An unbeaten 76 from Moises Henriques and a 54 from Daniel Hughes took the Sydney Sixers to a nine-wicket win over their local rivals the Sydney Thunder in the first match of this year’s Big Bash League. The Sixers won the toss and elected to field in front of a near full stadium.
There were no real shocks to both sides and they played the teams most expected them to. Without the injured Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja, currently needed by the Test side, the Thunder selected Kurtis Patterson and Ryan Gibson. As a result of this, their side looked very different to the one that won the title last year.
The Sixers opted to play both English batsmen Sam Billings and Jason Roy. Like the Thunder, the Sydney Sixers chose two spinners in their side in the form of Johan Botha and Steve O’Keefe. Interestingly Botha, no longer counts as an overseas player as he has recently been granted Australian citizenship. The Sixers opted to open the bowling with O’Keefe and Dwarshuis instead of Doug Bollinger.
The Tame Thunder
Eventually, the Sydney Thunder ended up with a first innings total of 159/8. Their innings never had much momentum, with only one significant partnership between Ryan Gibson and Eoin Morgan. O’Keefe struck early in the innings in just the third over as he dismissed Patterson for 8. However, when Gibson and Morgan steered to the Thunder to 71/1 off just 8 overs it appeared that they were handily placed to post a huge total. However, they soon slumped to a weak score of 86/6 inside 12 overs. This was mainly due to an impressive burst from Joe Mennie and Doug Bollinger; both bowlers picked up two wickets in an over as the Thunder threw away a great platform.
The key wicket amidst all the carnage was the one of West Indian Andre Russell. Russell, who came out to bat using a black bat, was perhaps the most destructive player in the Thunder’s line up. However, Bollinger was responsible for his dismissal as he managed a bottom edge to the keeper after scoring just 9. This was the key wicket to get as Russell is known for destroying teams single-handedly.
In the end it was down to a handy cameo from fast bowler Pat Cummins to save the day. Cummins hit a much needed 30 off 20 and was supported by Clint McKay’s unbeaten 14. This salvaged some dignity for the Thunder as they crawled up to 159 and the momentum was all with the Sydney Sixers heading into the start of the second innings.
The overall pick of the bowlers was O’Keefe who was extremely miserly throughout the innings. His four overs went for just sixteen runs and he picked up an early wicket for the Sixers.
Sixers Strike Efficiently
Overall, the Sydney Sixers cruised the chase as they recorded a nine wicket victory over last year’s winners. They completed the chase in 18 overs with impressive knocks from Moises Henriques and Daniel Hughes leading the charge. It was Jason Roy, though, who got the Sixers off to an early flying start. Roy scored a quick 27 off 18 to inject some early momentum into the innings. Andre Russell was the man who dismissed him as Roy spooned a slower ball straight to mid on.
Yet Moises Henriques happily continued where Roy left off. Henriques looked to be in fluent form from ball one as he set about dismantling the Thunder’s bowling attack. He smashed 7 fours and 4 sixes as he scored 76 not out in the first match of the tournament. Daniel Hughes carried his bat alongside Henriques and played a much slower innings. He set about ensuring that he steered the chase and was not preoccupied in scoring quick runs. His 54 came off 49 balls as he anchored the Sixers impressive chase.
Andre Russell was the only bowler to take a wicket as he ended with 1-27 in his four overs. He was by far the most economical of the Thunder’s bowling attack as the next economical bowler ended up with an economy of 8. It was a weak bowling performance as none of the bowlers really seemed to find any sort of consistency.
The Sydney Thunder are playing again on Thursday, where they will come up against the Melbourne Renegades. They will be desperately be aiming to improve on their performance and in particular hoping that they do not suffer a middle order collapse again. It will be interesting to see what changes they make to try and prevent another disaster.
Up next for the Sydney Sixers are the Hobart Hurricanes. The Sixers should be aiming to continue their amazing form and the Hurricanes will not be too