Calm Sixers complete eight-wicket win
Sydney Sixers 2 for 158 (Maddinson 84*, Henriques 32) beat Melbourne Renegades 7 for 154 (Ferguson 40, Wade 35, Abbott 2-20, Lee 2-21) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Melbourne Renegades got it wrong against Sydney Sixers. They aimed too high, fell too low, and in the end, Sixers chased down the 155 runs they needed with considerable ease to register an eight-wicket win at the SCG.
After twelve overs batting first, the Renegades were 3 for 100. But then, they panicked, and for the remaining eight overs, the visitors batted as if even 3 for 200 would not have been enough.
Renegades heaved, shanked and inside-edged their way to 7 for 154, adding just 54 runs in the last eight overs. It was not so much a case of shooting for the moon and landing among the stars as it was shooting for the moon and crash-landing at the launchpad.
Andre Russell, who landed in Australia just two days ago having been in South Africa for the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, appeared to struggle with the bounce of the SCG pitch - this was his first match in Australia for almost two years, and he played five dot balls in his spluttering 13-ball cameo. Ben Rohrer also struggled to get going, his 14-ball 9 was even more damaging as Renegades stumbled past 150.
To their credit, Sixers, led by Brett Lee (2 for 21) and Sean Abbott (2 for 20), bowled superbly at the death, with Lee in particular consistently hitting his yorkers. But Renegades were trying too hard, as their batsmen lost their shape and the team lost its direction. Nathan Rimmington was dismissed from the last ball of the last over that went for just four runs and as they would soon learn, 154 was never going to be enough.
Renegades had actually started well, as their captain Aaron Finch and his opening partner Matthew Wade attacked the early overs with success. Sixers debutant, Ben Dwarshuis, was given a rude welcoming to the world of BBL cricket when three of his first four balls in the fourth over raced to the boundary. Dwarshuis, though, completed a dramatic first professional over by snaring Wade, caught by Moises Henriques at mid-off for an 18-ball 35. Still, the boundaries continued to flow, and at the end of the Powerplay, Renegades had laid a strong platform of 1 for 58.
But three deliveries later, Finch attempted to clear the long mid-wicket boundary off the bowling of Abbott, and ended up getting caught in the deep for 20. Just 19 runs came from the following 24 balls from overs six to 10, as Callum Ferguson, Tom Cooper and Dwayne Bravo all struggled to get going.
The 11th over, just as it did the day previously for Melbourne Stars batting first, threatened to kick-start Renegades' innings, with Bravo striking two clean sixes. But at the other end, Ferguson was stagnating with 18 off 18 and it was at this point - the first ball of the thirteenth over - that the panic set in.
Bravo, who had crashed another boundary to follow his two sixes, played one shot too many and was caught behind for 22. Ferguson went on to make a 32-ball 40, but he never really looked fluent or at ease, as Renegades were kept to a below-par total.
Sixers batted with calm and care in the chase, and were never really troubled. Nic Maddinson and Michael Lumb put up 64 for the first wicket before Lumb was trapped lbw by Rimmington for 34. Henriques, though, picked up where Lumb left off, stroking 36 off 32 balls, while at the other end, Maddinson drilled four fours and six sixes during his unbeaten 54-ball 84.
Even when, ever so briefly, the match tightened up with 52 required off 36, Sixers stayed calm and did what they needed to do. Earlier on in a similar situation, Melbourne Renegades had panicked.
Freddie Wilde is a freelance T20 journalist. @fwildecricket