Title win was no fluke - Haddin
Brad Haddin, the victorious Sydney Sixers captain, has said his side's comprehensive ten-wicket-win in the Champions League final was no fluke, and that they had been preparing for the big game for over two weeks. Sixers restricted the home side Lions to a below-par 121 on a Wanderers pitch expected to favour the batsmen, and needed just 12.3 overs to chase the target.
Sixers, the winners of the Big Bash League in Australia, were the only team to remain unbeaten throughout the tournament. They began with a 14-run win in a high-scorer against Chennai Super Kings and won their next three matches convincingly until they were stretched to the final ball in the semi-final against Titans.
"We've been building for this the last two weeks. If you look at the start of the tournament we were very nervous," Haddin said. "We had a lot of nervous energy in the first game and the semi-final, but leading into today's game we were quite relaxed. I'm just glad it came on the big stage. We've worked hard and the performance tonight wasn't a fluke."
Sixers had one of the strongest seam-bowling attacks in the competition, comprising Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. However, Haddin chose to open with his spinners, Nathan McCullum and Steve O'Keefe, and the change in strategy worked in Sixers' favour as Lions top order suffered a meltdown. The hosts were reeling at 9 for 4 and despite a fighting innings by Jean Symes, Lions couldn't post a challenging total.
Haddin said giving the second over to the left-arm spinner O'Keefe was a spontaneous decision.
"I made the decision to give O'Keefe the second over after the fourth ball of the first, but I was always going to open with McCullum," Haddin said. "They would have been looking at our fast bowlers leading to this game and I don't think their two openers would have been thinking too much about our spinners. Tonight it paid off. I think Lions were quite surprised we did that. They (spinners) allowed our quicks, the best bowlers, to bowl the last ten overs.
Haddin said the win was a result of contributions from several players. "I said to our guys at the start of the game that there's going to be some big moments and if we did the simple things right then they will crack before us, and they did. We did very well in the BBL with our fielding, it won us a lot of games or put us in good positions," Haddin said.
"We built a lot of pressure, we were able to get wickets early, which in Twenty20 is a big bonus. In the first over, Nathan was hit for a six but came back and took a wicket."