BBL 2019: How Sydney Sixers clinched the Big Bash League title
A spirited Sydney Sixers got the better of Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League final on February 8, 2020 to lift the title at the historical Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). After the match was reduced to a 12-overs-a-side game due to persistent rain, the Sixers were sent in to bat first by Melbourne. A clinical display by the hosts in both departments helped them get across the line even as the Stars faced their second finals loss in two continuous editions.
Here we look at how all the teams fared in the edition.
Sydney Sixers: Though the Sixers defeated Perth Scorchers by 8 wickets in their first game of the ninth edition of the Big Bash League, they stuttered soon after, losing successive matches at the hands of Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat. In their fourth game, the Sixers, however, got the better of Perth Scorchers by 48 runs in an away fixture.
The next match was a Sydney derby between the Sixers and Sydney Thunder, which went right down to the wire, ending in a thrilling tie. The former held their nerves to emerge triumphant in the Super Over to get back to winning ways. Sixers’ win in the Super Over went a long way in increasing the self-belief and the morale in the side, as the team gelled together thereafter and looked invincible as they pitched in with a series of impressive showings over their next three Big Bash League 2020 games. The side started the New Year on a winning note, as they defeated the reigning champions Melbourne Renegades by 6 wickets at the Marvel Stadium at Melbourne. The Men in Pink then got the better of Adelaide Strikers in back-to-back matches, winning by 7 wickets and 2 wickets respectively to go on top of the table.
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With impressive wins over the Melbourne Stars, Brisbane Heat and the Melbourne Renegades in their last three matches in the league stage of the tournament, the Sixers ended the round robin stage with 9 wins from 14 games. They finished on second position in the points table and became just the second team after Melbourne Stars to qualify for the play-offs. They went on to defeat the Stars - in the Qualifier 1 and the finals to walk away with their second title.
Melbourne Stars: Melbourne became the first team in the tournament to qualify for the play-offs, after winning eight successive round-robin games. They started their campaign with wins against the Heat and Hurricanes, but were put to a halt by the Adelaide Strikers in their third game. However, the Glenn Maxwell-led side soon gained momentum as they won eight consecutive games, with all-rounder Marcus Stoinis achieving a BBL record of scoring 147* from only 79 balls. Their winning streak, however, ended with back-to-back defeats, and even though they topped the points table, they went down to Sixers in the qualifying match. Though they won the Thunders in ‘The Challenger’ to set up a title clash with Sixers, they had lost their momentum and lost their second consecutive BBL finals.
Adelaide Strikers: The Strikers were affected by rain in their first two games, but registered three wins before they faced a three-match losing streak. Inconsistencies plagued the side before they got their form and won four games on the trot to end the season on third position, guaranteed of a spot in the play-offs. With the third and fourth placed teams fighting it out in the Knockout to stay alive, the Strikers, up against Sydney Thunder, were unable to chase a paltry 151, as they fell just eight runs short with none of their batters raising their hands up and taking the team over the line.
Sydney Thunder: The Thunders started the BBL 2019-20 on a bang, as they were undefeated in their first three games, including one No Result. Their fourth game went to the Super Over against Sixers, which the latter managed to clinch. Though Alex Hales shone with the bat consistently, piling on 576 runs in 17 games, he was hardly supported by his other teammates, as the side failed to notch up wins on a regular basis. Daniel Sams picked up 30 wickets while Chris Morris returned with 22, and though they won the Eliminator and the Knockout, their inability to perform as a unit at the big stage came to haunt them, as they failed to chase 194, falling 28 runs short in the Challenger to crash out.
Hobart Hurricanes: With 13 points after 6 games, Hurricanes finished with six wins and qualified for the Eliminator after finishing at fourth position on the points table. They tied with Thunder on points, but edged slightly ahead due to a superior Net Run Rate. The franchise was led throughout the edition by Matthew Wade and Darcy Short, who were the only batters to score more than 350 runs in the edition. Scott Boland was the leading wicket-taker with 15 scalps from 10 outings, though he proved to be expensive, conceding runs at more than 8 an over. Despite managing to reach the Eliminator, the Hurricanes would be disappointed with how their tournament turned out as players like David Miller, George Bailey and James Faulkner were unable to pitch in consistently.
Perth Scorchers: Perth Scorchers just missed making it to the play-offs, as they finished with 12 points and ended up on the sixth spot in the points table. They were led throughout the ninth BBL by Liam Livingstone and Josh Inglis, who amassed more than 400 runs in the tournament, but, like the Hurricanes, the other experienced batters failed to raise their hands up. Mitchell Marsh shown signs of form, while Cameron Bancroft too did well in phases, but, overall, the batting unit returned with dismal figures. Fawad Ahmed, Jhye Richardson and Chris Jordan picked up 15 wickets apiece, but once the Englishman left for international duty, the bowling attack lacked venom and conceded runs easily.
Brisbane Heat: The Heat ended up with 6 wins and 12 points and would have been aiming to end higher than their seventh-position finish. With Chris Lynn, Tom Banton, Matt Renshaw, AB de Villiers, Marnus Labuschagne and Ben Cutting in the side, the Heat was one of the most promising sides heading into the tournament. However, none of the big hitters managed to score more than 400 runs, with de Villiers ending with just 146 runs to end as one of the biggest disappointments of the season. Their bowlers were off the mark as well, with only three - Ben Laughlin, Josh Lalor and Cutting - ending with more than 10 wickets.
Melbourne Renegades: The Renegades got off to the worst possible start with nine successive losses on the trot, which meant that they were out of the playoffs midway through the tournament. Though Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch played with all their might, scoring 449 and 363 runs respectively, the others failed to play around them and were guilty of succumbing in a heap match-after-match. Cameron Boyce ended with 14 wickets, but was expensive, and with only him and Kane Richardson picking up more than 10 wickets from the team, the Renegades’ struggles failed to end.
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