Big Bash League 2016-17, semi-final January 25, 2017

Henriques does it twice as Sixers scrape through in Super Over


Brisbane Heat 9 for 167 (McCullum 46, Lyon 4-23, Abbott 4-40) tied with Sydney Sixers 8 for 167 (Henriques 64, Hughes 46, Steketee 2-21)
Super Over: Sydney Sixers 0 for 22 (Henriques 18*) beat Brisbane Heat 0 for 15 (McCullum 13*) by seven runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Moises Henriques had to do more than a 24-ball fifty for his team © Cricket Australia

On the night that BBL's sixth season's millionth fan came through, the competition served up a captivating classic, with a Super Over being required to separate Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers at the Gabba.

After both teams made 167, Sixers won the shootout by seven runs, with Moises Henriques - having made 64 off 34 earlier - flaying two sixes and a four in setting 23 for a Brisbane win. Sean Abbott, who earlier took his tournament wicket tally to 20, was up to the task of defending it.

It should never have been so close. Sixers had been cruising, with eight wickets in hand and 36 needed off 32. But they lost six for 31 and needed six runs off the last over - Ben Cutting allowed just five. But it was Cutting who conceded 23 from the Super Over - and he and Brendon McCullum could not chase it down.

As a result, we will see a Scorchers v Sixers line-up in both the men's and women's editions of the Big Bash League.

Starved Baz, the Dotologist and the tactical drops

After the start was delayed by smoke caused by fireworks, McCullum launched his first ball for four over mid-off, but actually took a backseat as Jimmy Peirson flayed away early. Peirson - skying Abbott - and Sam Heazlett, running past Nathan Lyon, then fell in consecutive overs, bringing McCullum and Alex 'Sweepologist' Ross together.

McCullum continued to play some breathtaking strokes - when he could get on strike. On a slowish pitch, Ross not only failed to find the boundary in his 28 deliveries, but faced 12 dots. Sixers dropped him (tactically?) twice - once a tough chance for Jackson Bird, then a sitter for Ben Dwarshuis. As a result, McCullum increasingly had to take risks, and he eventually holed out. The man replacing Ross, Joe Burns, made a mockery of his strike-rate (60), matching his score with his first eight balls.

The Lyon, the wickets and the Wildermuth

Jack Wildermuth teed off with a 16-ball 29 © Getty Images

Eventually, the Sixers held a catch off Ross. Like with McCullum, the bowler was Nathan Lyon and the catcher Abbott, at deep-midwicket. It was the last over of a fine Lyon spell, and he had Cutting by its end too. Earlier, he had dismissed Heazlett, and his figures were 4 for 23, with only one of the overs costing more than four runs.

It was an outstanding spell - bowled half-in, half-out of the Powerplay - that left Brisbane five down and needing a special end to the innings. Dwarshuis had Burns caught behind, but they pilfered 57 from the final five overs - despite the last costing three wickets. That was mainly thanks to Jack Wildermuth, who smote some mighty blows down the ground and over cow corner in his 29. Heat had something to defend.

Joe Burns, strike bowler

"Well, this is a surprise," said the stadium announcer as Burns took the new ball. McCullum recognised that pace off would be key in the Powerplay, so he turned to Burns and Samuel Badree up top. Burns, though, had bowled 48 balls in his 184-match professional career, and never taken a wicket. With his fifth ball, Burns crept a low offie through Nic Maddinson's defence - and earned himself a second over! Colin Munro got after him, but then looped a catch to McCullum at mid-off. By the end of the Powerplay, the Sixers had swung hard, but were 2 for 43. Game on.

Moises' mini-masterpiece

Trouble was, 30 minutes later, Henriques was celebrating a brilliant 50 off 24 balls, at the end of an over from which he had taken 18, including two sixes over midwicket and long-off. He had picked leggie Mitchell Swepson apart, exploiting gaps in the big square outfields, and running hard with Daniel Hughes, who served him the strike. Henriques looked in utter control, and the Sixers were waltzing home.

Always time for panic

Ben Cutting bowled a stunning over to defend five off the last over © Cricket Australia

So how on earth did it make it to the last over, let alone a Super Over? Well, Hughes skied, then Michael Lumb ran past Swepson, who had recovered from Henriques' mauling. Henriques saw mid-off up, but was caught well. Brad Haddin, most careless of all, ran himself out. Abbott picked out long-on, trying to win it in one shot.

Cutting to bowl the last; six required. Botha missed, then scrambled a single. So did Dwarshiuis. Botha went to paddle over the keeper, but was caught behind - or was he? Upper arm! Given! Four needed off two. Lyon sprinted through for a single. Three off one. Dwarshuis to face. Cutting dug it in, Dwarshuis swung hard and high; they ran two. Why not turn for a third, just to try? Scores level. Super Over.

The Super Over

Cutting's luck was up. Three came from the first two, then Henriques whacked six over cow. The next was a no-ball, with a single. Free hit, and a hurried bye. Six more for Henriques, then a four behind square. Twenty-two.

Cutting refused to leave the fray. He joined McCullum, who was fooled by Abbott first ball with a slower bouncer. Then there were two, and a wide. 20 off four. Four through Johan Botha's hands, sprinting at long-on. Next, a single. 15 off two, with Cutting on strike. One to long-off, and the fans at the Gabba streamed out. McCullum smashed the last for six, but it mattered not.

Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jake on January 26, 2017, 11:00 GMT

    Amase balls. Best comp in the world. How good is T20. Go the 6ers. what an end to the game.. just wow.

  • Ant on January 26, 2017, 8:46 GMT

    @Ahilan999 McCullum went for his most experienced bowler available for the climax, every captain would do the same in a knock out. Heat were crippled by Badree not being 100%, he would have been first choice in the super over

  • Praveen on January 26, 2017, 8:43 GMT

    And one more thing @MARCIO. Australia as always had the luxury of top bowlers. So if opponents did not score more than 300 against them, it is mostly because the bowling is top class. It doesn't matter they bowl on flat decks or not, they hardly ever concede more than 300 because they always are a top bowling side backed up by good fielders and attacking captaincy, mostly.

  • Praveen on January 26, 2017, 8:38 GMT

    @MARCIO: This series between Aus

  • Ahilan on January 26, 2017, 3:47 GMT

    Some of McCullum's tactics were not right. He only bowled Cutting for 2 overs that went for 14 runs during the 20 overs. But he bowled a part timer Labuschagne for an unnecessary over that went for 18 runs and put the pressure fully on the Heat. He then chooses to bowl Cutting over Steketee for the one over where you should select the best bowler you have. Steketee was clearly the best fast bowler of the match.

  • Marcio on January 26, 2017, 3:22 GMT

    PRAVEENCRICKET14, mostly batting decks in Australia for ODIs? You do realise that only one team has crossed beyond 270s for a total of ONE out of EIGHT innings for the current ODI series vs Pakistan? That is a LOW scoring series, dude! Maybe you are confusing this with the India-Eng series, where even 360 was barely enough to win. BTW, Praveen, you wouldn't be from India, would you? I mean, with all this "flat track" talk, even with the wickets favouring bowlers, it is just the kind of Bizzaro universe comment we have come to expect from up that way.

  • maplea6580885 on January 26, 2017, 1:36 GMT

    Sampath Suranjan, T20 comes from England. Just like the others.

  • Prem on January 26, 2017, 1:32 GMT

    Henriques is definitely a very intelligent captain compared to McCullum who resorts to gimmicks. A great match from both teams nonetheless :)

  • Michael on January 26, 2017, 1:10 GMT

    Once again we cannot have single story without something to do with india brought up. Amazing!!

  • Mike on January 25, 2017, 23:08 GMT

    Games hinge on many things, Umpiring, a no ball, dropped or taken catches even a bad or good over. In this case Ross probably played close to the worst 20/20 innings I've seen from a specialist batsman. From that moment on Brisbane were always chasing the game.

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