About the Match
Sydney Sixers finished third with a win against Melbourne Stars in their last league game and will take on 2nd place holders Brisbane Heat in the 2nd Semi-Final at Brisbane on 25th January. Heat suffered defeat against Renegades in the last match by 1 run; they will try to wreak havoc on the opposition and romp off to a berth in the finals. It needs to be seen if Sixers, who made it through to this stage by a whisker, will be able to survive this challenge on Wednesday.
Spinner Mitchell Swepson has been in good form and he took a remarkable 2-14 against the Stars; along with speedsters like Steketee, Mills, Wildermuth and Ben Cutting, they restricted the opposition to 138 runs and went on to chase down with ease thanks to a power-packed batting performance by Alex Ross and Joe Burns, who scored 40+ runs each and have been consistently scoring runs for the team. Openers Heazlett and Peirson could build a steady foundation and they have a good number of all-rounders to help set a stiff target or chase down comfortably.
In the match against Renegades, the bowlers proved to be expensive, leading to a tough target of 200 for the batting line-up. Brendon McCullum posted a well-made 64 while Heazlett, Burns and Cutting contributed well but the lower middle-order collapsed like a pack of cards and they lost the match by 1 run, getting all-out just before the last ball.
When they met Sixers during the league, the bowlers had failed to defend a stiff target of 186 runs after speedsters like Steketee, Cutting and Buchanan gave away too many easy runs. Spinners Samuel Badree and Swepson took 3 wickets between them but it wasn’t sufficient to stifle the opposition. The hosts will be wary of the earlier result and try to plan a better strategy here.
Chasing 157 against Stars for a place in the semi-finals, Johan Botha and Abbott put up a special show for the fans as they posted a 59-run partnership for the 7th wicket to steer the team towards victory. Earlier, Hughes started the chase well with 34 off 33 but the others fell quickly to cause a scare; Henriques, Maddinson and Haddin couldn’t come out with the big shots but Botha and Abbott’s all-rounder skills came to the rescue.
Fast-bowlers like Ben Dwarshius, who took a superb 3-25 against Stars, Sean Abbott and Botha, who have been successful against Heat previously, can provide quick breakthroughs in the upcoming match while spinner Nathan Lyon, who took a brilliant 2-18 against Stars recently, could do great damage with his clever variations.
They have experienced batsmen like Hughes, Michael Lumb, Colin Munro, Henriques, Maddinson and Brad Haddin, who can pack a punch under tough situations; the bowling attack is a good mix of pace and spin, and they will be motivated to repeat their winning performance against Heat here.
Both teams are equally matched in terms of experience and talent but this being a knock-out match, we can expect them to bring out their A-game to keep the team afloat. While Heat has the home advantage, Sixers have an upper hand psychologically; the contest could be a nail-biting one for the fans and swing either way but we feel that Heat with their bunch of hard-hitting batsmen are better equipped to emerge victorious on Wednesday.