Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers December 27, 2016

Botha the difference as Sixers cruise home


Sydney Sixers 4 for 132 (Billings 40, Botha 30*) beat Perth Scorchers 8 for 130 (Mitchell Marsh 31*, Whiteman 28) by six wickets

Johan Botha left his mark with both bat and ball © Getty Images

The Sydney Sixers produced a sublime spin bowling display and a composed run chase to dispatch the Perth Scorchers by six wickets at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Sixers restricted Scorchers, who elected to bat, to 8 for 130, on what appeared a good batting surface. Mitchell Marsh was left to salvage the innings with an uncharacteristic subdued unbeaten 29-ball 31 after they slumped to 8 for 107.

Sam Billings began Sixers' chase with a 30-ball 40. The inventive right-hander was promoted to the top of the order after his England teammate Jason Roy was withdrawn from the line-up after injuring his back at training. Johan Botha finished the job with a composed unbeaten 30 and was a thoroughly deserving of the Man of the Match award for an excellent all-round display.

Sixers spin a web
The Scorchers produced a dominant batting display in their tournament opener on a fast WACA surface. There, they took 56 in the powerplay overs against Adelaide Strikers to set up a big win. At the SCG, Sixers employed their spinners for five of the six powerplay overs, and it worked brilliantly. The Scorchers scored just 34 runs from those five overs for the loss of Michael Klinger. Shaun Marsh managed just three from eight deliveries on his return from injury before falling to Doug Bollinger. Sixers spin trio of Botha, Steve O'Keefe and Will Somerville applied the squeeze in the middle overs; their combined figures read 4 for 59 in 10 overs.

Botha a potential Australia T20 bolter
Botha has played 123 international matches for South Africa across formats, the last of which was in October 2012. Prior to this tournament, Botha was given Australian citizenship after he complied with the eligibility criterion. He produced a stunning all-round display against the Scorchers, taking 1 for 26, including bowling in the powerplay, and scoring 30* off 19 balls to see his side home. He also took an outstanding catch on the boundary to remove Sam Whiteman. Considering Australia picked a 43-year old Brad Hogg for the 2014 World T20, there's perhaps a case of Botha being considered for the shortest format too?

Langer's left-right theory
Scorchers coach Justin Langer has impressed upon his side the need to have a flexible batting line-up; the need to have left-right batting partnerships throughout the innings. But the timing of the dismissals meant that the dangerous Mitchell Marsh walked out at No. 6 in the 12th over and in form Ashton Turner batted at No. 8 despite producing a match-winning 19-ball 44* against the Strikers prior to Christmas. Marsh had to play a subdued role to steady the ship while Turner was forced to hit-out straight away.

Tye-ing them down
Andrew Tye produced one of the best spells of the tournament so far. He deceived Brad Haddin with a clever knuckle ball and conceded just two runs in his first over. He went on to add the wickets of Moises Henriques and Jordan Silk into his kitty, finishing with 3 for 15. He has represented Australia in three T20 internationals and his variety of slower balls, changes of pace and yorkers make him a difficult bowler to get away.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mike on December 28, 2016, 5:59 GMT

    Judging by the square which looks fairly central around 75 metres. I went there in 2015 & I think the maximum square boundary is just over 80 metres depending on the placement of the actual wicket.

  • sam on December 28, 2016, 3:57 GMT

    How big is this MCG,gosh!Khwaja-on 4-just played a rasping square cut to Wahab,and the ball took like forever to reach the boundry behind point.I think the length of the boundry-ropes-to that area must be 100 mtrs? Any Aussies?

  • jrandj2194540 on December 28, 2016, 3:01 GMT

    The term " sublime bowling" in relation to 20/20 cricket are mutually exclusive terms - like labor party and good policy

  • Mike on December 28, 2016, 0:05 GMT

    Maybe it was the adjustment from Perth to Sydney but I would have thought that Perth would have worked out that that were gifting wickets with the lofted shots. Voges, Turner & Agar bang, bang, bang. If they had played it sensibly a total of 150 or so may have made it close. I must say that when a 20/20 is fizzer it is an awful game & we've had a few one sided one's this year.

  •   Cricinfouser on December 27, 2016, 21:00 GMT

    yes your right dezzy open with Willey to get the best out of him and give him a free license.

  • Peter on December 27, 2016, 19:39 GMT

    I got doubts about Langer's ability in this format as a coach, the Scorchers got so many options wrong, it wasn't funny. I am a Sixer's follower but this game was gifted to us, & in a season of tight contests, this could be the one to get us to the finals. I was actually really surprised how poorly Agar bowled given how well he flighted his deliveries in their shield game here, he bowled with varying flight speed, but this game???

  • Garry on December 27, 2016, 18:28 GMT

    Getting rid of Hogg will cost Perth this year, the one thing they are lacking is a good spinner. They have great batting, pace bowling and all-rounder depth but Agar, Voges & Turner are pretty ordinary. Did Langer put WA's cricket future ahead of The Scorchers present?

  • Dez on December 27, 2016, 18:18 GMT

    @Cricinfouser & Behind_the_bowlers_arm. They are not sending Willey in too early - they are actually sending him in far too late!! At every other team he plays domestic T20 for, he opens the batting. With a T20 century to his name (off 40 balls), and career SR of 140, he is being underused - he is one of the most destructive T20 batsman in England scoring 272 runs at a SR 148.63 in this years Blast (despite being on Eng duty for the majority of the comp) and batting in the middle order will never suit someone who is used to playing strong shots against a hard ball.

  • Terry on December 27, 2016, 17:02 GMT

    Noone really got going for Perth and the batting lineup just felt wrong. Mitchell Marsh should be going in ahead of Willey every day of the week. Ashton Turner also. I wouldn't be too strict on this left hand right hand thing ... strikes me as being too clever by half. Bell should bat 3 and even open if Klinger cant find some runs soon. Perth have always been 1 and 1 after 2 games in every tournament so same old same old.

  •   Cricinfouser on December 27, 2016, 15:56 GMT

    yes true cricket lover Billings is a cracking 360 degree player who should always open.

    I think if you win the toss unless your certain the pitch will slow and spin you bat everytime.

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