Sydney Sixers Defeated by 151 for 5 (Philip 54). Perth Scorchers 145 for 7 (Eskenazi 66*, Abbott 3-18) by six runs
The Scorchers’ bowlers once again did well with Ashton Agar and Ashton Turner’s combined overs coming for crucial punishment but it proved to be a rare occasion when the batting didn’t do enough.
Abbott sets the tone.
Feeling underpowered on 151, the Sixers needed a good start with the ball and Abbott provided it in the powerplay. His first wicket was due to the awareness of Curtis Pietersen on the ropes when he flicked the catch back and held onto the rebound to remove Cameron Bancroft. Abbott then felled Aaron Hardy’s stumps as the all-rounder lost a big drive.
Lyon thought he had Josh Inglis lbw but it was the umpire’s influence, but Inglis didn’t last long as he clubbed Kerr at mid-on to leave the Scorchers on 34 in the seventh over.
Hobson threatened to turn the game.
Eskenazi and Turner rebuilt with a stand of 45 in five overs that left the Scorchers with their noses up. After Kerr took Turner to mid-off, Nick Hobson again looked to play a decisive hand as he took on Lyon, collecting him at deep mid-wicket 105 meters into the third tier of the Brewerangle stand.
However, Abbott struck again in his final over, a slow-ball bouncer that misfired off Hobson, although Eskenazi was in touch with the scorchers.
Sixers captain Moises Henriques then made a big decision for the 19th over and called Christian for the first time in the innings instead of using Lyon’s last over. Christian responded by driving Agar to deep midwicket, then, after alerting Eskenazi for backup, removed AJ Tye.
Smith hits his stride.
After a messy last season where Smith was barred from playing for the Sixers despite being available and willing, he returned to the tournament for the first time since early 2020. An early over from Jason Behrendorff but when he faced the left-armer again in the third over, he was one run.
A strong slash to deep point followed by a flat pull for a six over deep square leg. Another six followed in the seventh over when he bowled Agar to deep midwicket and was looking for something important. However, in the very next over he drove Peter Hatzoglu powerfully to cover after Eskenazi took a brilliant catch.
It was hard work for Philipp who couldn’t quite find his timing, though it was hardly a night for free-scoring. His fifty came off 44 balls but it never looked like he was going to loosen up and his desperation was evident when he was scooped at short fine leg with two overs to go. His final strike rate of 112.50 was the lowest of his 17 T20 half-centuries so far and he managed just three boundaries – a rare moment of freedom when he collected Hatzoglu’s last ball down the ground for a six. . Apart from Smith and Phillip, the only other six in the Sixers’ innings came off the last ball from Ben Dwarshuis. The final margin in the game was six runs.
The brightness of the tie
Scorchers have excellent bowling depth. Still without Jhai Richardson injured, this time they dropped Matt Kelly and Lance Morris to accommodate two left-arm quicks and two spinners. But it was again Tye who stood tall, even if he didn’t have a wicket to show for it. He bowled his last three overs on the bounce and conceded just 13 runs with the bat, including the second over of a power surge where he sent four consecutive dot balls to Jordan Silk.
Andrew McGulshan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo.