Lumb fifty steers Sixers home
Sydney Sixers 4 for 150 (Lumb 54) beat Adelaide Strikers 7 for 149 (Shakib 46, Reardon 43, Hazlewood 3-16) by six wickets
A valuable half-century by Michael Lumb and some late hitting from Marcus North helped the Sydney Sixers ascend to second on the BBL table at the expense of the Adelaide Strikers. A lacklustre batting display and some missed opportunities in the field cost the Strikers badly as the Sixers were able to chase down 150 with six wickets in hand and five balls to spare.
The scorecard suggests a well-controlled chase but there were a number of wobbly moments. Shaun Tait bowled a fearsome over early on when he rearranged Lumb's grille with a searing bouncer first ball. The fourth ball of the over found Nic Maddinson in no position to execute a pull shot and skied a catch to square leg.
Moises Henriques lofted Tait back over his head in his second over to get the chase moving but was fortunate to survive the next ball. He skied a top edge towards third man and Michael Klinger ran back from slip but failed to grasp the chance. Henriques found the boundary twice more in the over to further dampen the mood.
Lumb, with a brand new helmet, followed suit flicking Michael Neser over deep backward square for six. But he too survived a chance with Neser unable to hang onto a sharp return catch.
A passing shower caused an interruption so brief the players had hardly reached the rope before they were called back. Shakib Al Hasan, on his BBL debut, used the moisture on the pitch to skid one through and trap Henriques in front with his side still 95 runs adrift. But the rain did not aid the leg spin of Adam Zampa. Lumb clubbed him into the stands three times to ease any tension for the Sixers.
Lumb cruised to fifty but his soft dismissal caused another shift in momentum. Marcus North and Ravi Bopara managed just 15 runs from the next 20 deliveries to keep the Strikers in the game. But North gambled against Nathan Reardon in the 17th over. He skipped down the track and clipped him into the stands for six. North went again next ball and thought Klinger got hands to it on the deep square leg rope, it was parried over for six more. North fell two balls later but Bopara and Jordan Silk were able to finish the job.
The major cause of Strikers' defeat, however, was owed to a disappointing batting display. They slumped to 4 for 32 inside eight overs after winning the toss and batting first.
It was left to Reardon and Shakib to mount a rear guard. The pair put together an entertaining 80-run stand to set up a defendable target. It could have been more had Shakib not picked out Steve O'Keefe on the midwicket boundary with a powerful strike and Reardon not run himself out with 10 balls to go.
Josh Hazlewood was the star with the ball picking up 3 for 16 from four miserly overs, but he had terrific support from Brett Lee and the spin of O'Keefe and North.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth