) all made cameos to push the total to 6-188 from the 20 overs, Turner perhaps regretting his decision to bowl first with his batsmen needing to score at nine runs an over to claim the title.
Cameron Bancroft got off to a fast start as he struck four fours and a six in his 30 from 19 balls, but mistimed Jackson Bird to Vince at midwicket to give the Sixers a breakthrough.
Colin Munro fell for 2 as he bunted Sean Abbott to mid-off, preliminary final hero Liam Livingstone struggling for timing but still at the crease as the ten over mark arrived.
Livingstone fell trying to clear the boundary off Bird having made 45 from 35 balls to leave Josh Inglis and Marsh with the task of keeping the dream of a fourth BBL title alive.
The Power Surge proved to be the undoing of the Scorchers chase with the run rate climbing, Ben Dwarshius dismissing Marsh and Inglis in the space of three balls to swing the game decisively his side's way.
Aaron Hardie provided some late entertainment with 26 from just 13 balls but the target was never truly within reach, Dan Christian with two wickets in the final over as the Sixers became only the second side in BBL history to win consecutive titles.
The win means Sydney join their arch rivals on three titles in the first decade of the Big Bash, in what was the fourth final between the clubs.
Vince was man of the match for his 95, Philippe earlier named player of the tournament for his stellar season that saw him score 508 runs at 31.75.
Attention now turns back to the Sheffield Shield competition, with several big names set to feature after the cancellation of the tour of South Africa.
IMAGE: Cricket Australia.